The Art of Asking for a Favor: 5 Tips for Success

We've all been there -- either as the person asking the favor or the person being asked the favor. It can be a tricky and awkward situation, and many of us bungle the request with long and unnecessary preambles that either confuse the situation or turn off the person we are asking.

What's the solution to successfully asking for a favor? There is an art to the process, and these five tips will make favor-asking simpler and more successful.

Five Tips for Asking for a Favor

1. Be Real. Start the process of asking for a favor by acknowledging that you realize you are requesting something from the other person -- and show appreciation for the time and effort it is going to take for them to accomplish it for you. Do not take their time lightly, and be as genuine as possible.

2. Be Specific. Be extremely straightforward in your favor request, and clearly state the one explicit request you have of the other person. Do not muddy the waters by asking for multiple part favors; the more you ask for, the less likely you'll receive it.

3. Be Sensitive. The key is not overburdening someone who is already extremely busy and overworked. If you really need that person's input or help, provide them with ample time to find a way to squeeze it into their timetable. Do not wait until the last minute or request unrealistic deadlines for your favor requests.

4. Be Honest. Even the most powerful and unemotional people will be touched -- and more likely to respond favorably to your favor request -- when you express how the favor will positively impact your life and/or career. Do not oversell the favor; just be authentic about the favor's impact.

5. Be Open. End the request with a willingness to return the favor in whatever way you can. Remember that you are much more likely to get favors done for you if you also do favors for others (call it the karma connection). Do not assume that the person you are asking has no need for something from you; reciprocity is key to success.

Final Thoughts on Asking For and Receiving Favors

Before asking for a favor, try to accomplish as much as you can on your own. Not only will you gain greater satisfaction from achieving more than you thought you could accomplish, but you will also be able to ask for smaller favors, which are always more likely to be granted than ones that are complex and time-consuming.

Remember that politeness and kindness both go a long way to obtaining what you want/need -- especially when asking for a favor from people we only know though a social network such as Facebook or LinkedIn. In today's social media environment of kneejerk reactions and rudeness, respect and manners stand out more than ever. Words like please and thank-you still go a long way.

That said, even the most genuine and desperately-needed favors will get rejected by people for any number of reasons. Instead of responding with anger or guilt, graciously accept their decision and turn your request to someone else. Anger is never an answer, and while guilt might work in wearing the person down to grant the favor, that relationship will be forever damaged.

Finally, remember there are times in life when we will be in a place in which we need many favors -- and that's okay, especially when asking them of true friends and family. But again, when you are fully back on your feet and in strong standing, remember to be open to others who are struggling and need help and favors from you.

Read even more advice in this article: Modern Etiquette: Asking for a Favor.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.