How To Return A Favor Without Being Taken For Granted
How did you feel the last time someone treated you to dinner? Chances are you immediately started thinking about how you could pay them back.
The Rule of Reciprocation compels us to return favors
No one likes a moocher. We’re wired in such a way that any time we receive a favor, we feel compelled to return it. This sense of duty has evolutionary roots: it allowed our ancestors to share resources with one another, confident that all favors would be returned in kind.
Indeed, the pressure to reciprocate sometimes weighs so heavily that we give back more than we’ve received. In one famous study, the researcher, “Joe,” first bought participants a ten-cent Coke as a favor and later asked them to buy raffle tickets from him. On average, participants reciprocated the Coke by purchasing 50 cents’ worth of tickets. This was twice the amount participants spent when Joe didn’t give them a Coke – so Joe’s favor netted him a tidy 15 cents in profit.
Essentially, Joe “burdened” the participants with the Coke, and then dictated how they should give back. As you can see, the rule of reciprocation may be used as a cunning tactic to get what you want.
So the next time someone does you a favor, the best approach is to always return in kind: Coke for Coke, cash for cash and so forth. This way, whether the giver’s intentions are good or not, you’ll not only do the right thing but also prevent yourself from being manipulated.
To find out more about how to avoid manipulation – and why in an emergency it’s better to ask one person for help than a whole crowd – check out the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini.
Want to quickly read the best bits of this book? Consider downloading the Blinkist app. You can read main takeaways from this book and many other nonfiction bestsellers in a matter of minutes.
Over one million users have used Blinkist to become learning machines. You can learn rocket science over breakfast, stock trading over lunch, and the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People over dinner. What are you waiting for”
While you're here...
... let us tell you a little about who we are.
Blinkist Magazine is made by the same people who make — yep, you guessed it! — Blinkist. We spend our days transforming crucial insights from the best nonfiction books into powerful little packs of wisdom that you can read or listen to in a matter of minutes.
If you’re curious about the app, why not try it for free for 7 days? If it’s not for you, just cancel your subscription during the trial period and you won’t be charged. Happy learning!