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"What's in it for them" (WIIFT) wins, never forget it!

Since the other thread for WIIFT is geared more toward case studies on WIIFT fails, I thought I'd start a thread on WIIFT wins.

And, here's the first case study:

A friend of mine was in town for a few days and wanted to meet up to watch Creed 3.

I was already on my computer checking out the theater we agreed upon, so I said I'd reserve both of our tickets at the same time so that no one can book out one of our seats (which would force us to have to switch theaters due to time constraints).

He agreed and I paid for both of our tickets.

Then, we met up and went to a favorite restaurant of mine that I'd recommended.

It was an all-you-can-eat buffet, so I was expecting the price to be on the higher side. But, when I got there, their price was half of what I was expecting, so I decided to just pay for both of our meals.

You could see he didn't want to make a big deal out of it, but also didn't want to just take and take. So, he said he'd CashApp me for his portion. I said he could do that if he really felt bad, but that I was happy to do it and we were all good.

In the end, we had a nice meal, watched a fun movie, and had an overall great time.

When we each got home, this is what he texted me:

I didn't want to sour our memory of the good time with transactional details, so I denied him the chance to pay. And, rather than responding with a simple "thanks", he adds that he'll find a way to repay me in the future.

And, knowing him, since he's given in the past, it'll likely be a gift, which is a better move for the relationship than just giving money.

If anyone has any thoughts or feedback, happy to read.

P.S.

Note to Lucio:

I think having a WIIFT wins thread pinned to the top of this subforum with the WIIFT fails thread would be great as the "other half" of helping people learn the WIIFT rule.

But, if you disagree, happy to unpin it and, if you think the other WIIFT thread should be the only one (since it's not labeled as "fails only"), happy to move this post over and delete this thread.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanJackTransitionedKavalierMats G

Great example and great attitude!

Thanks!

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettTransitioned

Hi Ali,

Indeed paying for his tickets and dinner enhances the friendship, I'm not sure how tight you guys are, now this my frank opinion and I mean no disrespect. When he asked for your Cash App and you refused him the opportunity to pay you back, until he repays you, he still is going to feel he owes you debt, and now he has no other means of repaying the debt, than providing you with a gift. You took away his choice, which I don't feel is alright, he cannot ask you again for the CashApp number without being in a dis-empowered position, I may be speaking for myself here, instead you could have given him your CashApp number and also added that if he wants he could buy you gifts instead of doing the traditional money transfer.

Happy to hear your thoughts on this, if you want to talk about it.

Mav

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett

Hi Mav,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and, you're right, in some cases, it can indeed be manipulative to force the other party to hold onto their debt (especially if one then plans to use their debt to "cash in" later with requests they wouldn't have otherwise agreed to).

And, even if there's no manipulative intent behind it, it can just be plain annoying to want to pull yourself out of a hole and then be denied that chance (forcing you to stay stuck in it).

This case was a little different though because:

  • We do these hangouts often: so, if he wants to repay me, he knows that he can just cover the tickets and meals next time around (no big gift is necessarily needed).
  • This is my "brother in arms" + like family: so we're well past the transactional stage, and giving to one another like this is natural (there's no counting who's given what, even in cases like this).
  • I felt I owed him a debt of gratitude: which was repaid that night, so even though he now feels he's in debt, I feel like I'm out of one (and can leave it up to him if he wants to give more).

So, on one hand, you're right, I'm shutting off his chance at repaying me with money.

On the other hand, exchanging cash as a form of gift-giving isn't necessarily the best for relationships anyway, and by shutting off that avenue, I can redirect him to other means of giving that would probably be better for the both of us (a potentially "unfair" move with the greater good of the relationship in mind).

Quote from Maverick on March 17, 2023, 7:21 pm

...I may be speaking for myself here, instead you could have given him your CashApp number and also added that if he wants he could buy you gifts instead of doing the traditional money transfer

(...)

You're right here, and that may be what I do next time.

We joke that I'm not the easiest to buy for because my work is so important to me, he could buy me office supplies as a gift and I'd actually appreciate it :).

But, the main reason I haven't done it is because he says to me often that gift-giving is not his "love language" and he prefers to make memories, so asking him to give me a gift directly could also be asking him to step further outside of his comfort zone than he's cool with.

Still, you're right that it's something I'd consider.

Edit:

Adjusted wording.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanKavalierMaverick

Actually, Maverick has a point.

I understand your POV and your attitude. You behaved like a friend and so did he.

Regarding Mav’s point, I want to share my own experience in that regard.

