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cnvh
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:23 PM
I think I may be a horrible human being...

DH and I live in an old working-class neighborhood, with a mix of single-family homes and semi-detached half-houses. Our house is on a big lot, about an acre; across the street is a semi-detached house, half of which is owned by our neighbor, whom I'll call Sarah.

Sarah is a middle-school teacher, probably late 40's/early 50's; she lives alone (except for her cat), and she's an avid gardener. She's quiet and keeps to herself, although she's friendly and always waves when she drives past our house. We lived here for 8 years before I even knew her name; she's just the lady who lives across the street. We don't interact with her at all, other than to wave hello.

Last summer, she stopped by and asked if I would mind watering her outdoor potted plants (she has a TON), and feeding her cat and cleaning his litterpan for a few weeks, as she was going on a church-sponsored relief trip to Louisiana after some kind of a flood or something. I said sure, no problem... Although I thought it was a little weird that she was handing over her house keys to someone (me) whom she barely knew, but hey, whatever.

She came back about 3 weeks later, and she brought us a little bag of goodies from Louisiana (Cajun rice mix, hot sauce, etc.) as a thank-you. That was nice of her, and appreciated.

Shortly after Christmas, Sarah called me to ask if I could shovel her sidewalk if it happens to snow during the next month, since she was having knee surgery and would be staying at a friend's house to recuperate. I said sure, no problem... I don't terribly mind shoveling snow, and we don't usually get tons of it around here anyway, usually only a couple inches here and there. Plus, since she wouldn't actually BE at home, I didn't have to worry about getting to it until after I get off work. (I work two jobs, one F/T weekdays and one P/T 2 nights per week.)

Since Sarah lives in a half-house, her front sidewalk along the main street isn't long, only maybe 15' or so. But her parking space is an on-street spot at the end of her long, narrow backyard on the alley between our properties, and she has a winding brick walkway from her parking spot to her house. Not knowing if she'd be stopping by during her layup, I kept her parking space and long backyard walkway shoveled as well. Between the front walk, the backyard walkway, her parking space, and her steps, it was at least half an hour of shoveling every time it snowed.

Well, lo and behold, it's been a crazy-snowy January around these parts. I was over at her house to shovel at least 4 times, one of which was a wet, heavy 6" snowfall that was a big P.I.T.A. Unfortunately, for that last one, the township plowed in her parking space pretty good, and by the time I got off work, there was at least 3' of solid-frozen packed snow where she usually parks her car; there was no way I was going to be able to tackle that by hand.

So this weekend, I called Sarah to tell her she was probably going to have to find someone with a snowplow to clear out her parking space, since it was the end of the month she said she would be away from home. She said not to worry about it, since she was coming home the next day but was planning to park on the street in front of her house, closer to her front door, because her knee was still giving her some trouble and she didn't want to walk up her long back walkway. I offered to let her park in OUR parking area, which is off-street and across the alley from where she normally parks; she said she might, in a few weeks if her knee improves and if her spot is still plowed in.

So Sarah returned home on Sunday. I kept thinking we might find a note with some cash or a basket of goodies on our porch as a thank-you for doing all of her shoveling for a month, but nothing appeared. (*shrugs*)

Today, Sarah called me and left a message on my voicemail. "Hi, this is your neighbor Sarah. I was wondering if you would be able to shovel my snow for another month, because my knee is still pretty unstable. And I have to use a different car for at least a month because I can't work the clutch with my knee, so I was hoping you could clear off my car and shovel it out also. Let me know if you can help."

