July 15, 2010

406 words 2 mins read

Which is worse? The faux-conversation or straight request

I am, what most would consider, fairly anti-social.  It isn’t that I hate talking to people, I just hate most people.  That being said, I have a skill set which occasionally makes me desirable: I can fix computers.  There are a great number of people that I know who only contact me when they want something — typically my computer skills.  On the whole, I don’t mind it too much, but sometimes I wish that people would put some small effort into talking to me for non-“I need something” reasons.

The reason I bring this up is that recently I was contacted by one of my friends.  Just by my knowledge of said friend, I knew from word one that they wanted something (or maybe I just have a 6th sense for this stuff now).  We carried on a brief and light “conversation” for a bit, before I finally got the “Can you do X please?” request.  In this case, it wasn’t computer related, but I knew it was coming none the less.

This irritated me a bit.  Not that they asked, but because it was so transparent that they wanted something.  So first I want people to converse with me, then when they do, I kinda wished they didn’t.  This is something of a conundrum to me. It boils down to the fact that people do a very shitty job of concealing their ulterior motives for calling.

I’ve talked with John about this and he too has experienced this same thing. His preference was that people would “cut the BS and just tell [him] what [they] want”. Apparently, the person or persons who call him only when they need something tend to dick around a bit, something that he finds frustrating as he would prefer to find out what they want and as expediently as possible cease contact.

So why bother wasting the time of your local IT friend, and probably irritating him/her?  If you’ve got a tech request, just come straight out and ask them.  If they are anything like me, they are probably willing to help because in most cases the problems aren’t too terrible. If you ask a big favor, consider paying them in one form or another (food, money… etc).  Also, consider calling them once in a while just to say hi, with absolutely no mention of needing tech help, they’ll actually remember it when you next screw up your computer.