Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Occasionally we need a helping hand so badly that we get tunnel vision – perhaps we’re feeling desperate, overwhelmed or don’t know where to start looking for the thing we need.
Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of random messages. They’re almost always from people I don’t know all that well, people I haven’t seen in a few years or who I know through someone else, asking me for a favour. It’s almost always “can you just put up my friend’s random product on your blog?” or “can you share my latest business launch with your readers?” or “can you find all the suppliers for my wedding?” (I get that one about twice a week at least).
I’ve also noticed that the people asking me for favours often don’t make polite small talk first. Usually it’s “Hi Sara, you know about X, can you do Y for me” or (in one extreme case) “SARA!!! I need help with something urgent for tomorrow I need to talk to you RIGHT NOW” (guess whether or not I answered..)
The funny thing is, 99% of the time, I’ll go out of my way for someone, if they bother with the expected pleasantries first.
I don’t want to sound like a bitter old fart. I love helping people, I get a lot of satisfaction from it – but there are also limits to my generosity. I’m unlikely to help someone who doesn’t do me the courtesy of a “how are you?” or and it got me thinking about how much easier life would be if I had a stock response to send out to people.
Then I got thinking some more – I bet I’m not the only overworked individual out there without a great deal of time on their hands receiving these sorts of random, ill-considered requests. So I made the world’s crudest cut-out-and-keep flowchart on Microsoft Paint. Feel free to send it to casual acquaintances who are making unreasonable demands on your time!