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Mar 22, 2007

Three Quotes on Favors -- One Pair and One Other

We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them.
-- Thucydides (460-400 bc) (funeral oration of Pericles) -- shared with me in 2002 by (L)EF(K)L

You want to know a great way to make relationships?  Ask people for favors.  You ask.  They do.  They get to know you and get interested in what you're doing.  And eventually, they ask for favors, too.  And you do them.  And then you're really connected.
-- Adam S.

If you want to do someone a favor, ask them to tell you a secret.
-- author unknown.

10:59 PM in Quotables | Permalink


Hmm. I don't know about the 2nd quote. I think of myself as a non-asker. When I think that somebody is asking me for something in order to establish a connection, I usually push him away. And before you get another chance to remind me--yes, I'll bring a cutting board to the beach.

Posted by: Dave | Mar 23, 2007 1:26:24 AM

To clarify: Adam was speaking of a particular favor as something asked because it was needed. The relationship emerged as a happy but unintended byproduct.

That said, now that he's all wise and stuff from this one happening and observation, who knows how he'll do things?

And THAT said, Dave: what kind of universe do you live in where you have more than once suspected that someone was "asking.. for something in order to establish a connection"? Man, that's complicated. I'm way too simple for that kind of stuff. I think. I just want the cutting board.

Posted by: Phil | Mar 23, 2007 1:34:57 AM

Well the cutting board comment has gone way over my head, but as to favors...I find it really hard to ask for them.

I've gotten better with age/experience/appropriate meds, but I have to feel very trusting of the friend to ask for help. I have a story of once driving myself to the emergency room because I wasn't sure if I should wake up a roommate. Clearly that was, um, misguided. But it illustrates my point, you know?

As far as being ASKED goes, well, I let a baby cry all over me last night, screaming for Mom. If someone asks too often for too much, it can be a turnoff, though.

Posted by: Stew | Mar 23, 2007 7:42:24 AM

Dude, I first learned that Thucydides lesson straight out of The Godfather:

VITO CORLEONE (stands, turning his back toward Bonasera)

Bonasera... Bonasera... What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? Had you come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And that by chance if an honest man such as yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you.


Be my friend --

(then, after bowing and the Don shrugs)

-- Godfather?

VITO CORLEONE (after Bonasera kisses his hand)



Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day -- accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day.

Posted by: Fikri | Mar 23, 2007 9:01:33 AM

I have learned most of my lessons in life from The Godfather. Or Fikri.

Posted by: Jerry | Mar 23, 2007 11:05:08 AM

That last one troubles me. I think it depends on the quality of the secret. If it's really good, then you're doing me the favor.

Posted by: Marianne | Mar 23, 2007 6:56:06 PM

Marianne: you've found the win-win!

Fik: thanks for the excerpt. We love the internet.

Jerry: for Mob lessons on business and life, make sure to read "Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli" by Kurt Luchs. Available at bookstores or Amazon. Also, see here for Luchs' site with a few examples:


Posted by: Phil | Mar 24, 2007 1:10:39 AM

Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception.

Posted by: Wedding Favors | Mar 28, 2007 2:58:17 AM

What a fun little thread you have here Phil.

To clarify, the favor I had asked for was advice. He is a fantastic developer and has knowledge that he has the ability to bill for so when I ask for his advice, I think of it as a favor.

People with specific areas of expertise normally like to share it casually and enjoy a break from whatever monotonous work they were engaged in when you called /messaged.

For us, each time I asked for his advice (about 3 times over 4 months), he learned a bit more about me and what I did. A week later I got a call from him looking for help with some marketing guidance for a client. We talked for about 30 minutes and I let him know I was happy to return the favor.

Prior to that call, I had only met him a couple of times and we were casual aquaintances. It was that call that actually allowed us to take a casual relationship into a business contact.

In essence, my "quotable" was about how making people feel useful is a great way to build stronger relationships.

Posted by: Adam Schultz | Mar 29, 2007 12:03:13 PM

Thanks, Adam! I appreciate the favor of your followup :-)

Posted by: Phil | Mar 30, 2007 2:20:23 AM