On Favors

There is a school of thought out there that implies true Alpha Maledom means being entirely self-serving.  “Don’t do nothin’ for nobody,” they say.  “That shit is beta.  A true alpha doesn’t bother.  If he wants to do someone a favor, he has a follower do it for him to demonstrate higher value.  He’s already the CEO of Favors, Inc dontcha know.  He’s so alpha that if his phone was dead, he’d just direct a nearby platoon of bikini models (using hand-and-arm signals and popup flares, obviously) to carry out a better favor than anyone’s ever asked for.  Afterwards, one-in-ten of the victorious bikini models would be rewarded by the opportunity to vigorously fellate the True Alpha.”

There’s a bit of exaggeration there, but not much…

Before I start running my piehole, I should disclose the following:

I care if I’m happy.  I worry about making the most of things, and achieving my goals.  I have my own goofy code of honor I abide by.   Some folks think I’m nice.  Some think I’m a dick.  A few people hate my guts, and a few would donate endocrine organs if I needed them.  Most people on this planet don’t give a shit.

Is that Alpha?  Beta?

Is the answer useful enough to justify your skull-sweat?

Probably not.  Don’t pull a Donald Rumsfeld and throw the baby out with the Ba’ath water, though.  The alpha/beta/sigma/omega labels are useful conversational shorthand.  Using those terms as frameworks to hang ideas is beneficial.  There are limits, though.  Asking “What would a True Alpha do?” all the damn time is like asking a painting for advice.

With that bit of soapboxery in mind:

What is your decision process when somebody asks you for a favor?

For this thought experiment, imagine the favor would occupy four hours on your day off, and cost you an hour’s sleep.

Who did you imagine asking?  What gut reaction do you have?  How do you hope to interact with that person, one week after the favor?

Who do you wish would ask you for a favor?  What is your desired outcome with them?

Get brutally honest with yourself.  Channel your inner Spock.  Run your mental tongue over the notional teeth of your past experiences, and ask:

Is your hopeful interaction status post favor realistic?

Is it really?  Be alert for wishful thinking and self-deception.

The answer to this question is a useful way to judge the distance between who you are and who you want to be.

If you’ve pondered this stuff for a few minutes and find yourself smiling and joyful, then the rest of this missive isn’t for you.  You’ve got it down pat, and could probably teach me a thing or two.  How about spending your time helping me get the rest of this fucking crown molding up instead?  It’s kicking my ass.  Feel like swinging by Saturday afternoon?  I’ve got plenty of beer, a miter saw, and an endless stream of expletives for your entertainment.  Bring me a bottle of half-decent Scotch and I’ll teach you how to do Mozambique drills with my air nailer.

For the rest of us non-carpentry motherfuckers:

Favors can be tricky things.  Each favor asked of or received is an entry on the ledger of one’s self esteem.  A few mutual favors can move an acquaintance toward friendship.  Unrequited/unacknowledged favors can make enemies, even of family.

If you’re a dude who’s just feeling that Red Pill slide down your throat, here are some things about favors and women you should consider:

1. Do not expect a girl you like to respond like one of your buddies when you do her a favor.

This is a big sticking point for a lot of guys.  I’ve heard explanations ranging from “Women have no honor” to “women are not intelligent enough to be autonomous”.  You could earn a fistful of PhDs coming up with reasons.  It’s fun to argue about, but it’s not always practical, is it?

Sometimes, feelings of betrayal for unrequited favors metastasize into contempt for women in general.  I get it – I’ve been there.  One thing that helped me manage my contempt was a little perspective:

I’ve got a few friends I will drop whatever I’m doing to help.  When they say,”Dude, I’m in a fucking jam here.  Any way you could go and….” my priorities just got rearranged.  It’s “cost” me in ways both large and small.  I’ve been late to work and flaked on girls I was dating for them.  I’ve lent prized possessions to them – and given forgiveness when they broke something.  I quit a job I liked and moved to a strange city when one friend needed some help.  They ask (and receive) things from me that would get a girl I’ve known for 6 months laughed right the fuck out of my life.