When we travelled my friend paid for the campervan and the car rental. Since these were large expenses during the trip I paid most of the other expenses to balance things out. It was unsaid but clear for both of us that this trip was 50/50.

At the end of the trip we settled the money part and I still owed her about $300. I told her I was going to send her the money once in Switzerland. She said « if that’s important to you » I answered with a warm smile: « yes that’s important to me ». I asked her to send me her bank details via WhatsApp once I was home. We exchanged a few messages about other things but she did not send me her bank info yet.

So I currently feel exactly how Maverick described. I have a debt which I cannot settle because she hasn’t allowed me yet to do so. So I carry it and it’s not quite comfortable for me. As Maverick said now I feel also not very comfortable to ask her again her bank info. So there is now an imbalance in the relationship as I’m not able to settle my debt yet.

I don’t know if this how your friend feel but this is a possibility.

That being said I totally understand your intention and I think it comes from the heart. In a situation like yours when someone feels indebted to me and I don’t want them to be (either because I wanted to give it to them genuinely or because it’s a small thing/gesture) what I say is:

« You owe me nothing it was my pleasure. »

with a warm smile to signify that there is just no debt. So that might be something to consider. To repay your friend’s attitude of reciprocity by cancelling the debt. That might be more suitable for another time since it could seem awkward now. Or another thing we do in Switzerland if the person still feels indebted/insists:

« You buy me a beer next time! » with a light tone.

That reinforces the frame that this is not a transactional relationship but a give-give relationship on a long term basis. This also sub-communicate that it was a small friendly gesture from a friend that can be repaid by another small friendly gesture.

So again no one is at fault and probably both of you might forget the “debt” possibly.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierMaverick
Quote from Ali Scarlett on March 17, 2023, 7:46 pm

Hi Mav,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and, you're right, in some cases, it can indeed be manipulative to force the other party to hold onto their debt (especially if one then plans to use their debt to "cash in" later with requests they wouldn't have otherwise agreed to).

And, even if there's no manipulative intent behind it, it can just be plain annoying to want to pull yourself out of a hole and then be denied that chance (forcing you to stay stuck in it).

This case was a little different though because:

  • We do these hangouts often: so, if he wants to repay me, he knows that he can just cover the tickets and meals next time around (no big gift is necessarily needed).
  • This is my "brother in arms" + like family: so we're well past the transactional stage, and giving to one another like this is natural (there's no counting who's given what, even in cases like this).
  • I felt I owed him a debt of gratitude: which was repaid that night, so even though he now feels he's in debt, I feel like I'm out of one (and can leave it up to him if he wants to give more).

Hi Ali

Thank  You for sharing more about the friendship between the two of you, from what I can gather, even though he might not be able to do CashApp, he still has plenty of other opportunities to return value, and each relationship is unique, and as long as both agree and it works,  in my friendships I'm on board.

Mav

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett

I'd agree with Maverick and John that if this is taken to an extreme, it can turn bad indeed.

However, I also agree with Ali that if it's a solid friendship then it's good and it just shows a willingness.

For example, with some of my childhood friends, there's like a race to whom will pay first, including strategically timed "bathroom visits" near the end of the meal.
The person paying is happy to invite his friends, the ones who were invited and maybe wanted to pay (jokingly) complain a bit, but it's all part of the friendship game and everyone knows it's all in good spirit and their turn will come.

WIFFT?

It's an interesting dynamic indeed that deserves being understood.

Though it doesn't strike me as the most typical "WIIFT" case.

WIIF tends to be more associated with business, sales pitches, cold reach outs, persuasion, etc.

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Ali ScarlettJohn Freeman
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Yeah I think it's quite an important point.

And I think, Ali, this emotional warmth is what came through your interactions and friendliness in your post. It matters a lot in the communication: what is communicated emotionally like: "I appreciate you and it's a pleasure for me to offer this to you". It changes everything.

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett

Another case study:

I've never seen someone offer to buy me lunch so they can pitch me their service...until recently:

Now, if this is an honest offer, it's a really good one, in my opinion.

I was more open to hearing them out due to seeing that they "get it."

In the end, I chose not to go for the meeting because I knew I probably wasn't interested in their offer and didn't want to take the money/a free lunch from them and someone else who would be more likely to buy.

Also, as far as the reach-out itself, I'm skeptical, and I think applying a healthy sprinkle of doubt is good in cases like this to avoid getting tricked. But, as far as the principle behind the reach-out, it's golden to me.

Especially, if their target market was people higher status/higher value (and busier) than me.

Happy if you guys disagree, curious to read any thoughts on this one.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJackKavalier
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