Likeability can mean the difference between getting a favor granted or getting shot down, so any quick tips on how to get into others’ good graces are helpful. While saying please may be a no-brainer, here’s another way to increase your chances of someone granting you a favor. In a simple study, researchers from Harvard Business School approached strangers on the street during a rainy day and asked to borrow their cell phones.

In half of the trials, the researchers said “I’m sorry about the rain.” In the other half they didn’t mention the lousy weather at all. Without that one line, the researchers successfully borrowed a phone only 9 percent of the time. When they did show remorse about the weather, the team’s success rate rose to an incredible 47 percent.

As in In59seconds explains below, when researchers apologized for something outside of their control, in this case the weather, they seemed more trustworthy and caring. So next time you need to present yourself as such, or if you just really want to borrow a phone from a random person, own up to something that’s not your fault.