Several days ago, I received an e-mail from someone. I cannot identify this person because it goes against my personal blogging rules, but I have to rant about the e-mail a little bit. Actually, just the beginning of it.
The e-mail started with, “I hate to do this to you, but…”
Here’s a clue:
If you “hate to do this” to me, DON’T DO IT.
First of all, when I read or hear that phrase, my stomach locks up, my blood starts to boil, and my brain starts to madly wander, considering all of the horrible things that you’re getting ready to say to me.
Second of all, in all cases that I can think of, when someone “hates to do this” to somebody, the next thing that comes out of that person’s mouth is a request for something that will totally benefit them, but inconvenience the person they are talking to in a major way.
To prove my point, how many times have you heard these scenarios:
“I hate to do this to you, but would you mind helping me spend this $5000?”
“I hate to do this to you, but I have a free month of maid service and don’t need it; would you take it off my hands?”
“I hate to do this to you, but I am really looking for something to keep me busy. Can I make dinner for your family every night this week?”
“I hate to do this to you, but I have a closet full of brand-new clothing that’s in your size. Do you want it?”
ZERO times, right? Right.
If you need a favor from me, I’m down with that. Just don’t start out the request by saying how much you hate to say it/do it/ask it. There’s a better way that will result in much less hostile feelings on the other end: “I have a favor to ask. Would you *blah blah blah*? I would really, really appreciate your time and/or effort.”
I may still not be totally thrilled that you’re asking, but at least I will appreciate that you thought about my feelings first and I probably won’t want to rip your head off. (Probably.)