1
   

Can you do me a favor?

 
 
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 07:38 pm
Maybe "favors" is only a complicated issue for me. That's what I'm trying to find out, anyway.

How do you feel about people doing you favors? Or, how do you feel about doing favors for other people?

For the most part I have a really hard time accepting favors and I would never even dream of asking anyone for a favor.

Today I accepted a favor.

A neighbor knew I was having a problem with my electricity (she only knew that we were having a problem because she stopped by the other night when Mr. B was trying to fix it) and her husband is an electrician (and I knew this but I would have never asked for a favor) so she dragged him down here today to see if he could help.

And he DID help in a major way. It probably would have cost me several hundred dollars to have someone come out to the house to diagnose the problem. I was fully prepared to pay someone to come out and fix it.

Maybe it is her complete lack of guile (in all things) that led me to accept her favor.

But it made me really think about the way I think about favors.

How do you react when someone offers you a favor or when someone asks you for a favor?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,594 • Replies: 18
No top replies

 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 07:54 pm
Depends on the relationship.


When being asked, there are friends for whom I say yes, before I even know what the favour is.

With others, I inspect carefully.


I probably DO favours more readily than I receive them.

Again, with friends, there are many with whom there is an ongoing favour exchange...nobody checks the bank levels, it all just happens fluidly.

In other situations, I would check any strings very carefully, or simply politely refuse.

This could be for reasons as diverse as knowing that this person wrecks anything they touch (eg in handyperson jobs) or that another is so perfectionist that they will drive me nuts, or that there will be emotional recompense expected that I will not pay, or that I will be expected to do a whole lot in exchange that I do not want to do.


And, also, I do not like putting people out and such.

This likely means that people don't do a whole lot of stuff for me that they would really like to do!

But, so it goes.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 08:32 pm
I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one aboard this particular favors boat!

I think my problem is I'm not really good at "friends". I know that sounds weird and.... well... it is kind of weird... because I'm not unfriendly but friends are so time consuming. I'm a loner/hermit type of girl.

People ask me for favors all the time; photos mostly. I'm usually happy to do it because I like taking portraits. I guess it's the people who expect it that get my "no".

I guess I just don't like to feel that I have a debt. This woman is my friend, I suppose, but I don't know her husband at all. Still, he was so gracious about helping that it was really nice. Maybe he was so gracious because he knew it would make her happy.

I don't know. It just makes me question my arm's length approach to life.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 08:42 pm
I'm the same with photos; I have an Epson printer that will produce 13X19 prints without borders. I love it, and it's also a favorite hobby for me.

I used to travel with a retired school teacher I used to send pictures to, and he used to say "charge me." I'd answer, buy me a drink sometime. He never did, but that's okay.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 08:57 pm
boomerang wrote:
I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one aboard this particular favors boat!

I think my problem is I'm not really good at "friends". I know that sounds weird and.... well... it is kind of weird... because I'm not unfriendly but friends are so time consuming. I'm a loner/hermit type of girl.

People ask me for favors all the time; photos mostly. I'm usually happy to do it because I like taking portraits. I guess it's the people who expect it that get my "no".

I guess I just don't like to feel that I have a debt. This woman is my friend, I suppose, but I don't know her husband at all. Still, he was so gracious about helping that it was really nice. Maybe he was so gracious because he knew it would make her happy.

I don't know. It just makes me question my arm's length approach to life.


That's interesting.


I CAN be arms length....but I really like friendships and the whole embraced by a network thing.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 08:58 pm
as dlowan says, it depends.

If it's a close friend, it doesn't feel like a favor, we just do what needs to be done for each other, and no one keeps score.

On the other extreme, some people ask for you to do them a favor, and in reality they're just saying "do this for me"

somewhere in between, is the networking. Doing favors and accepting them let's everyone know where others areas of expertise lies. That's how we got quite a bit of our house remodel done, through trading favors back and forth. In situations like that, the benefits continue long after the initial favor, since your name will probably be passed along as someone who's good to deal with.

There's been times when I've done something for someone and they tell me they can't do anything back for me that I need....I just tell them to do something nice for someone else sometime, and consider that a payback.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 09:11 pm
I've had a variety of friends over a lot ot years, many of them I still think of as friends not in immediate touch. And batches of friendly acquaintances. Friends have done serious time helping each other, them to me, me to them, no ulterior motive but needing to be there. I tend to remember people helping me, not me them, but it goes both ways.

Alternately, some people are users who'll bleed you dry. Easy to spot, tend to be solipsistic types, needy as they are. But people helping don't have to be official friends - my neighbors let me know I can knock on their door any time. Would I were so blythe, as I'm a door-not-answerer (long story).

The real question to me is, would I help a 'user', if the need was real?



I'll add that I'm not very interested in people being 'good' because it will gain grace. Been there on both sides. I'm more interested in natural empathy.

