Don’t Apologize

Don’t Apologize

When you ask for help, you may feel inclined to apologize for taking up their time and energy. Don’t. 

This is a bad idea because putting yourself down makes the other person feel less joy in helping you. Many of us apologize too much anyway.

@alanaff557

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Communication

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Pick One Person to Ask

It’s best to ask one person instead of a group. Pick someone who you think can help you the most, or at least send individual requests to several people at once instead of dropping a line in a group chat. 

Asking a group leads to the “diffusion of responsibility” phenomenon, where nobody feels like they have to help because they think someone else will. 

Make It Clear You Want Help

... be specific about what you want.

Don't use phrases like “Can you do me a favor? ", because they are manipulative - they force someone to commit before you tell them what it is you need. A simple “Can you help me with [specific thing]?” will do.

Give a Timeframe and an Escape

When you ask for help, give the person some kind of timeframe or soft deadline. Phrases like “whenever you can” put more pressure on the person who is already doing you a favor. 

It’s also nice to offer them a way out if you know they’re busy. It ensures your request for help doesn’t feel like a demand. 

Don’t Hesitate to Circle Back to People

Just because someone didn’t help you before doesn’t mean they won’t help you now

In fact, research suggests they’re more likely to help. Because they want to feel better about rejecting you previously and repair the relationship.

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What Not To Do When Asking For Help
  • Instruct people.
  • Tell or imply that they should help our debt they don’t have a choice about it.
  • Using unnecessary prefaces makes people feel trapped.
  • Profusely apologizing makes the experience seem less positive.
  • Emphasizing reciprocity can make people feel indebted or like they are engaging in a purely transactional exchange.
  • Minimizing your need suggests the assistance is trivial or even unnecessary.

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IDEAS

Tips To Better Ask For Help
  1. Demonstrate that you've tried to help yourself. Briefly explain what you've tried independently so they know you've tried to solve your problem for yourself before.
  2. Demonstrate that you've acted on the person's advice previously so they won’t be weary you might be wasting their time and not following through.
  3. Consider the timing of your request and asked them when they are free to help so you’re not inconveniencing others.
  4. Use the "Foot in the Door" or "The Door in the Face." In the former a small request that gets the person into "yes" mode is followed by a larger request, while in the latter a large request is denied and followed by a smaller request, which seems more reasonable due to the earlier unreasonable request.
  5. Don't make someone guess what you want, be precise.
  6. Make your requests using multiple channels in customer-service situations. If you don't succeed at first, hang up and try again with a different representative, or switch to a different customer-service channel.
  7. Offer or give more help than you ask for to make people more receptive to your requests.

While reciprocity does make people more likely to comply with the request, it also makes us feel controlled, which takes all the fun out of it.

Reminding someone that they owe you a favor does not create good feelings. Scorekeeping is fundamentally bad for relationships.

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