Franklin on Favors

A psychological phenomenon mentioned in Chapter X of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (but which I somehow overlooked among Franklin on Dogmatism, Franklin on Libraries, Franklin on Pride, Franklin on Vegetarianism, Franklin's Virtues, etc.): the long-term benefits of learning to graciously receive favors. Wikipedia's article on the "Ben Franklin Effect" leads to the relevant passage, wherein Franklin tells how he befriended a one-time rival in the legislature where he was a clerk:

I therefore did not like the opposition of this new member, who was a gentleman of fortune and education, with talents that were likely to give him, in time, great influence in the House, which, indeed, afterwards happened. I did not, however, aim at gaining his favour by paying any servile respect to him, but, after some time, took this other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return'd it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged." And it shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings.

Shades of David Singer's advice to "Let others be generous", as well as the "No enemies!" rule ...

^z - 2014-03-05