Friday, August 1, 2008

Ask and you shall receive

My policy about communication is simple - shoot straight. It does not always work, especially when and where people expect facts wrapped in intonations, hints, gestures etc. I try to follow the same policy in my actions also. If somebody wants me to do something for them, they have to ask me. It might sound very rough and mechanical but believe me, it is very efficient. I seldom deny my friends and relatives any help/assistance that they want me to do for them. I also don't expect anything in return, including the oft said "Thank You". I normally let my close friends and relatives know that I don't like the "Thank You"s that I get back. I help/assist them because I consider it either my responsibility or my duty and I derive pleasure in doing it and that itself is my reward. I also try to say No in situations where I can't practically offer them the help that they require.

During conversations I don't normally iterate through the series of possible assistance options that I can render to the person I am conversing with and hence I expect the other person to ask me for the specific help they want me to do for them. That has to be far more efficient than me trying to guess their needs.

That is with my policy. There is a small problem here, our society does not work this way. People expect each other to enquire about each other and ask for possible things they can help with. This has a definite advantage in that this avoids embarrassing situations where a request is denied. You only latch on to offers you need and ignore other offers. Giving offers is never going to hurt the ego of the person offering the help while asking for help could possibly hurt the ego of the person asking for it and especially when the request is rejected. And here is the rest of it.

So how does it work with my method? Simple, you rate your relationship with me and calculate if I would have asked you for a similar help and if you would have serviced the request. On rethinking it is not quite as simple as that. How would you know if I would have asked for something similar? Tough question. Well the answer is, just try and ask me :-). I don't expect all my friends and relatives to know my policy nor how to tackle the above question. So I normally service all practical requests for help, mostly irrespective of my convenience or inconvenience.

Asking and getting help is a very delicate system in our society. I don't like indirect transactions and was planning to write about this for some time. On thinking about this topic I realized that I seldom ask help from other people and I do so only under dire circumstances. Possibly it is because of my larger than life ego :-) and possibly it is because of my (over)confidence in being able to handle the issue on my own. Ideally I should be able to figure out exactly where I need help and where I can get help easily and where I have to ask for help.

Additionally I needed some help urgently from my friends and relatives to find people (either you yourselves or your friends or relatives) who invest in the Indian Stock Market. You can read more about this here in my post about my need to find people who invest in the stock market. So the timing of this article was perfect. I had to ask for help and I wanted to clarify my policy about asking for help.

Anycase, my policy remains - Ask and you shall (most probably) receive :-)


  1. Ah so you finally got around to doing the Am-Allergic-To-Thank-You deal. I am guessing there is more to this than that. Few months back could have offered my Dad, but he stopped all trading now.

    By the way, was directed to this blog from your orkut profile. Need help - am guessing you mean the other blog? Maybe you should list that too in orkut.

  2. @cris - I had added the blog - to my orkut profile. Both blogs are listed there.
    Yes finally I got around to doing that. I have to clarify more explicitly in another post on indirect communication. Pity your dad stopped trading. We could have had another customer :-)

  3. But often 'Thank You' is a gesture to express someone's gratitude to the help rendered, right? so at times its required, i feel.

  4. @Mav-eric - Yes it is a gesture of gratitude but what I am saying is that you don't need to worry about gratitude and its expression when I do something for you because I do what I do because of my desire to do so and not because of your need to get it done.

  5. yeah u r right and im not opposing ur idea or thoughts, but in my perspective if you are doing something for me then definitely im supposed to express my gratitude towards you.

  6. @Mav-eric - Alright, as you like it :-) although I wouldn't feel bad/good without/with it. So if it makes you feel better you can go ahead and say so.

  7. That totally true. Guys do that. Even my friends

  8. I guess when i thank you its not just to make you feel good, it is also to satisfy my ego that i acknowledged and respected the gesture you showed. Eventhough you dont expect anything in return when you do something for me, an acknowledgement shouldnt hurt i guess.