I've also been impressed with what I see as (at least some) techie views, that sharing is good for all. I think this is true, though not in a rule-like way.
0 Replies
 
ginguh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 09:12 pm
boomerang, I can totally relate to the "friends" part. I'm also a loner/hermit type of person.
It is very hard for me to accept favors. But I've come to realize that it's because I don't want to accept the fact that I'm not self-sufficient. It's an ego thing. I don't want to ask for help. That's a bad quality, and I'm glad in a way that my friends have started forcing me to accept their favors. haha
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 09:14 pm
The trick is to find friends with hermit tendencies....
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 09:24 pm
I don't hesitate to ask for a favor if I need help with something. I don't hesitate to help a friend who needs a favor.

With one exception. I won't edit something for someone as a favor. I've done it one too many times. I learned that people who are unaccustomed to being "edited" will argue over every freakin' change. Despite the fact that they've come back later to say I was right, it ain't worth the aggravation. So that's where I draw the line.

Otherwise, you need help? Glad to lend a hand. I need help? Hope you feel the same way.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 07:44 am
Like dlowan, I too have a much easier time giving help than accepting it. Or more specifically, asking for it.

A number of years ago Mr B was involved in a serious car accident. It amazed me how many people went out of their way to do things for us. Some told me to let them know what they could do to help, which I would find very difficult to do, but many others simply did things they knew needed to be done without being asked -- I was most appreciative.

My BIL was terminally ill last winter and my sister tells of the folks who showed up at her house (without being asked) to mow the lawn, take the recycling to the center, bring food, sit with him so she could run some personal errands or take a nap, etc.

From these two experiences I've stopped saying, "Let me know what I can do to help." and try to do things that I know need to be done.

Boomer's neighbor sounds similar -- She could have said, "let me know if you want me to ask George" but instead she brought George over. Boomer probably wouldn't have ever asked, but is appreciative of the effort expended.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 08:11 am
Let me ask you this Boomer.

Next time you need an electrician who will you call?

If a friend of yours mentioned he/she needed an electrician... who would you suggest?

Doing a favour is self promotion.

Now comes the hard bit. Do you immediatly return the favour by doing something you know you do well and pressing it on your neighbour? ie Bake a cake/ take a photo of their house at sunset. Do you bide your time and wait for an opportunity to repay with something they really need/want? or do you just accept the favour and get on with your life?

The answer is probably tied up in how well you know the favourer.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 08:12 am
That's a really good point, JPB.

Some friends of ours recently had a baby. When sozlet was born, I just wanted to hole up with her for the first few weeks. My hair was a mess, the house was a mess, I was exhausted, I wanted to sleep when she slept, I was sore -- I really didn't want visitors. The husbands work together, and I sent a big gift bag (stuff for the baby, stuff for the older sibling, stuff for the parents) with E.G. to give to the new dad and bring back home. (The new dad was working again pretty quickly.) Before during, and after the birth we kept saying variations of "let us know if there's any way we can help," and waited for cues. We did watch the older sibling when the parents-to-be had to go do something, but didn't get any requests once the baby was born.

The husband is pretty bald -- not in terms of hair, in terms of saying what he thinks -- and after a few weeks he said to E.G., "Where have you been? The ________s [other friends] were here and cooked for us, and helped finish the baby's room, and..." We were like, sorry!!! We thought we were being respectful!

They're European, too, which might add another wrinkle to it. But they almost never ASK, they just expect us to know.

That whole thing makes me nervous, I don't have enough of a grasp of it. I guess, in general, I would show up/ offer and then try hard to look for cues about whether they really want me to do it or not. For example, I mentioned a while ago the neighbor who "gardened" for me (cutting back my plants, all kinds of stuff) without asking when I was out of town, and I was furious.

In general I totally agree with what others have said, I'm far more likely to bestow a favor than to ask for one. This comes up a lot with sozlet. She'll go do something at a neighbor's house (have pizza, play there for a while, whatever) and I'll feel weird about it and then I'll think, if the neighbor kid did that here, I'd so be fine with it, right?

I'm most comfortable with say what you mean and mean what you say kinds of relationships, not all of the false demurrals and stuff that you have to try to parse.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 08:54 am
What are favors, but gifts. Giving gifts can be a way of mitigating suffering; it is a mitzvah, a means of gaining merit. Gifts that are given to strangers, or our enemies, are even more beneficial than those we bestow on our loved ones. How can one not respond to the difficulties we see others struggling with? The world around us is overflowing with suffering, so we have to prioritize our giving. No one has enough that they can cure the world's suffering, but time and words of encouragement are cheap. Random acts of kindness, especially if anonymous, are repaid a thousand fold. Those unselfish acts encourage the recipient to view the world in a better light, and they in turn may well do their own random acts of good and kindness.

Accepting gifts or favors is a means of helping another to realize the joy of giving, of making a small contribution to the effort of reducing suffering. Accept gifts and favors, as much for the other person's good as your own. None of us is beyond the need for help, support and assistance from time to time. In the more traditional Buddhist communities, monks only eat that which is given into their begging bowl ... without their asking. The community learns charity and kindness, and the monks eat; everyone benefits from the act of giving.

Asking for, and giving when favors are asked for, isn't quite as easy.Asking for favors can be like asking for a gift. "Uncle, won't you send me $100 so I can buy a new gadget", isn't likely to do anyone any good. On the other hand, to stubbornly hide one's need for assistance, is also selfish behavior. "Uncle, I'm far from home and am needed there; could you send me $100 for a bus ticket", might prompt a check for $150.