Why?

Because they do the same dumb shit for me.  I’ve punched drunken, angry holes in their walls.  They’ve fed me when I was broke.  They’ve helped me move.  I bent an ambulance doing something dumb, called my friend at 0200, and he fixed it before my boss found out.  One guy kept me from bleeding to death on an Interesting Day several years ago.

See the context?  Those friendships work because we want the same things from each other.  I have their back because they have mine.  I sacrifice for them because they sacrifice for me – we’re trading with the same currency.  Apples to apples, etc ad nauseum.

Doing stuff like that for a woman you want to have sex with is barking up the wrong tree.  Sure, after a few years of building trust and looking out for each other she might lend you $1,000 or bail you out of jail.  She might be someone you can rely on in a pinch.  She might even marry you.

Her wanting to fuck you is an entirely different question.  Don’t attempt to purchase attraction with a fistfull of reliability.

2. Beauty and Habituation

Have you ever talked to a young woman on the phone, sight unseen, and noticed a subtle entitlement, an undercurrent of puzzlement and irritation if you don’t comply with her wishes immediately?  Does she get miffed if you say something like,”Sorry, I’m not going to do that because it’s against the rules?”

You can see it on forums and blog comments, too.  Some woman will say something you’d expect to hear from an enthusiastic paint-huffer, and be terribly hurt when people tell her to lay off the gold Krylon.

2:1 odds that girl is physically attractive.  Males have been bending the rules and giving her special treatment/attention her entire adult life.  It’s as natural to her as gravity.  Over the phone, though, she’s a mere voice.  On the internet, she is just her ideas and grammar.  Stripped of her loyal sidekicks Pretty Face and Smokin’ Body, the world is a different, harsher place.

This isn’t always obvious.  Girls Who Think figure it out quickly and compensate. Dumb girls, or those who dislike being without their Loyal Sidekicks stick to Facebook.  Pay attention and you’ll sometimes sense it though, like a thin haze of smoke long after the fire’s been extiguished.

Why is this important?

Because a non-thinking hot girl won’t even notice your effort if that’s all you’re bringing to the table.  In her world, what goes up comes down, water is wet, and men pay attention to her.  The currency of favors more inflated than Weimar Republic Papiermarks.

A thinking hot girl has seen your brand of bullshit so many times she knows what you’ll do next before you do.  There are five other interchangeable guys pining for her right now, offering the same. boring. crap.

3. Treating people how you’d like to be treated only matters to you.

Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have personal ethics, or strive to be honorable.  You’ve got to live with yourself, after all.  Those quiet, solitary moments before sleep will always be there.  Life is a lot nicer when you don’t dread that time.

But….

You’re not the Arbiter of All That’s Right And Good.

You might think it’s a nice gesture to clean my ambulance – you know, organize everything and get it all purdy ‘n stuff.  Gosh, you think, I wish someone would do something like that for me at my job!  It’d be great to show up after lunch and have everything A J Squared Away!

So you slave away, imagining how happy ol’ Dogsquat’s gonna be when he gets back on the truck…

Do it once, and I’ll tell you politely to never touch my shit again, ever.  Do it twice, and I will consider you to be potentially lethal to my patients, dangerous to me, arrogant, immoral, stupid, and a tragic waste of good carbon.  I’ll treat you that way from then on.

Why?  You’re just doing me a favor – treating me how you’d like to be treated!

But it’s not the way I want to be treated.  I have my own system.  I sometimes need stuff in a hurry.  I run out of something, people could die.  If you rearranged the drugs in my drug box to your satisfaction I couldn’t find things by touch anymore.  I could make a lethal mistake, or waste a bunch of time, or…you get the point.

You’d be an asshole.

Don’t be an asshole.

Treat people how they want to be treated.

 

 

 

So, when should you do a girl a favor?

