Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Asking For Favors

So as some of you may have heard, the Songwriter has a new solo album, Secular Jukebox, coming out this summer.

Speaking of the record, you can listen and comment here, 
or sample and buy your very own copy from Amazon, iTunes, or CD Baby
It is an amazing album. And every purchase helps keep the kitties in food. 
Don't buy it because I said so. Buy it because my cats are cute
Or, you know, because you love good music. That's nice too.

It won't make us rich, but we try to break even so we can keep making more art. It's like a little cottage industry, really. He writes, plays and records the thing. We both pitch in to do promo work. And then he plays the gigs and hawks the record there, too. Here in the House of DIY, we do it all. And what we can't do, we have to ask for as a favor.

Now, I'm not so awesome at asking for help. This is because I secretly believe I am a missing X-Man whose mutant superpower is being able to do every single solitary thing that crosses my path and do it perfectly or nearly so, without a smidgen of help from anyone ever. I help them, you see, not the other way around.

This belief has not been so beneficial to me, as you might imagine.

So I have had to try and teach myself to ask for favors, and I've come up with some internal guidelines that might be useful to other folks, possibly those afflicted with similar X-Men style delusions.

  1. Be relaxed and cultivate an atmosphere where it is okay for your friend to say no. Better to get a 'no' and stay friends and move on than to get a 'yes' that colors your relationship with resentment and obligation.
  2. When someone does say yes, experience and express sincere gratitude. This is good for both of you.
  3. Never ask somebody to do for free what they do for a living unless its a very good cause, it also benefits them in some way, or they owe you one.

You've probably noticed that these are all about drawing boundaries. There's a reason for that. Boundaries help. I'm not saying boundaries are always awesome and made of ice cream and butterscotch and should never be challenged. But they should always be clear, so if you are going to break them, you have a pretty strong idea why. They make everybody more secure and more comfortable. Good fences, good neighbors, etc. And good friends and neighbors are the kind that might be willing to do you a favor.

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