Sailors have a saying, "one hand for the ship, and one hand for yourself". Without working to save the ship, all might be lost. Without considering your own safety, you might be lost into the wide ocean.
0 Replies
 
flushd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 10:07 am
I asked for a favor yesterday. I tend to analyze to death whether I should ask or not. I try only to ask when I actually need something very specific or am in a bind.
I figure if I don't ask often I am more likely to be taken seriously; that's because that is how I tend to view favors when asked for by others.
Most of the time there is no real need to ask or offer: just do. Usually it's when still getting to know where you stand with someone or first building a friendship/relationship of some kind.
Sometimes it's for things that you have kept to yourself and finally realize you need some support or it won't get done.
But it's starting to get ok with me to ask sometimes for those things inbetween....just not too often. Smile

Some people ask for every little thing, and to that I say no without any guilt.
I'm not keen on being used, nor trying to decipher what it really is the person is asking for.

It's interesting noticing how favors have worked in my family. My brother, when he asks for favors, he isn't really asking for the favor - he's usually looking for validation.
My mother is the same.
Otherwise, they don't ask at all - yet they really could for some things and it would be ok. Just to let me/others know what it is that could make life easier. Some hints or info.
Then maybe they wouldn't need to feel validated that we will be there! lol.

Perhaps because of that I am leery of jumping when someone asks for something. At work, it even took a bit of an anti-management/leave me to my own attitude. Do not like being managed.
I can be prone to the same sort of service-as-validation thing. Either with me working to show someone I care and wanting that to be recognized, or the other way around - wanting to see that I am cared about through freely given service.

Living and learning about being more specific and upfront when I could use a hand, before it becomes overwelming. And it's awesome. I like it.

It's helping when it comes to other areas too. Like work, making a living. Things are becoming a lot less personal, I don't feel so troubled when things don't work out or I make mistakes.
It's becoming easier to go for what I want without guilt, like my work is going further and getting richer. Less time wasted trying to do things perfectly.

I am pretty service orientated as a person, and it's probably no surprise that most of my work has been in the not-for-profit sector.

Being used pretty damn badly by an old friend has turned out to be a chance to look at a lot of these things in a different way. The surprise was that it is a sort of unlucky-lucky break. It could have been much worse, much further down the line.

I agree with you Boom. Favors can be quite nice. The 'flow' can feel so nice when it works.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 10:17 am
What interesting perspective on favors! Thank you all for your replies.

Welcome to A2K, ginguh! We hermits need to stick together.

.... uhhhh.... maybe not so much after all. Kind of defeats the purpose and all.

For me, it really isn't about self-sufficiency. I know what I'm not good at -- most things.

And you're right, Asherman, it really is a gift when someone does a favor. I've never really thought of it that way. I don't feel indebted when someone gives me a git, so why when they do me a favor? I'll have to think on that one for a bit.

I'm big on repaying favors, dadpad. It's essential. And I'm sure I will when and if the opportunity arises. One reason that I like this girl is her lack of guile, as I mentioned earlier. She just is and does without a lot of calculation. I know she isn't running a scorecard in her head.

I've done some things for her which I didn't consider signifigant but maybe she thought they were important. And maybe they were. Maybe she tought this wasn't signifigant and I think it is.

I am so completely socially clueless.

The "don't ask, just do" thing..... that's a very important point. I'm going to chew on that for a bit.

Again, thank you, all for your replies.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 11:04 am
Mitzvah, self promotion, networking, gift....thanks dadpad and asherman, I believe your thinking is in line with mine, more or less.

For those who are saying they are more apt to do a favor than receive one...well, what if the other person felt the same way? If that were the case no one would ever do anything nice for anyone.

When you graciously accept a favor from someone, you ARE doing them a favor in return....you're letting them feel the good feeling of doing something nice for someone else.

Like dadpad says, a favor doesn't have to be returned immediately, it's returned when they need help.

That's what it's all about.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 11:33 am
I'm sure I'm not alone about "favors" asked for, received or given. I don't ask for favors often, probably about two or three times in my whole life. When somebody does anything for me without my asking, I always feel obligated in some way. Not many have asked me for favors except my wife, but that's to be expected and acknowledged; I don't feel they are really "favors."
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 May, 2007 12:25 pm
Chai wrote:
For those who are saying they are more apt to do a favor than receive one...well, what if the other person felt the same way? If that were the case no one would ever do anything nice for anyone.


This is where the idea of random acts of kindness comes in. I like to show our teen groups the movie Pay it Forward. It's about doing something for others simply because you can without expecting anything in return. The only obligation might be to do the same for someone else at some point in the future. On a large scale it becomes everyone doing something nice rather than no one ever doing anything nice.

For me the difference in receiving favors vs giving them is in asking for them. I most certainly view favors as gifts and was very appreciative of the gifts (time, childcare, food) we received when Mr B was in the hospital. I would certainly respond to a request for a favor as I am able, but it's very difficult for me to ask for one.
0 Replies
 
 

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Can you do me a favor?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 06/21/2021 at 03:43:55