Easy – whenever you want to.  Do it when you like the work, or want something to do, or want to spend time with her, or see her smile.  I do favors for people all the time – it’s fun to show off a bit (with panache and class, of course) and I like making people feel good.  I like teaching, and seeing people learn.

If you’re doing favors and hating it, or hoping it will change her in some way – knock that shit off.  Gratitude in that situation has a half-life shorter than most transuranic elements.

Smile politely and say,”No.”

Lots of times, the aftermath of that little statement is more fun than hours of toil, anyway.
Try it sometime.

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35 thoughts on “On Favors

  1. Yeah, I know it sounds cliche but, some of the best favors men have ever done for me is . . . saying no.

    “Don’t do nothin’ for nobody,”

    Relatively speaking, this is easy. What your describing takes thought, discrimination, fortitude, and class. Far more Alpha in my opinion.

  2. It sucks that despite my negative attitude towards people in general, I really do like to make the people I care about happy. It took my into my early 30’s to realize what you’ve laid out here: that if I’m going to help anyone with anything, I better be doing it because *I* want to. Most of the time the effort won’t get you anything in return but a smile and a thank you, so be sure you’ll be happy with that or less when it is all said and done. And strangely enough, once I accepted that simple fact doing ‘favors’ for people became more fun and rewarding. And, I started feeling better about saying no, which came with its own sense of freedom. Thankfully I didn’t spend too much time doing favors for women in the hopes of getting into their pants. Sadly, I still did them favors because I was an easy target. LOL

  3. Right on brother. I’ve learned that the most underused word in the English language is “no”. I try to compensate by using it precisely and often. I do plenty of favors, I have a rule against using them to try to get laid. Aside from seeming too quid pro quo, it doesn’t work.

    Question though, I’m in a long term relationship, enjoying it. How does one balance the favors done in a relationship like that? It’s not about getting laid, I get laid no matter what. And it’s not that she doesn’t do things for me, she does. Just sometimes seems like extending myself a bit more than she is.

    • Change it up a little. Establish a range on either side of “tit for tat,” and become less predictable within that range. Occasionally extend yourself a bit more, and occasionally back off so she feels pressured to extend herself more. As a woman in today’s world, she is bound to be more likely than you, to take favors for granted. That doesn’t make her selfish or greedy, it just means she assigns a slightly different value to favors.

    • First, check out Athol Kay’s stuff. He is the Grand Master of LTR Game.

      For me, I have a little weekly ritual I do. I sit down for 30 minutes or so and practice calligraphy. I used to copy passages out of Kipling or Shakespeare, or Tool lyrics or something – just to clear my noggin for awhile. Now I write a sentence about my relationship – the first thing that comes to my head. Most times it’s a pleasant one, because I’m happy as fuck. Once in awhile it’s something like “Why does she have so much stuff in my bathroom – nobody needs so many goddamn bottles and lotions and oceans of shampoo.” I realize I’m irritated at the 55 gallon drums of jojoba oil and 3,000 gallon Strategic Vidal Sassoon Reserve lurking in my cabinets.

      In my chump days I wouldn’t utter a peep – I’d chalk it up as “something that happens” when you have an ol’ lady. Now, I’ll tease her a few times about it that week – make a big production of presenting 3 identical gift-wrapped shampoo bottles in a row at dinner, and mailing another one to her house. Like magic, my bathroom returns to normalcy.

      I’m parodying what’s bothering me in a fun/playful way. She’s a savvy chick so she fixes the issue. Early on in the relationship she pushed back a bit – laughing at the jokes and not fixing the problem. That’s when you resort to NCO SOPs and impose your will or point out the line in the sand.

      I guess what works for me is a set, regular time to think about my situation – am I getting what I want/am I happy/is this working? It’s okay to be selfish, to demand excellence. If there’s a problem, show her the solution in a playful, non-threatening way. I like being goofy and creative (it was either Infantry or Clown School). It makes a potential fight into something fun. With my current GF, things work best if I give heavy-handed hints, and allow her to fix it without actually calling her out. She has an opportunity to save face, I guess. If she chooses to forgo that opportunity, I get more direct.

