What I’m about to share with you will revolutionize your relationships. Your relationship with your spouse, your sibling, your father-in-law, or anyone else with whom you regularly argue. It is an argument-solving method called “the favor system.”
Toby and I were introduced to the favor system 14 years ago by our dear friends and expert arguers, Diane and Raymond (happily married since the last century). According to barely any research, the favor system expertly resolves 99.9% of all objective arguments. That is, any argument where the possible resolution is based on facts. In other words, the favor system can resolve any argument that has an answer.
The way it works is simple. If you are arguing and cannot come to an agreement, you simply bet a favor. The argument is then over until someone can prove that they are right. Whoever ends up in the right, claims the favor. The favor can be for anything. For example, one time Toby cashed in a favor and sent me to redbox in my pajamas at 11:58pm. With my favors, I’ve gotten out of dish-duty multiple evenings.
One condition to the favor system, however, is that in order to claim your favor, you need to remember how you won the favor. For example, if you were arguing over the correct pronunciation of the word “rendezvous”, and you, thanks to Merriam-Webster and common sense, won the argument, then when it’s time to cash in the favor, you need to say: “This is for the time you thought rendezvous was a type of dinosaur pronounced “rhen-deh-vous”. (True story and I’m embarrassed to admit, a big win for Toby.)
Unfortunately, the favor system does not solve subjective arguments. That is, arguments based on emotions, feelings, or opinions. For instance, for arguments stemming from questions such as “Does this dress make me look fat?” you are on your own.
While the favor system does not help with every argument, it has saved us from some big arguments over the years. One of my favorite wins was the “Tre Ore Service” argument.
The first church Toby worked at held a service called Tre Ore from 12:00pm to 3:00pm on Good Friday. I knew from my romance language studies that Tre Ore meant “3 hours”. Toby was convinced and willing to bet a favor that it actually meant something more like “The Really Long Good Friday Service.” I got a nice, fat favor for that one.
Even though I won that argument, Toby is annoyingly right most of the time and wins more favors. But, he can never seem to remember what his favors are for, and is thus unable to cash in his favors. So I am pretty free to bet favors as often as I can, hoping for that occasional win.
While it’s nice to send Toby to the pharmacy at midnight and it’s convenient to make him drive the 40-minute round trip to the middle school to deliver the forgotten lunch, that’s not the point of the favor system. The point of the favor system is: less arguing = more peace. Because for many of our petty arguments, having to bet a favor not only stops the argument from escalating, but it also makes us realize that sometimes we argue just to argue and that is not healthy, never peaceful, and definitely NOT worth the possibility of having to scrub the inside of the grill or give a foot massage.
So give the favor system a try in your own relationships. Test it out for a month. If you do, I argue that you will see a positive difference in the quality of your relationships. Of course, if I am wrong, then I owe you a favor.