:confused:

Conveniently enough, we're forecasted to have our first blizzard of the season later this week; the news channels are calling for anywhere from 5" with ice, to upwards of 18" of snow. And rumor has it that there's another storm in the pipeline for Sunday, too. There's still tons of snow on the ground from the previous storms; we're at the point now where there aren't many places left to PUT it. Plus, now that she's home with a car, and parking on the STREET, I can only imagine how crazy it's going to be, trying to shovel her plowed-in car out of a snowbank. :no:

I leave for work at 7am, and get home after 5pm... On my P/T job days, I don't get home until close to 9pm. When it DOES snow, DH and I have at least half an hour of OUR OWN work to clean off our own cars in the morning... And we have off-street parking, which is infinitely easier than street parking when the plows have plowed 5x as much snow on top of and around your car. :eek:

So.................... I wasn't feeling terribly put-upon before, but I AM NOW. :( She's not only asking us to continue shoveling all of her snow for another month (and around here, February is our snowiest month anyway; THIS year is even worse than usual), but also to clear off and shovel out her car in the mornings too. And as of yet, she hasn't offered ANY sort of gratitude beyond saying thank you, ONCE. (As in, "thank you for last month, can you do it for another month?")

Am I a craptastic neighbor???? I mean, geez..... I do occasionally ask one of our other neighbors to check on our 3 chickens when we go away for long weekends-- I leave the feeder and waterer filled up, all he has to do is to gather the eggs (which we tell him to keep), and we pay him with a case of beer when we get home. We have another neighbor whom we've asked to mow our lawn when we go away for a week; we pay him $40 to do it one time, it takes him less than 2 hours. I would never DREAM of expecting my neighbors to do us any kind of a favor without at least some fresh-baked cookies in return...

Am I out of my mind to feel put out by Sarah expecting us to shovel all her snow for 2 months, AND keep her car cleared off and shoveled out for a month, all for a "thanks"?!?!?!

She's a nice neighbor... I really do recognize the value of being neighborly, and I'm having a very hard time telling her "no." But I am now officially irked. :mad:

Beentheredonethat
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:28 PM
That's too much. I have two pain in the ass dogs and cats that need to be looked after when we go on vacation. I make sure I pay my neighbor, who really need to take no more than 10 minutes a day to check them all, too much. I would never want to feel like I'm taking advantage.

Give her the number of someone she can pay to do it.

We have another neighbor who is like the neighborhood watch, because he can see everything from his windows, "works" from home, and his wife died. He tried to latch onto me, but it got annoying. He has latched on to SO, and comes by ALL of the time to talk to him and give him stupid things. SO works at night and he wanted him to go to free day at a museum the night after working, the day we were leaving on a roadtrip. Pain in the ass neighbor waited until SO got home at 8 am, came an knocked on the door, and made SO go with him (with no sleep.) I was so pissed. He steered clear of me after that, but still tries to get SO to go 4 hours north with him and "do work on the house" for $10 an hour because he is too cheap to pay people to do it. I forbid it. (Saved SO from saying no.)

RMJacobs
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:33 PM
I think that neighbor is over the top.

I had a situation in which my husband was doing a lot of favors for some neighbors. Fine, that's his decision--neighbor travels a lot, has horses at home, and I personally think they should board them. But it's not my call, either what the neighbor does or what my husband does for them.

But--I got a call as they were going through security at the airport, asking if I could turn their horses out every day for a week. My husband was away because his dad had just died; I work more than full time, have a disability, and had my own horses to take care of. And it was winter, and had just snowed--I could not navigate back to where her horses were. I was having a hard enough time with my own horses. So I said "sorry, but I just can't."

We got a cold shoulder for a while, but then I think these folks realized that they were asking too much, and now we're back to my husband doing the occasional favor for them, and we socialize occasionally.

Rebecca

texan
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:35 PM
I would just tell her that due to the amount of snow they are forecasting, you
are not physically able to do it. Just say its way to much to do by hand and
she would be better off finding someone with a snow blower.

high hat
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:37 PM
Too much. Tell her you hurt your back and won't be able to help. I can not even imagine asking someone I do not know to do that. Heck, I wouldn't even impose on a good friend in that way. I'd be pulling out my checkbook and paying someone to do the work.

cnvh
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:38 PM
I told her I would see what I could do, IF we have off work for Thursday, but I can't help her in the mornings before work-- there just isn't enough time, not unless I want to get up an extra hour early do it (and I am SOOO not a morning person!). I did give her the number of one of our other (retired) neighbors who shovels out his apartment complex whenever it snows... But I'm 99% sure that guy gets a cut off his rent to take care of snow and stuff, so he will probably expect to be paid.

