I am a bunch of things and I’d like to think that one of those things is honest. In fact, sometimes I exhibit a bit too much candor (if there is such a thing). In other words, don’t ask me a question if you don’t want to know my answer. I always give an out. Do you want my honest opinion? If you say yes, then you should be prepared for the answer.
Recently I was thinking about how you can’t ask more of people than they can handle. For me that means don’t ask me to lie to you. I won’t do it. But in general you should keep individual personality traits in mind when you ask someone for help or their opinion or whatnot.
For example, don’t ask your friend who is always late for every event for a ride to the airport if you want to leave at a specific time and you’re going to be crabby that she’s late. She’s always late. You know this! It’s part of her very nature and you love her anyway.
Further, don’t ask Negative Nancy if you should go on the 10 day meditation retreat. She’ll tell you all the reasons it will be a terrible experience. Ask the friend that is always happy and sunny about everything. She’ll put you on track and she might point out some of the reasons this type of challenging experience would be fun.
Or don’t ask your friend who is obviously juggling family dinner and homework for help with your crisis… right now. She is busy and you won’t have her full attention. It’s totally fair to ask her to call you back when she’s got some free time.
In turn, don’t be that friend that lets someone cry about a serious issue while you’re helping with homework and cutting up onions. That’s not fair. It’s ok not to answer your phone when you don’t have time to talk or to tell someone that you’re in the middle of something and that they should call you back later.
This is a friendly reminder heading into the new year. Only ask people to help with things that they are capable achieving. It makes everyone happier.