March 13th, 2006


Take a risk (requests)

The CfY mentor training on Thursday was focusing on the topic of making requests. Kind of odd that we even needed to have the workshop but that's where our culture has gotten to. To illustrate:

The proper way to make a request is to ask something like this: Will you please do X?.

How often do you receive requests like that? How often do you make requests like that? I.e., where you actually ask someone to do something. My guess is, not very often, despite the fact that a whole host of people are going to respond to this saying no really, all the time. I don't believe you.

See what happens most of the time is stuff like this: So when are you going to ask me out? Hinting around to someone that your computer is broken so hopefully they will volunteer to fix it. Taking no risk really.

Being at the receiving end of this sort of thing is annoying. I can't count the number of times someone tells me we should get together sometime leaving the onus on me to pursue it or not be a good friend or something. My response is usually You have my phone number. And if you don't, here it is: (206) 568-8356. My email if the phone freaks you out is

One of the reasons I love Jason so much is that he makes requests to me. After breakfast, Do you want to walk around Greenlake? Are you going to go to Noc Noc with me this Saturday? Sometimes he can do the non-request kind of thing: You should give a bunch of money to X. But by and large he takes the risk of me rejecting the request.

See, that's the whole thing. We just don't like to run the risk of someone saying no. So we act in ways and phrase things in ways that minimize the chance of someone saying no. Sometimes it's by just not asking and then hoping they'll have E.S.P. But if they don't do it they haven't said no. Or by phrasing it leaves little room to say no without seeming like an ass.

I do it all the time. Sometimes I was aware of what I was doing. Now, I'm probably going to cringe every time. I doubt I'll stop it, cause I am probably more of a wuss than most of you.

And the reason why we talked about this in the mentor training is because one of the things we are supposed to do is make direct requests to the students we are mentoring. Will you go to a tutoring session? Would you attend school? That sort of thing.