How NOT to Blow a Favor

If you thought my last blog post was potentially inappropriate, then this post is NOT for you. I’m serious. It’s guaranteed 100% inappropriate, but illustrates principles that I teach in class, specifically: how one needs to build a relationship before making a big ask (remember the book Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty by Harvey McKay?)

One of my lady-grads shared a recent experience with me and my mind was BLOWN! Read the subtext here, people, and continue at your own risk.

Lady-Grad Gretchen, as we’ll call her, got a text one evening from a guy she’d had a little fling with several months earlier. After the obligatory “Hellos” and “How are you’s,” Long Island Larry got right to the point:

“I’ve had a rough day at work and need a blow job. Happy to service you another time, but I really need you to …”

And so he continued, providing exact instruction as to what 26-year-old stud needed in the next couple of hours. Nothing in his description was about her needs; it was all about him.

Lady-Grad Gretchen stayed cool while he begged for her to do it just this once. The more he talked, the more pathetic, unattractive, and needy he looked to her, diminishing any chance for him to get what he wanted. Finally, she told him to get a girlfriend, because a self-serving request like this could only be made within the confines of an established relationship—and she hadn’t heard a peep from him in months!

Now, I was proud of Lady-Grad Gretchen for not entering into a situation where it would’ve been a one-sided win, but I have to give Long Island Larry some credit for being upfront. But this is where he blew it: he failed to understand that you can’t make a big ask unless you’ve made a few deposits in the favor-bank first. You can’t just appear when you are in need and expect anything but a cold shoulder.

So, what am I saying?

Don’t be a Long Island Larry; make sure you build and nurture a relationship before you make a big ask. Think about the work world as a community you are building. If you build a strong infrastructure, you’ll have support from your community for your entire life. Make regular deposits to your favor-bank, offer help to people just because you’re in a position to help, and do it when you are not in need.

As a natural consequence, the day will come when you’ll need a favor and the person you’ve consistently stayed in contact with will be the most receptive to respond.