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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

How to Make Your Haters Like You

How to Make Your Haters Like You

Having haters is a part of life. Hate comes in a variety of forms and can come from friends, family members, coworkers, classmates, associates and even random internet trolls.

Haters are the ugly side of success. If you have anything going for yourself, you’ve experienced hate. Whether you are intelligent, thin, curvy, in a relationship, single, have kids, or love your job, you are going to have haters. You hear the snide comments, see the random side-eyes, read the hateful comments under a social media post. You feel the tension when you try to discuss a recent win with a friend and then you find out that there are people dogging you behind your back.

Most people will tell you to just ignore your haters. They say that it’s just a part of life that you have to learn to deal with especially if you plan to do big things. And while that is accurate and sound advice, there is a way to turn some of your haters into friends.

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The magic of asking for a favor

The quickest and easiest way to turn a hater into a friend is to ask them for a favor. It’s a well researched psychology technique called the Ben Franklin Effect[1]. When you ask people who dislike you to help you out, it shifts their perception of the relationship and makes them view you as a friend instead of a foe.

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      Favors are for friends. You don’t usually do a favor for an enemy or someone you deeply dislike. It all has to do with cognitive dissonance. According to cognitive dissonance theory,[2] there exists a tendency for people to establish consistency in their beliefs, values and opinions. When attitudes and behaviors become inconsistent, dissonance occurs.

        The brain needs to eliminate the dissonance. The brain behaves as an outside observer. It continually watches and evaluates your actions and then contrives explanations for why you do what you do. Dissonance occurs most often in situations where an individual must choose between two incompatible beliefs or actions. So, in this case the reasonable belief is that favors are for friends. When you ask a hater for a favor, you create dissonance and the hater has to change their perception of you in order to perform the ask and eliminate the inconsistency.

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        Asking for a favor is also a subtle form of flattery. Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People suggests that requesting a favor allows the hater to feel that they have something we don’t. It levels the playing field in their mind. It also makes the hater feel admired and respected. They then not only want to help you but will also begin to see you differently. The hate dissipates.

          Turn haters into friends

          Asking a hater for a favor requires humility and a bit of thought. The favor should be something small enough that it is easily performed but not so trivial that it seems more of an insult than a favor. This means that you should consider the strengths, weaknesses, intellect and ability level of the person you are asking.

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          If it’s someone you don’t know, keep the ask simple. Borrowing some change at the vending machine or some other small item, asking them for assistance with an app on your smartphone or asking them to recommend a restaurant or other establishment are all great favors to ask for.

          When you make your request, remember to ensure it sounds like you really need the favor and value the person’s help. Keep your tone humble and your body language open. And be sure you express your appreciation and gratitude for their help.

          This technique is not just for haters. It works well with people you may not know well such as a colleague, mild acquaintance and even your secret crush. The simple action–making a small and reasonable request–can be the catalyst that transform a hater into a friend.

          Experiencing hate as you work to become your best self is inevitable. Turning every hater into a friend isn’t a practical goal but you can befriend some. Simply humbling yourself, and asking for assistance in the form of a favor, is the first step in changing them from foe to friend.

          Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

          Reference

          [1]The Science Dog: The Ben Franklin Effect
          [2]Instructional Design: Cognitive Dissonance (Leon Festinger)

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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