And aren't there neighborhood kids who shovel snow for cash anymore?!?! I'm pushing 40 years old myself, and working two jobs; DH and I have our hands full dealing with our own snow removal. I KNOW there are kids around here; I see them walking to school all the time.

Normally I am quite comfortable with the "'no' is a complete sentence" stance, but a big part of me feels bad for not helping out the woman; she lives alone and just had surgery. But dang, you can at least bake me some brownies or buy me a bottle of wine or something...

MistyBlue
Feb. 11, 2014, 11:46 PM
Watering plants is worth a plate of brownies.

Waking up an hour earlier every day to hand shovel out feet of wet heavy icy-hard plowed snow? That's worth jewelry. Or tack!

You're not being a bad neighbor, your neighbor is. She's not asking for neighborly help, she's imposing on you to do things she doesn't want to pay for. Shoveling out for free is not something you ask anyone you aren't quite close to or related to.

Just say, "I'm sorry, I won't be able to this time."

cnvh
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:03 AM
Waking up an hour earlier every day to hand shovel out feet of wet heavy icy-hard plowed snow? That's worth jewelry. Or tack!



Ooo, great idea! I just bought a used horse trailer which is sitting in my driveway; maybe I ought to start bartering for a new tire or two, lol...

analise
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:07 AM
I wouldn't have even said I could see what I can do. Most people (especially someone you've already established a routine of doing things for) will hear that as, "I'll work it into my schedule don't worry about it" and then when you don't, they'll be upset.

Just call her back and apologize and say you're not able to do it.

I'm not against doing nice things for neighbors, but that's someone pushing things a bit too far. (And I'm a firm believer in, in many cases, that it "can't hurt to ask" when I want something reasonable. But if I want someone to do something for me, I also offer something in return. Like when the BO at my barn let me park my truck and trailer in the pasture for like a month and fed my horse in the trailer for me so I could re-trailer-train him. I made them up a gift bag because really...they didn't have to do that for me,they could've told me to hire a trainer. When I asked a friend to look after my cat for me for a few days while I was out of town, I gave her a tack store gift card [she's also horsey] even though she'd said I didn't need to give her anything in return. That's just the polite thing to do.)

4Martini
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:09 AM
I would say snowblower worthy.

We watch neighbors houses, and do really small tasks. Snow removal doesn't 'to fall in that category. My city does have a volunteer corps to help the elderly with snow removal.

cnvh
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:15 AM
We have a snowblower, but I'm not sure a snowblower is a match for that concrete-like stuff that's left behind after the plow trucks come by; I'm pretty sure her car is going to have to be cleared by hand. And her back walkway (which I sure as heck don't intend to do, if she's not parking out back!) is too narrow and windy for our snowblower... So 90% of her snow has to be removed by hand.

Long Spot
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:03 AM
It's time for her to hire a service. You've done plenty.

I wouldn't tell her you've hurt yourself, since she might see you out there doing your own chores. But you can tell her that it is just too much given your own responsibilities. Which is true. You've been a good neighbor. But enough is enough.

kimkatsooo
Feb. 12, 2014, 06:37 AM
No! Just no! She is using you and will start asking for more and more and more as she already is!

"I am sorry but that is just too much for me. Here is the number of someone who can/will do it for $?? price."

We had to do that for someone who wanted us to keep her dog while she went out of town. We did it one time and she gave us a Groupon for dinner at a place we do not like but hey it was the thought?? The next time she just called on her way over! "Hey I am bring doggy with me to stay at your house"! We kept the gate closed and told her that we were not going to watch her dog this time or any time in the future but here are the numbers of a kennel close by that had a spot!

