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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Can you....

Yesterday the temps were in the low to mid 30s and we got snow. Today will be in the upper 50s and, yes, we’ll have rain. Tomorrow? In the mid 20s. It’s all gonna freeze over and the whole of the great outdoors will be a giant bumpy sheet of ice. Walking, and not falling, will soon be an Olympic level challenge. For me anyway.

I found myself panicked, thinking that I'll be stuck inside until all the snow and ice melts – end of March mebbe. I'll be completely reliant on the kindness of others for the basics. Ya know, like cat food, wasabi peas and coffee. EEK!

Asking for an assist or two makes me feel horribly guilty. This is mia madre’s training. She drilled into me, like a marine sergeant, DO NOT ASK FOR HELP. EVER! DO NOT IMPOSE! Guess what? Despite the fact that some crazy shit my mother beat into me made very little sense, I'm still prone to following said nutso dictum. Yes, even a zillion years later, as a grownup.

Now, as a theoretical grownup, I understand what she was getting at. It’s best not to ask for favors all the damn time. Why not?
  1. Being talented enough to, mostly, take good care of myself is a rock solid, splendid thing. We all need help from time to time BUT knowing how to do for myself is way smart.
  2. Our friends have busy, wild lives too. It may not be an easy, no-prob, deal for them to give me a lift to the cat food store, the Y, MGH, etc. every other damn day. There’s a regular bus, (stops just up the street too!) that goes right into Quincy Center and the Red Line. I can take the damn bus!
As a kiddle, I always responded to my mother’s DON’T ASK direction with but they can always say no! What was the harm in asking? The sitch seemed to be a total no biggie to me. I was, in essence, spot on BUT the thing that I failed to grasp was that friends are often inclined to agree to help whether it’s convenient for them or not.

When asking a friend for an assist, it’s always smart to build in an escape hatch. Fer instance, I’ll totally understand if you can’t give me a lift to the grocery/airport/Y/East Bucksnort – no worries. Is the request a big'un? Am I stuck and have no idea how to solve my prob? If my bud isn't able to lend a hand, I can ask them for advice on how to get to SolutionVille.

Blogger dude Tynan, who Gawker dubbed King of Tech Geeks, has a post up The Five Golden Rules of Favor Asking. He makes big buckets of sense.
Number one is Your Benefit Must Greatly Outweigh My Inconvenience
If you're asking me for a favor it should be something that I am particularly good at or well suited for. If a friend of mine asks me to help him set up a blog, I'm happy to do it because it's something I have experience with and am good at. What could take my friend five hours to set up, I might be able to do in thirty minutes.

The same goes for favors where I'm in the right place at the right time, even if I don't have specific skills for the job. If a friend asks me to pick up some bananas while I'm at Whole Foods, I'm more than happy to do it. If he asks me to pick up bananas while I'm home in the middle of writing something, that's a ridiculous request.
Go read the rest – it’s well worth it.

So then, it’s time to dig out my Yaktrax and cane. I CAN do this!


  1. So,THAT'S where my not-wanting-to-ask-for-help comes from! Yep, people can always say "no" and I, also, agree about the escape hatch. And, yet, on the other end -- it's only been recently that I've learned how to say "no" when I really don't want to. Seems like I've gone too long saying "yes" but not always doing it graciously ... sometimes doing it downright resentfully. Anyway, thanks for the insight on why it is - I absolutely loathe the idea of asking for help :-)

    1. There's so many fine lines to walk with this.