Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Save your chips

Last week of the school year! Nico told his brothers today that it was very important for him that they attended his lower school graduation tomorrow. They both said they would go if the could. This reminded me of a request a relative once made from me to attend an event that was important for him. I personally didn't see why he felt the event was important, it wasn't important for me, and it required significant effort for me to attend, but I obliged. Yet right after the event the same relative asked me to attend another "important" event. This time I said no. To put it bluntly, I felt he had "used his chip".

It is OK to ask for multiple things from someone, particularly from friends and family, but be sensitive to the burden you might be placing on others. You might want to say something like: "I would love for you to do A, B and C for me. If you are too busy to do all three, no worries, hopefully you can at least do A". This approach has at least two positive aspects: 1) You let people know what your priorities are, in case they can't do everything, and 2) You acknowledge that you are asking for multiple things and that you are sensitive to their own situation. That second point, in my experience, increases the likelihood that the person will do all three things for you. People react better when they see you are sensitive and care about them...

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