She has tried to ask again but I just say nope will not do it. Notice I did not say can't but will not. She has not called in a while so it must be working

Good luck!

Kim

halo
Feb. 12, 2014, 06:47 AM
Give people an inch, they take a mile. She is clearly taking advantage of your good nature. Knowing now what kind of person she is, you are going to have to nip this in the bud. Its one thing to ask someone for a favor, but she's now of the mindset that its expected. You have to tell her, Im sorry, but I just can't do that anymore.

independentlyawesome
Feb. 12, 2014, 07:20 AM
"I wish that I could help you out, but unfortunately I'm very busy with work this winter and I cannot continue to take care of your house as well as your own."

There are plenty of snow removal services around to do what she's asking. I understand wanting to be a good neighbor, but this goes way beyond reasonable.

Coanteen
Feb. 12, 2014, 07:41 AM
It's time for her to hire a service. You've done plenty.


Agreed. Watering plants and looking after low-need pets for a bit is ok. The occasional helping out with shoveling is ok, especially if it's either mutual or an exchange of different favors (my parents watched neighbors' pets when neighbors were on vacay, neighbors snow-blowed their driveway if the snow was bad, for ex).

"Shovel my snow for the next 2 months" = paying for a service. That is not a favor.

Canaqua
Feb. 12, 2014, 08:35 AM
That's way too much for her to ask of you. Two months of shovelling? She needs to hire someone to do that.

DH and I had been clearing snow for a neighbor, for the last several years, at our old house. Neighbor lives alone with young son and has COPD (is on oxygen) and has had several heart attacks. Neighbor never even asked us for help, but when his adult son moved out (who had been doing the work), we just started doing it. The neighbor thanked us profusely every time and gets DH big jars of his favorite nut mix and me big bottles of wine. Plus, we are friends, not just neighbors and he does favors for us, like watching our kid in a pinch and keeping an eye on our house when we aren't around (despite infirmities, he is a scary biker dude, with a gun, a big old Harley, and a pit bull, a pretty good deterrent!)

We moved two miles away recently and bought a plow for our new, very long driveway. DH still drives over and plows former neighbor's drive, we leave the shoveling part to another neighbor, who picked that up when we moved.

We never minded that work because 1) the guy never asked or expected it 2) are friends and have an ongoing social relationship 3) he thanked us and did favors in return. I would help a near stranger neighbor a time or two, in an emergency, but I would become resentful if they started expecting it, with nothing in return, like your neighbor seems to be.

suz
Feb. 12, 2014, 08:40 AM
you are a wonderful neighbor.
she is not.

halo
Feb. 12, 2014, 08:41 AM
Im in a similar situation. My neighbor likes to come over and mow and pick up my road frontage; just does it when he does his, he has a big tractor, and he enjoys it. I have never one time asked him to do it. Ever. When I see him out there I go out and talk with him for a bit, and thank him for doing it. But I dont ask him. In fact I never would ask him, its something Im perfectly capable of. I do keep an eye on his place when he goes back north, but I would whether he did that or not, since Im basically nosey.

french fry
Feb. 12, 2014, 08:44 AM
"I'm sorry to hear about your knee. I am not able to shovel snow for you."

You don't owe her an explanation. She's imposing on you and she knows it. Has she ever watered your plants, fed your chickens, shoveled your snow? No? Oh, that's right, she's a user! :yes:

Don't apologize and don't give her any excuses because she'll just argue her way out of them. A polite but firm no is all it takes.

cnvh
Feb. 12, 2014, 08:54 AM
I called my mom last night to vent about it, and the first thing she said was, "what has she ever done for you?" Well to be honest, I've never ASKED her for anything... I think she did leave us a bag of peaches on our front porch once (she has a peach tree in her yard), but other than that, nothing. But I've never called in any favors from her-- like I said, I barely know her!

