A Quick Rant on Favors

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the nature of favors, particularly the dynamic between the two parties making the exchange.

When Jackie asks me to edit his weekly report, I don’t hesitate because he’s also my editor (and he probably makes less mistakes than me).

But how about that friend that always takes and never gives anything in return?

Is a 15 minute video interview worth 30 hits and 2 new subscribers to your blog?

These are the kinds of things we have to navigate not only in the online world, but in our everyday lives as well.

Check out my video rant featuring 4 things you need to be mindful of when approaching someone to ask them a favor.

And be forewarned I think we all take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes so I had a little bit of fun with this video. I also tried holding the camera on my own, which in retrospect was not a good idea (MILK WAS A BAD CHOICE!) so as a disclaimer: You may experience motion sickness upon watching this video.

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  • Hey Ryan…

    I need a favor… it’ll take two seconds… Vote for us on the Shorty Awards, we need to stay the top 5. http://shortyawards.com/cruisesource – – I’ll get you back, you know I’m good for it… Thanks man!

    RT
    .-= CruiseSource´s last blog ..Costa Deliziosa – Inaugural =-.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    See everyone? Good example of a favor that A.) didn’t take much time B.) had a good chance of being fulfilled because Rich has a good rapport with me and C.) Though I haven’t been on one of his cruises I know he does commendable work, I trust others who have said good things about his cruises, etc.

    So what almost prevented me from obliging?

    A.) In both his comment and his tweet he failed to mention how awesome my shorts were.

    [Reply]

  • Rachel Vincent

    First, the shorts were pretty sweet. I hereby resolve to start calling such shorts “pimp shorts”. Second, I really appreciated this post. I’m more than happy to do basic favors, but the bigger the favor, the more I need to feel like it is truly valued. So, I would add one more aspect to it. Say thanks. I just gave some of my free time or knowledge as a favor. A good verbal acknowledgement of goes a long way to making me feel happy I did the favor. (like, hey Rache, thanks for helping me out blah blah blah. Here was the result. Couldn’t have done it without you). Yep. Feels good. 🙂

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    @Rachel

    THANKS for stopping by and taking valuable time out of your day not only to watch the video, but to leave a comment and offer your perspective. I love seeing new faces, and without readers engaging the content this would certainly be a lot less fun.

    I completely agree with your sentiment regarding just “saying thanks” as I’ve not so subtly conveyed with my all caps just a moment ago. It’s so simple, yet so effective.

    PS. Glad you like the shorts!

    [Reply]

  • Ryan,

    The Shorts are pimp… and thanks for the vote as well as the nice words about our cruises….

    My biggest issue with favors is when people need something and they tweet about it, but do not ask me directly for the favor through Twitter, Email, or phone. Then when you see them in real life, you can tell that they are a little upset that you did not see their tweet or help them out with their need. Unfortunately, I cannot be on Twitter all day… send me a DM or @ reply if you need my assistance. I love to help, but sometimes with pace of life I need for you to get my attention by asking for it.

    RT
    .-= CruiseSource´s last blog ..Costa Deliziosa – Inaugural =-.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    In which case it’s like they’re asking two favors. Read and interpret the fact that their tweet was for you and not one of their other 500 followers, AND watch THEIR tweet stream all day…

    … Yeah Right!

    That’s sheer incompetence at work.

    You bring up a valid point re: asking though. As I kind of get at in the video, sometimes that’s all it takes. If you ask nicely it puts the issue top of mind, you have nothing to lose, and people will likely oblige. Just don’t be disappointed if they don’t. Thanks for the comment Rich!

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  • AMEN! Especially on the “will you guest post” or “do you want to be a columnist” emails. I can barely keep up with my own blog! Not to be selfish, but unless you can show me how that will add value and be worth my time, I just can’t say yes (as much as I love to help out). Time is precious and learning to say no is critical (ESPECIALLY when someone is making one of the “favor” faux paus you described).

    Jenny

    PS – Nice pimp shorts indeed! But the REAL reason they are pimp shorts is because they are UCLA colors. GO BRUINS!
    .-= Jenny Blake´s last blog ..Martha Beck – Wizard vs. Lizard: The Battle for Your Brain =-.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    J Beezie,

    I wish I could write more places, I genuinely do, but I’m like you in that most of the time I feel like I’m neglecting my own blog. I’ve slowly learned to say no more often, but I still usually end up with too much on my plate. As long as people don’t pester me I usually find a way to get most of it done.