      Hell – go buy one of those cheap Chinese-made olive drab walky-talkies. Next time she asks you to do something, get all tactical with her. “Ahh, Negative. Testicle Six Actual says we are pulling back to Phase Line Gooch at this time, break. Oscar Mike in 5. We are green on ammo, red on favors, repeat read on favors. Can you assist, over?” You could make her laugh with goofy callsigns and an imaginary conversation with an Officer who thinks she’s a total bitch. Lot’s of shrugging and intercessions on her behalf that get overruled or something. She’ll be wrestling you for the radio in five minutes if you do it right – even though it’s just a prop. She’ll remember you called her out on her shit, though…

      Another one I’ve used on several girls is Athol’s Cookie Trick. When she asks you to do something, say,”Going rate is seven homemade cookies.” Don’t do it/agree until she promises the cookies. She will forget the promise in less than five minutes. When the issue comes up again, open your mouth and point. After a minute, explain that you have a life threatening low serum cookie level, and need your medical condition addressed stat.

      Alternatively, if this happens in public, involve another (preferably matronly) lady. Explain to the stranger that your girl makes the best cookies in the Universe, and how heartbroken you are that she must have lost them somewhere, because surely she didn’t forget your deal…could you please check lost and found for some wayward cookies? This schtick seems supplicating, but really you’re exposing her crappiness to another woman, shaming her. The best time I did this was in a clothing store, and I had the old lady clerk laughing as I expressed my pride in her baking skills and paternal concern for the cookies she obviously had on hand, since she promised them in return for XYZ. The old lady was cracking up and lecturing my girl at the same time. My girl was laughing, too, but beet red with embarrassment. Later, she started up about me being a dick for making our private issues public. I vociferously assured her that I would never take our problems outside the relationship – I was merely concerned about a possible theft of baked goods. Those damn things musta been highjacked, because surely my girl would never welch on a promise….obviously.

      I dunno. I’m a gregarious doofus, and that kind of stuff works for me. I think it’s fun. You might need a different tactic.

      There is a flip side to this whole deal, too – if you demand/expect excellence, consideration, and maximum effort from her, you’d better be willing to deliver the same. Just keep a close eye on the line between fair and supplication. You, and only you, get to define that line. Anyone else’s definition (including her’s) doesn’t matter.

      • Suz and Dogsquat, thanks for the input. I think I’ll have to modify somewhat, but good places to start looking. Goofy really isn’t my wheelhouse, don’t know that I could pull that off. The line I’ll have to walk is not being too intense, especially with any pushback. Will be checking out Athol’s stuff. Thanks again.

      • “Hell – go buy one of those cheap Chinese-made olive drab walky-talkies. Next time she asks you to do something, get all tactical with her. “Ahh, Negative. Testicle Six Actual says we are pulling back to Phase Line Gooch at this time, break. Oscar Mike in 5. We are green on ammo, red on favors, repeat read on favors. Can you assist, over?”

        coffee spewage

  4. Good post Dogsquat.

    The following quote especially caught my attention.

    A thinking hot girl has seen your brand of bullshit so many times she knows what you’ll do next before you do. There are five other interchangeable guys pining for her right now, offering the same. boring. crap.

    It’s sad, but true. I respect a man way more if he isn’t bending over backwards to please me.

      • You’ve been banned from HUS?! I was wondering why I hadn’t seen you around there in awhile. Who will I coyly flirt with on there now?!

        It’s good to know that we can still chat on here though. I like you Leap, like a cat likes fresh cream. 😉

        • Yeah. I was banned for relating a discussion I had with Susan in the comments at Dalrocks. Didn’t say anything snarky or mean, just the facts. Banned.

