Wednesday, 28 January 2009

It's a date

At work I've been meeting with magazines that "want to get involved" with my client. And you know how it goes with friends; "we must get together for coffee sometime". The problem with both of these situations is that they're indefinite. And this usually means that nothing will happen.

Consider the alternatives:

"We want your client to advertise in our next issue" - yes or no

"Have you got two handsets for our new competition prize" - yes or no

"Are you free for coffee at 3pm on Sunday" - yes or no

My mom has this great example of how we avoid offending people (asking for what you want can be perceived - by yourself - as offensive), even at the risk of our own safety.

Picture yourself waiting for an elevator. The doors open and there's an unsavoury character in the lift. All your alarms go off and little hairs stand up on your arms. You know that getting into the lift is a b.a.d. idea; but you get in anyway because your action of not walking could send a message to this guy that you find him offensive and dirty and smelly. It also says that you are judgemental. So, you get in, against your better judgement.

You wouldn't be worried about offending him if you were lying on the floor of the lift with three stab wounds to your abdomen.

I love hooking up with friends for coffee or lunch or dinner. I do little enough of this. Left to my own devices, I'll spend my weekends chasing deadlines, writing articles, planning races... But when asked, "Are you free on Saturday for brunch at 10?", 99.9% of the time I'll answer yes.

I chatted to a friend last night who I haven't seen in person for about... 6-months. That's half a year! We've been wanting to hook up to shoot photos together for ages (he's a fabulous photographer and I'll learn a lot from him). So he says, "We should get together one weekend". I hesitated for a moment and then ran for my computer to check my diary. I knew that if I didn't make a concrete decision another 6-months would slip past. The result is that the weekend after this we'll go play photo-photo for an afternoon and then have dinner with his wife when we get back. It's going to be such a great day.

And the day before this I'm playing with my orienteering friend. Again this is a situation where we've been wanting to do breakfast for months and months and months. We set a fixed date last week.

I had a really neat meeting today with a chap from a big, big company. I've got stuff from my client that we want to donate to some kind of initiative that gives women a helping hand to create their own income streams in rural areas. I told him what I had; I asked what he had and then we selected the best option. 15-minutes later our meeting was successfully completed.

If you want to find a team mate; if you want a new headlamp for your birthday; if you want to see a friend, who always seems busy and occupied, for tea, just ask. People respond more favourably to specific requests.

I'm good at accepting fixtures but not that good at setting them. A new habit to work on for February.

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