The “emotional leg” of the Daily Practise establishes a connection with the people you surround yourself with. That is very easily done by doing someone a favor.
If you give things away, people will come back to you. A very good example is the Google search engine. It is literally an empty screen with a field to type in your search. And it helps you find whatever you need on the web.
The result? Everyone is coming back and using Google.
Think about giving value first. You can ask for favors, but ultimately you want to always be giving a little more than you receive.
So, for example, you could think of something you want to make happen for yourself and then think of ways to make that happen for someone else. Or you call a family member you haven’t had contact with in a while and ask what you could do for them.
Now, people give and receive love in different ways.
Gary Chapman has described this phenomenon in his book: The 5 Love Languages. Some people are most receptive to touch, others crave positive affirmation. There are these who value gifts above everything else and those who appreciate having favors done for them. Lastly, a lot of people value quality time.
If you want to communicate most successfully with a friend and deepen the relationship, you have to figure out what your friend’s Love Language is.
However, the same way that others communicate their appreciation differently, you are also most receptive to a specific mix of these five different languages!
And we get to our first idea!
#1 – Figure out yours and your friends’ ‘Language of Love’.
Some gifts, favor or attention you receive may not seem a lot to you, because they are delivered in a way you don’t really care as much for compared to others. If you know what you prefer though, you can still be thankful and appreciative.
#2 – Try to make a stranger laugh.
This can be someone sitting close to you in the commute, standing in line in the grocery store, or on your way to work. Could be a funny remark or observation, could be a joke you tell, whatever. For example, if you stand in line at the post office, you could suggest that they are probably training their snails to deliver the mail a little faster.
#3 – Pay the coffee of the person behind you in the coffee store.
Or in front of you – whatever works better. It actually works pretty well. People are surprised and then really thankful when you do it.
#4 – Call someone.
A friend, a relative, anyone you know. Or take the person out for a coffee. The point is to have a chat.
#5 – Look for opportunities to do someone a favor.
If the person is carrying something heavy, take the weight off their shoulders. “Wait, isn’t everyone doing that?” You’d be surprised how many people walk by on the street without noticing. Myself included. We often live in our own world without noticing much of what goes on around us.
#6 – Leave a nice comment on someone’s blog.
Or leave a comment for someone who posts a lot of things on Facebook, Instagram or other networks. He or she has a desire to connect to others.
#7 – Small favors.
Watch your environment. Train yourself to see the possibilities. What are things on somebody’s list that you could conveniently do? For example, if your spouse has a DVD case she needs to bring back, and the store is on your way to work the next day, bring it back for her.
In other cases, people may ask you directly to fill in for them at work; or a colleague has to leave earlier and asks who can take care finishing his or her shift.
Now, if you are free, offer to do it! It’s an investment of time, but it will buy you a lot of Goodwill, and the favor may be repaid in kind some time later. Or you simply feel better by giving something and being there for someone.
#8 – An easy way to finding the right gifts.
Listen to what people are saying. So often they mention things like “I wish I had X”, “It would be really good if someone had Y” or “I never seem to get to buying Z”. Write these remarks down. They are gold mines for you! Because what are you going to get your friends for their next birthday, Christmas or some time in between? Exactly, item X, Y and Z.
Or you think about 10 ideas to make X a reality…
If you put these items into an Excel spreadsheet, you will have a nice database of gift items and favors from which you can draw in time.
#9 – Recommend someone and/or his work
Mention someone who created something nice or delivered good work to someone else in a favorable light. Online via eMail – or in the real world.
You could also offer someone a letter of reference if he or she did work on time and in good quality.
#10 – Work for free.
This is especially true when you in the beginning of a personal or business relationship with someone.
#11 – The Benjamin Franklin effect.
If you want to connect with and/or befriend someone, get the other person to do a small favor for you. Even “could I borrow your pen?” works. Now, your colleague has already done you a little favor, and you have a much easier time asking the bigger favor later on.
Benjamin Franklin did that with a political opponent whom he could not easily sway. He heard that this person had a rare book in his possession. So Franklin first flattered him by admiring that book, then asked to borrow it for a day. The next day, he promptly gave it back. His opponent became a friend, because it was easier for him to support Franklin after he had already done him a favor.
If we like someone, we have an easy time doing him or her a favor. So if we are doing someone a favor, our mind automatically backwards rationalizes that we must like that person.
#12 – Under- or better Over-Promise and always Over-Deliver.
Whatever favor you do for someone else, promise what you are sure you can fulfill, then go beyond your initial promise in delivering the work. If you want to make it really count, even over-promise a little bit. You can be a day faster than initially agreed on, or you could do 10% more than what the project outline read.
This builds trust, because the other person knows he can count on you to get the project done.
#13 – Smile when you enter the room.
When you enter the room or approach a group of friends (or even strangers!), smile. Find some appreciative words to address the crowd. If you are rather introvert, look to a person close to you and say a friendly ‘hi’ – you can give good ‘vibes’ to a lot of people simultaneously, and you can build up a fun atmosphere by talking directly to individual people.
If you give good emotions, people will flock to you. It’s truly amazing how that works. I think since humans are ‘social animals’, we have developed instincts that let us directly sense who gives value.
#14 – Some more suggestions – talking to people in different “Love Languages”.
See above for an explanation of the concept of Love Languages.
(a) Language of gifts
Next time you talk to someone for a longer while, e.g. at work, just offer to continue the talk at the cafeteria and get a coffee or desert for them. Or offer the coffee right away.
(b) – Language of touch
If you talk to someone, just touch the person, pat him on the lower arm, end the conversation with a handshake or give them a hug when you know them for longer.
(c) – Language of praise
Praise someone you know – directly. Or recommend a colleague to your boss. Tell them specifically what you like about them: their work ethic, their intelligence, their warmth etc. Recall some specific examples if possible.
(d) Language of time
Schedule some time off – like 30 minutes -, then offer to sit down with someone and talk.
(e) – Language of favors
Ask if you can take over someone’s weekend shift (you might be in town anyway, so you might as well drop in). See whether you can take your friends’ letters with you to the post office. There are numerous other opportunities.
Some of these additional ideas are listed here.
All these gifts and favors are investments into a more stable friendship and a better connection. And when you connect well to one person, others want to be part of that as well.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
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Do you have some additional thoughts on deepening your friendships?
Have some of these ideas worked for you?
Let us know in the comments below!
(Pictures taken from Wikimedia Commons.)