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If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor – Zill e Huma – Career Advisors CCP Pakistan

“If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.” Zill e Huma – Career Advisors CCP Pakistan

Relationships are living, breathing things. Feed, nurture, and care about them: they grow. Neglect them: they die. The best way to strengthen a relationship is to jump-start the long-term process of give-and-take. Do something for another person–help. But how? Helping someone out means acknowledging that you are capable of helping. Reject the misconception that if you’re less powerful, less wealthy, or less experienced, you have nothing to offer someone else. Everyone is capable of offering helpful support or constructive feedback. To be sure, you’ll be most helpful if you have the skills and experiences to help your allies. Pleasant friendships are nice, but the best-connected professionals are ones who can really help their allies. This is what makes a professional network and not simply a social one. Next, figure out what kind of help is helpful. Imagine sitting down to lunch with an acquaintance you just met and opening the conversation by saying, “I’m looking for a job in New York City.” He puts down his fork, wipes the barbecue sauce off his face, looks you square in the eye, and replies, “I know the perfect job for you.” Is that helpful? Hardly. Since he likely has no idea what the perfect job means to you, a better response would have probed: “Tell me more about your skills, interests, and background.” Good intentions are never enough. To give helpful help you need to have a sense of your friend’s values and priorities so that your offer of help can be relevant and specific. What keeps him up at 2 a.m.? What are his talents? His interests? Asking “How can I help you?!” immediately upon meeting someone is overeager. First you must know the person. Finally, once you understand his needs, challenges, and desires, think about how you can offer him a small gift. We don’t mean an Amazon gift card or a box of cigars. We mean something—even something intangible—that costs you almost nothing yet still is valuable to the other person. Classic small gifts include relevant information and articles, introductions, and advice. A really expensive big gift is actually counterproductive—it can feel like a bribe. Inexpensive yet thoughtful is best. When deciding what kind of gift to give, think about your unique experiences and skills. What might you have that the other person does not? For example, consider an extreme hypothetical. What kind of gift would be helpful to Bill Gates? Probably not introducing him to somebody—he can meet whomever he wants. Probably not sending an article you read in the media about the Gates Foundation—he was probably interviewed for it. Probably not by investing in one of his projects— he’s doing fine money-wise. Instead, think about little things. For example, if you’re in college, or have a good friend or sibling in college, you could send him information about some of the key cultural and technology-usage trends among the college set. Intel on what college students—the next generation—are thinking or doing is always of interest yet hard to get no matter how much money you have. What specific things do you know or have that the other person does not? The secret behind stellar small gifts is that it’s something you can uniquely provide. Finally, if the best way to strengthen a relationship is to help the other person, the second best way is to let yourself be helped. As Ben Franklin recommended, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.” Don’t view help skeptically (What did I do to deserve this?) or with suspicion (What’s the hidden agenda here?). Well, sometimes second-guessing is warranted, but not usually. People like helping. If someone offers to introduce you to a person you really want to meet or offers to share assorted wisdom on an important topic, accept the help and express due gratitude. Everyone will feel good—and you’ll actually get closer to the person.

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