          Yeah, sorry. I was especially sad because you had just proposed to have imaginary, hypothetical babies with me, so I made a hypothetical crib out of my hypothetical commitment in return for hypothetical sex.

          http://postimage.org/image/ltsld468b/

          What can I say? It made me laugh

          • Yeah, sorry. I was especially sad because you had just proposed to have imaginary, hypothetical babies with me, so I made a hypothetical crib out of my hypothetical commitment in return for hypothetical sex.

            http://postimage.org/image/ltsld468b/

            I am at my desk at work right now, and I just laughed like a maniac. They all probably think I’m crazy now.

            That picture you created just made my day Leap. Our hypothetical baby will be ever so comfortable.

            You are now officially my internet husband. I hope you appreciate the gesture.

    • Sassy, one of the things I really want to convey with this blog is that there are excellent women out there – boner-inducing women a guy can respect and love and fuck and laugh with, good team mates and decent human beings. Those women are rare, and a guy has to have his shit together to land one – but it can be done. I’m glad you caught me sneaking that in there…

      • Haha. No problem man. I agree with that sentiment 100%. There are great women out there, and it’s important that men get the right information to land a woman who is an asset to their lives instead of a detriment.

        Attractive women do tend to have a slew of men willing to go above and beyond any call of duty to do favors for them. Some women are appreciative of the favors, while others are not. It’s important for men to know, however, that they don’t need to break their necks to get in the good graces of such women.

      • i’ll do a favor for a woman i’m cool with. but just some girl i’m talking to mentioning me doing something for her will get my pattented, “uuuh, we’re cool, but we’re not fucking. and what you’re suggesting is bf duty.”

        every woman i’ve said that to has grinned from ear to ear.

  5. Posts like this are why I’m glad I found this blog…

    Been all over the place with this very issue – as a son to a martyr mother, as a beta and eventually divorced husband to where I am today.

    Motivations matter….am I doing it for me – or for them? If the former – rock on. If the latter – then that leads to a decision tree of “why am i doing something for them?” Oftentimes the answer is incredibly easy – if a good male friend is in trouble – I’m right there. If however, it’s some girl who I’m interested in, I’m likely to say “no” – especially if she hasn’t earned “it” yet.*

    Helpful framework, at least for me – if they don’t say “thanks, man”, am I going to feel butthurt? If I am, then wtf am I doing it? If they don’t say thanks and I’m still okay with doing the favor, no problemo.

    Part of the issue here too, is “asked” favor v “unrequested” favor. With the latter, it’s particularly important for me to not care if I get “thanked” – otherwise I’m likely to feel like a martyr and I detest that – or worse, the whole “look what I did for youuuuuuuuuuuu to make you happpppppppy – why aren’t you happppppppy?”

    *True story – when in college, had a pickup truck – so naturally got a lot of requests to help move. One girl I had a crush on heard about this and called me up – “I need your help, please!” Show up to move and not ONE thing had been packed. I say to her – “When will you be ready – I’ll come back then” She replied “Oh – the boxes are over there. Go ahead and start packing will you”. I *almost* fell for it – – had one box half packed and noticed she was sitting on her ass watching and doing nothing. I shrugged and said “No – you pack your own shit. I don’t deal with people who waste my fucking time” and left.

    God, did that feel excellent – even if she was hot.

  6. “How about spending your time helping me get the rest of this fucking crown molding up instead?”

    Lord, I hate that shit. Specially when you have to install it for a show that gets torn down in 5 weeks. The plus side is, an audience 40 feet away has a harder time seeing mistakes.

    Still, I’d rather put in crown molding than figure out favors. I’ve gotten really good at determining when to do favors or not for people I’ve interacted with before. You have a decent idea of what to expect for reactions of appreciation or not giving a damn.