    And glad you like the shorts… Didn’t even think about them being UCLA. Go Tyus Edney!

    [Reply]

  • Love the pimp shorts! And great tips, too. Researching someone before you ask them for something is essential, and because you’re asking them to do something for you, your #1 priority should be making things as easy and flexible as possible for them.

    There’s just one thing…you don’t look or sound like a 42 year old tranny from the Bronx, and where is your Connect Four?! (For anyone who might be thinking that I’m a big weirdo, I refer you to Ryan’s comment on my last post)
    .-= Sam Karol´s last blog ..Bloggers Can Be Friends Too V2 =-.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I think it’s just common courtesy that before asking to guest post you a get a semblance of the type of things I write about. It’s like going to a job interview – you wouldn’t go in there without researching the company, would you? I sure hope not!

    And who says that was ME? Maybe I was holding the camera. Okay, Okay, it was me. Who else could pull off those shorts so effortlessly?

    [Reply]

  • Great post Ryan! This was definitely informative and I think a lot of bloggers would agree with your rant. Well, I don’t think – I know because Jenny has agreed and thats enough for my comment to be valid.

    I retired from blogging a few months ago, will be back soon but for now I just tweet and work. So, I’m going to apply what you said to my favorite procrastinator – Twitter. I think what you mentioned in your video can also be applied to the whole RT request phenomena.

    I cant stand being asked to retweet something that has nothing to do wit any of the people I communicate with on twitter. I’m tempted to not even respond back to these people who ask for such a thing. ESPECIALLY, when they followed me the day before the request! It doesn’t make sense…So I 100% understand where your coming from with this post and couldn’t agree with you more.

    People need to create a relationship with someone before they ask for a favor.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    @Ross – Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I always love seeing new faces. Please let me know when you’re back on the blogging circuit as I’d love to get acquainted with your stuff.

    I’m with you on the whole RT thing. I re-tweet what I think my followers would find value in. Even if I’m your friend if it doesn’t make sense for my followers (who want me to respect their time), then I probably won’t share it.

    Great addition to the conversation. These rules can be applied to virtually any favor, not just blogs, Twitter, and other social media.

    [Reply]

  • Thuggets? You watch your mouth, Ty Lawson is a SAINT!

    Okay, moving on. Something that bugs me is how many people try to butter others up for a favor. Favors are always something that you need that pre-established basis of trust, but at the same time, your attempt at gaining trust shouldn’t be based on the hope of receiving favors. Head spinning yet? Good. Just returning the favor of your shaky video 🙂
    .-= Jackie Adkins´s last blog ..Guest Post: Are You Ready for Mobile Advertising? =-.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Very valid point Jackie. You wouldn’t hesitate to do a favor for your good friends because they’ve established trust and rapport with you, but the person that added on you on Twitter yesterday… How about getting to know someone before asking for a re-tweet eh?

    It’s hard for me to understand why people can’t just understand that being nice, being personable, and fulfilling promises usually takes care of everything else. Business or otherwise.

    [Reply]

  • Ryan, I do need a quick favor… can you please send me a pair of Denver Thugget pimp shorts? Those shorts are the bomb…

    The “knowing what I write about” hits home for me. I recently put out a message on Twitter asking if anyone had interest to guest blog on COTJ. Received a nice response back, but someone that I trust was totally off mark on a topic. They kept saying, “You think of a topic, and I’ll write it.”. That shows me that they have zero idea of what I’m trying to do on my blog and what interests my readers. That is when I probably stop responding.
    .-= Rich DeMatteo´s last blog ..Sorry, I probably won’t read your cover letter =-.

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  • Better sleep with one eye open tonight, the Birdman is comin’ for ya!

    I think one more thing people forget about favors is that they are just that, favors – don’t get into a “if you give a mouse a cookie…” situation. If you are going to ask for a favor, it better be easy and it better have some room to get done on my terms. Then, when it’s done, say thank you rather than asking for revisions, further steps, etc.

    I do some graphic design in my free time and I get into that pretty often.

    “Hey can you do me a favor…and then revise it…and then give me more options…and then…and then…”

    Really..the Birdman will swat anything you throw for the next month. Try it.
    .-= Scott Hale´s last blog ..The Problem with RSS =-.

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