I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.
Here’s something that might sound counter-intuitive: Ask for a favor.
As Ben Franklin recommended, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.”
Ask for help, for advice, for suggestions. By doing so, you place yourself under obligation to your favor-givers – which makes them feel kindly toward you.
Sudies show that for happiness, providing support is just as important as getting support. By offering people a way to provide support, you generate good feelings in them.
And on your side, asking for a favor is a sign of intimacy and trust. The fact that you’ve asked for a favor shows that you feel comfortable being indebted to someone. I remember a friend at work telling me, “I never liked that guy until he told me he needed to borrow $50 from me. Then I realized he must consider me a friend, and presto! I started liking him.”
So asking, and receiving, a favor generates good feelings on both sides.
Obviously, there are small favors and big favors. You don’t want to ask someone to take care of your dog while you’re on vacation unless that person is already a GOOD friend. But asking for a recommendation for a good dentist isn’t burdensome.
One of my most helpful Secrets of Adulthood is “It’s okay to ask for help.” Asking for help is a very useful way of asking for a favor. I’m absolutely mystified by asking for help is so hard for me. So often, I can just solve a problem by asking for help—which is almost always freely and cheerfully given.
It can be selfless to be selfish, and you can be generous by taking. Ask for a favor.
Gimundo had an amazing post about scientific innovation to create new human organs and body parts. Astounding. A finger-growing powder!
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