I know I’ve written about this before, but I’m going to do it again because it keeps coming up. And it’s possible that I’m just a curmudgeon (likely, even), but it’s also possible that our society has, by and large, just forgotten what it means to behave appropriately and professionally when requesting help. Either way, we’re going to visit this particular goat rodeo one more time.
Here’s the thing about asking someone for their time and/or wisdom: They’re doing you a favor. It is best to approach any request with that pertinent little factoid in mind.
Do you run up to strangers you’ve never met before and ask them to do things for you? I don’t. I would find it presumptuous unless I was experiencing an emergency and the request was for the kind of help that starts with “Please call 911.” The exception to this rule, of course, is that sometimes you run across someone virtually who you think may be able to offer you something no one else can, and then—although you don’t know each other—you may end up reaching out via email or phone to make a specific request or establish a connection… but at least when I do that, I go to great pains to 1) introduce myself, 2) make it clear why I wish to establish a connection, 3) offer a succinct explanation of what I’m seeking, and 4) thank the other person profusely for their time.
To me, this is just common sense. But… not everyone sees it that way.
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