Helping people who have helped you is something we do thoughtlessly. We do this because we feel obligated to do so. Robert Cialdini describes in his book Influence that there are six tools for persuasion and one of them happens to be reciprocity.
“When you do a favor for people they are more compliant to do something back for you.” He goes on to say “naturally people don’t like letting other people down.”
Have you ever faced a situation were someone did a favor for you and when that person asked you to do something for them, you did so even though you did not want to, because you felt guilty?
Last week I faced this consequence and it was difficult for me to say no.
My friend works for a supplement store and he entered a competition to win products. The competition was based on who can sell the most multi-vitamins to win extra containers of protein.
What do I have against my friend winning protein containers? Nothing. What do I have against helping my friend sell multi-vitamins? Everything.
Two years ago I was very regiment with my vitamin intake. In fact, I believed in it so much that I was encouraging my sister and her children to take vitamins. I became very serious about the vitamins. So serious that I bought Vitamins A through Z.
I believed that taking vitamins would increase my health, vitality, and my strength.
You are probably thinking I am going to tell you how it had the opposite effect or how it has caused more harm than good. Fortunately, or unfortunately this is not where I am taking this post.
I stopped taking vitamins because I wasn’t sure if I was doing more harm than good to my body. Not knowing was enough for me to say no more.
Why was I against helping my friend even though he has done so many favors for me? He has saved me a ton of money in supplements from his store. He also told me he would give me a really good deal on the product that he was competing to win.
I was against helping him sell multi-vitamins because I didn’t believe in them myself.
How could you sell or promote something that you don’t believe? I can’t.
As much as I wanted to help my friend out because I felt obligated to, my values got the best of me.
Doing a disservice for others to have personal gain would be a selfish act.
Marshal Sahlins has a sound theory on generalized reciprocity that is selfless, “the exchange consists of pure something-for-nothing gifts.”
What he tells us is to give without expecting anything in return. Even though I did not help my friend out in his competition he did end up winning the contest.
Trust your judgement and never go against your values even when you feel compelled to return a favor.
Thank you for reading this post. Comment, like and share if you found value here.
To be continued….
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