How to Hug an American Gladiator and Other Musings On Asks

When I was in my early 20’s, I did some ridiculous things. Some were ridiculously awesome. (Seeing American Gladiator’s Live as a birthday activity - trust me, we were over 21. It was totally awesome!) Others were just plain ridiculous. One of the more ridiculous things I would do fairly frequently was standing on balconies and in doorways with my back to whoever was my Crush Of the Moment (COM). I had this narrative that posing myself in these places and if the COM liked me, the COM would be compelled to walk up and hug me from behind. Like they do in the movies.

No big surprise, disappointment was a normal part of my life.

Yes, I know. Judge away. Fortunately, I have since got a clue and learned to tell my COM, “I think that someone hugs you from behind is the greatest!”

Hugging commenced. I was much happier.

The lesson that took me a while to learn: When people like you, they want to help you. However, they can’t read your mind, so determine your ask. If you want to make something happen, make the ask easy for the other person too.

I’m sharing my slightly embarrassing story because I ran into similar situations multiple times this week. Both when I was asking and when others were asking from me. In each case, I recognized that just a little extra effort to make the ask easy would have gone a long way.

When asking for the favor/introduction, I included language that my recipient could just either copy and paste or tweak and paste. This extra element allowed me to get what I needed relatively quickly. The bonus is my “helper” is excited about the result of the connection.

Sadly, I can’t say the person asking for a favor from me made it easy for me to help them. I’m still waiting for additional information before I can do much to help. The result, I think the opportunity might be missed. A missed opportunity is always a shame.

So what do I want you all to take from this?

  1. Ask. Really, what’s the worst they can say? No? Well ok. At least that’s an answer. Maybe (and more likely) they’ll say yes.
  2. Make it easy. We live in a world where we get hundreds of communications on multiple platforms. If you have a clear ask and an easy next step, your recipient can respond quickly and not have your email/text/DM get lost in the chaos of communication. I’m a big fan of the “why, what, when” structure.
  3. People actually like helping others. Really. Think about the last time you helped someone; didn’t it make you feel great? Yes, me too. So maybe by asking you might make someone feel great. That’s a pretty good reason.

I’ve talked about this before when I wrote about A Better Way to Ask for an Introduction. But I still keep seeing missed opportunities.

So make the extra effort. Ask, make it easy and cool things might happen.

One last thing for all my American huggy friends: This is not an open invitation to wrap your arms around me. Remember, I’m British. We don’t hug. :)

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