Favors are a weird part of human social society. Politicians use them like relational currency, executives use them to wield power, and everyone else uses them to simply move forward with daily life. Without eliciting help from others, the human race wouldn’t have survived which is why it’s so important to understand the power of “the favor” and how to use it.
In the prehistoric era, our ancestors would erupt into a loud verbal call when a predator was approaching to either warn the tribe (which is doing the group a favor) or to request backup (which was asking the group to do you a favor). In either case, if our predecessors weren’t willing to work together- we would not be walking the earth today.
As our species evolved, we needed to find incentives for people to work together rather than compete for resources which was (and still is) the natural state of humankind.
Human laws of morality were just beginning to come together at this point and societal culture was being molded day by day. Small groups were forming bonds and learning how to be protective of humans other than themselves. These groups were developing empathy, kindness, and a sense of familial responsibility.
If I had excess meat, for example, it was in my best interest to give it to you because 1) I couldn’t preserve it or take it with me and 2) you needed it now and I might need some in the future when you have it and I don’t. This future-focused thinking is the type of cognitional ability that would promote humans to the top of the food chain and the favor is the spark that lit the fuse.
So, let’s explore favors as a behavioral concept and figure out how we can use them to better our businesses as well as influence success in our personal relationships.
The Ben Franklin Effect
They say it is better to give than to receive but when it comes to building relationships, that advice turns out to be misguided. Experimental evidence suggests that getting a…