“It never hurts to ask.”
We often hear that said.
Recently someone asked me for a favor. The request came in an impersonal form email.
I had some business dealings with this person many years ago. Since then, I had heard from them only once when they asked another favor.
I was being asked to promote something on my social media network. The request did not offer an excerpt, a preview, a sample, or any compelling reason why I should offer my assistance and ping the people on my email list.
I thought, “Why should I help?”
The implied assumption that I owed this individual something, or that I should help for no reason other than they asked seemed a bit off-putting.
Have I helped an unfamiliar person before? Yes, there have been circumstances where I was glad to do so.
But “do this for me because our paths crossed” is not a good reason.
Sometimes it does hurt to ask.
Sometimes it comes across as inappropriate or entitled.
Asking someone for a favor when you have no relationship with him or her is a bad idea.
Making a request of somebody simply because they have the means to help but no reason to help is also a bad idea.
Most people like to help. Few people like to waste their time or energy. Nobody likes to feel someone has taken advantage of them.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a favor or assistance. Just make sure you ask the right person for the right reason in the right way. Otherwise, you might damage your reputation and your relationships.