Friday, July 29, 2011

Favors Run This Town

Flower Favors via
I often hear people say "This town is all about who you know," but I don't think they really understand what it means.  "Who you know" is not about going out in Hollywood and meeting people at night clubs or mansion parties just so you can win the race to have the most friends on Facebook; it's about building and maintaining relationships.

"But it's hard enough to meet people in Los Angeles, let alone build a meaningful relationship!" you might exclaim.  You're absolutely right.  No one said it was going to be easy.  It takes a lot of effort.  One of the keys to relationship building is repetition; always running into the same person at the coffee shop, seeing each other in the same classes, etc.

Once you've established a level of comfort purely from repeatedly seeing one another, you'll have to escalate the relationship by initiating a meaningful conversation.  It could be as simple as inviting them to chat over a cup of coffee.  If you already run into each other at the coffee shop, sitting down for a conversation shouldn't be hard to do.

The next step to really move towards a meaningful relationship is to find out what their needs are and help them achieve their goals by doing them a favor.  Many people don't realize this, but this town is fueled by favors.  If you do a favor for someone, chances are, they'll do you a favor as well.  You're making an emotional investment in someone, but just like monetary investments, they don't always give you a positive return.  Sometimes people will just take from you and try to use you up.  Be wary of these people and protect yourself, regardless of how powerful they are or what they are promising you.

If you can surround yourself with enough good people, this exchanging of favors will quickly bring everyone closer to their goals.

When someone makes an emotional investment in you, please be courteous enough to at least thank them for their help.  So many people take those words for granted.  A simple "thank you" could be just as good as you returning a favor.  It seems like a lot of people's egos take a hit when they use the words "thank" and "you" together; almost as if they're admitting that they are a lesser being because they accepted help from another.  Please graduate into Kindergarten and realize that thanking someone is a sign of gratitude and appreciation.  The use, or lack there of, can really affect whether that person helps you out again.

I recently had an experience where an acquaintance was looking for a very specific and expensive item for a project with an impending deadline and sent an email blast to everyone.  I replied to the email because I knew exactly where they could go get this item for FREE.

End of story.

I never heard back from that person.  How hard is it to click "reply", type "thx" and click "send"?  Apparently, it's harder than I thought for some people.  It tells me that I'm not worth 5 seconds of their time.  Because this person isn't a close friend of mine, I can guarantee you that I'm going to think twice about helping them again in the future.

Don't build a bad reputation for yourself; this town is smaller than you think.

Of course, there isn't a hard, fast rule about building relationships, and it's always a case by case basis.  But if people are donating their time and effort to you, please let them know that they're being appreciated.

It takes a lot of effort to build a meaningful relationship.  Don't ruin it with laziness.

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