What are brownie points?

In corporate America (and in other places in America), you will often hear the term “brownie points” being used. What does that phrase mean? Well, an example will help you understand what it means. Suppose someone says that Joe will get some brownie points with Jack if he does a favor for Jack – like buy Jack lunch. That means Joe will gain some recognition by Jack that Joe did him a favor, and that Jack will remember that Joe did a favor. So, Jack will ‘owe’ Joe, and may return the favor in the future – and this debt that Jack has for Joe is known as “brownie points”. Of course, Jack will have to remember that Joe did him a favor.

Brownie points also add up the more favors that are done – that’s why they are called brownie points, because it’s like keeping score.

What are brownie points in a relationship?

So, in our example of Joe doing Jack a favor, you can see that in that relationship between the two there is a sense of debt that Jack carries towards Joe. So, in a relationship, brownie points are worth the possibility of being returned a favor by another person when the other person needs it.

Brownie points synonyms

Probably the best synonym for brownie points is “social currency” – since having someone owe you a favor is a form of currency, and it’s social because it is assuming that you have some sort of relationship with the person who owes you a favor. Some other possible synonyms include credit, appreciation, and acknowledgement.

Example of using “brownie points” in a sentence

"In order to get some brownie points with his boss, Joe
would often buy his boss lunch and bring it back to
the office for him."

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