Words of my Mother: Vol. IV, On the Preference of Flies
This phrase comes to mind most frequently when I’m calling customer service. I mean, I rarely call a company to shoot the breeze. It’s usually because something has gone wrong. I’m usually annoyed that something has gone wrong.
… and 99% of the time the person at customer service has no control over what has gone wrong. They want the problem fixed, too, if for no other reason than it will get me off the phone. When I’m able to smile and be “honey” rather than “vinegar,” things go far better. Problems get solved faster and everyone has a much better time of it.
As a child, I heard this phrase frequently. I’ve always been a little bossy. Even as a wee babe I knew my ideas for games were far superior than the suggestions of my peers. We should do what I wanted, the way I wanted it done. Dissenters be damned.
What started, perhaps, as the art of persuasion opened my eyes to negotiation. I learned to compromise. I learned that if you were fun to play with, more people wanted to play your games. Children, like flies, are drawn to all things sweet.
Ask nicely and you are more likely to get what you ask for. It’s simple, really, though it can be hard to implement.