    Its the first time favor for women that I hate deciding. Because, as a man, it seems like no matter how much game or red pill I take, I still have to be the one to take a risk – hope you don’t get friend zoned, hope she’s not deceiving you into a harder favor than you bargained for, hope she wasn’t just using you for this one favor and then ditching you. Most of all, hope that you feel glad and better for doing it after its done.

    Bring on the crown molding any day.

    • Fuck crown molding. I’d rather intubate a 90 year old kyphotic COPD’er with c. diff in the middle of a burning paint factory than do this shit.

      I spent like 5 hours inventing a system to measure and cut it efficiently. Inside Right, Outside Left, each piece marked and placed near it’s eventual destination….all that stuff. I surveyed my work, basking in my intellectual dominance. My buddy came over, and I began sharing my groundbreaking system, not sure I could actually convey the sheer brilliance of it to his poor, benighted soul…

      “Yeah, that’s how you’re supposed to do it. We’re gonna do your floorboards the same way. Usually takes about 30 minutes to prep this amount of work,” he said in admiration.

      • Hahahaha.

        Dude. That shit is an art form. I know guys that can knock out stupidly complicated angles that assholes (like me) design.

        If you’re doing usual 90 degree cuts, I once worked on a buddies miter saw that had the shit ENGRAVED right on the cutting surface. It was brilliant. Makes the work so much faster its worth the money. I think it was a dewalt.

      • Hahahaha.

        Dude. That shit is an art form. I know guys that can knock out stupidly complicated angles that assholes (like me) design.

        If you’re doing usual 90 degree cuts, I once worked on a buddies miter saw that had the shit ENGRAVED right on the cutting surface. It was brilliant. Makes the work so much faster its worth the money. I think it was a dewalt.

        • I’ve got a Porter Cable with a laser – that thing is sweet. You can set the laser to lie on the left, right, or center of the blade. Super helpful when you’re just skimming a bit off…

          • Nice, haven’t seen an adjustable laser guide like that.

            On an unrelated note, how much do you know about neck injuries? Just last night my neck was stiff as hell and then cracked weird when I was trying to stretch it. Now today it hurts constantly and is ridiculously painful to do anything other than keep it straight up, looking straight ahead. I feel like a robot for my inability to look at anything without moving my torso without feeling a shit ton of pain.

            • I know a shitload about neck injuries, actually. Unfortunately, there is no way to convey enough information over the internet for me to be comfortable hazarding a guess…

              Ask Dannyfrom504, maybe. He’s an xray tech. I doubt a medical person would try and diagnose you via type, though.

              • All good. I actually was far enough ahead on projects that I could take a day away from them to heal up instead of having to worry about it more. A day on tons of anti-inflammatory, ice packs, pain meds, and being smart about not wrenching it more and I’m halfway there.

                I can’t take a second day like that, like I’d like to. But it is what it is, and the majority of healing is done if I don’t screw it up again.

  7. Just FYI, hot girls will pull the same favor abuse shit on non-hot other girls. The attention entitlement extends far beyond gaining the attention of men.

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  9. I always say Yes to women asking me for a favour then flake on them later. Taste of their own medicine and all that. There are a few exceptions. Some I always say No to, because – well, fuck them, not sure why they keep trying to get my attention – and for two lucky ones, I’d nearly always say Yes and follow up on my promise.

    Simple policy, don’t have to think too much about it.

  10. My main definition of alpha is someone that respects people and that people respect. Alphas can do favors for people. Part of being alpha is not worrying about bs like wondering if it’s ok to do a favor. if you want to do a favor, do a favor. If you don’t, don’t.

  11. There is a old soviet short animated film, based on an armenian tale. The centerpiece moral of that film is “Do Good and throw it into the ocean” (meaning – don’t expect any payback for your good deads) The tale is about a fisher, who catches a talking fish and let’s it go – throws it into the ocean. Later in the story the talking fish comes back and saves the fisherman’s family from a horrible death through a game of wits with a shapeshifting monster.

    I’ve found this to be a great guiding principle in life.
    “Do Good – and throw it into the ocean”

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