This sounds exactly backwards. Isn't winning friends easier if you do favors for them? But Franklin observed that after a person has done something nice for you once, they're far more likely to do more of the same in the future. So convincing an enemy to do you a small favor would, counter-intuitively, make them more likely to ally with you. And he put this into practice. The story goes that early on in his political career, Franklin had a semi-powerful enemy who was saying some pretty nasty things about him.
"Benjamin Franklin? Guy's a couple corners short of a tricorner hat, if you ask me."
Franklin's great technique for turning this hater into a friend was to borrow a book from him. This flattered his enemy, and some time after Franklin returned the book, he began speaking to Franklin as a friend, which they'd remain for the rest of their lives.
Soren Kierkegaard stumbled across the same thing. He was plagued with what I guess were the 19th-century Danish equivalent of trolls, who hung around outside his house mocking him. As they do. But he observed that small interactions with these trolls (asking for a light for his cigarette) was enough for them to become much more cordial with him. He reasoned that when they were strangers to him, they had little invested in his success, and thus felt free to criticize him. But a small act of sharing a light for a moment aligned their interests, and made them somewhat more invested in his life.
"We're sorry we mocked you earlier, Soren. It's because you have no neck. It's ... terrifying. The rest of the townspeople are terrified of you."
It's essentially a restatement of the Monkeysphere -- it's far easier to hate someone when you don't think of them as a person. Asking people to do you a small favor is enough for them to suddenly consider you a human being, and that's enough to turn the hate right off. Obviously, employing this technique requires knowing your hater well enough to plausibly ask a favor of them, so it might not be of much use when dealing with hordes of online assholes.
But if there is any way you can ask someone to do something for you, give it a try. Not only will you get a rad favor done for you, you may just turn your hater into an acceptancer.
(If anyone can send me a better way to end that sentence, I'd be very grateful. Thanks. -- CB)
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and loves you. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
For more from Bucholz, check out 5 Expert Phrases That Explain Ideas You Should Understand and 5 Insane Things You Don't Know About Letters of the Alphabet.