So of course now I've been thinking of what I could possibly request of her at a later date to even it out, lol...

Windsor1
Feb. 12, 2014, 09:01 AM
Be a pal. Go ahead and shovel her snow for another month. Pile it all right in front of her front door. "YOU'RE WELCOME!" :D

LauraKY
Feb. 12, 2014, 09:04 AM
People only take advantage of you if you let them. Find her the names and numbers for a few people who will take on the shoveling as a job.

No is a complete sentence.

CVPeg
Feb. 12, 2014, 09:24 AM
Agree - it's a kind gesture if it's only once in awhile. And yes, this winter is a tougher one for most. But the lack of a returned gesture, and then expectation for continued favor is unreasonable on her part.

katarine
Feb. 12, 2014, 09:24 AM
Don't worry about achieving 'balance' and getting things square, you'll never feel right. Just tell her ASAP that you won't be able to help out with that after ___ date so she can know it's on her from there on out.

analise
Feb. 12, 2014, 11:11 AM
So of course now I've been thinking of what I could possibly request of her at a later date to even it out, lol...

Don't do that. A) She might tell YOU no and then there's no balance and you'll feel even more taken advantage of. Just tell her you can't do it. No explanations or excuses, just no, sorry. Like several people have said, no is a complete sentence.

trubandloki
Feb. 12, 2014, 11:18 AM
Don't do that. A) She might tell YOU no and then there's no balance and you'll feel even more taken advantage of. Just tell her you can't do it. No explanations or excuses, just no, sorry. Like several people have said, no is a complete sentence.
Yes to this!

I totally get that she is taking advantage of your being a nice neighbor. To me that does not mean you start a tally sheet and figure out how to get even.


If you do not want to just say you are unable to do it with a simple no then find the number of a company that is able to do it and include that in your response.

Chester's Mom
Feb. 12, 2014, 11:43 AM
I called my mom last night to vent about it, and the first thing she said was, "what has she ever done for you?" Well to be honest, I've never ASKED her for anything... I think she did leave us a bag of peaches on our front porch once (she has a peach tree in her yard), but other than that, nothing. But I've never called in any favors from her-- like I said, I barely know her!

So of course now I've been thinking of what I could possibly request of her at a later date to even it out, lol...

OP: I would call her back, tell her you have figured out how much is involved in her last request and that as you said, you will try and any hours you spend doing it are only $$XX per hour. "I just wanted to be sure that rate was ok with you".......

:)

cnvh
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:20 PM
Well, I semi-committed to Thursday, IF my office closes and I have off work... But I do think I'll call her and tell her "Thursday is it."

What's odd is, this woman hasn't made a pattern of being needy... We moved into our house in 2004, and she lived here before we moved in; I never even had a conversation with her until last summer, when she asked me to water the plants and feed the cat. And after I did that for her, she did leave some goodies as thanks, which was quite fair.

Which is why I'm pretty astonished that she has offered NOTHING for doing all this snow-shoveling, this time around... and on top of it, has asked for more. :confused:

As far as I know, none of our other neighbors have had much interaction with her, either-- and one of the neighbors is the self-appointed busybody; if Needy Neighbor was making a habit of this behavior, I'm sure Busybody would have told me about it.

It's just weird...

french fry
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:27 PM
I say this with all kindness. You need to shut this down. You are being a total pushover. Call her and tell her Thursday no longer works for you and she needs to find another way to remove her snow.

trubandloki
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:29 PM
If this is not historically typical behavior for this neighbor I have to assume there is a reason she is now turning to you.

Canaqua
Feb. 12, 2014, 12:58 PM
That is weird, she has not been demanding in 10 years and suddenly is. Her health problems? Someone used to help her who is gone from her life? She has a new boyfriend somewhere and wants to spend all her time with him and not take care of her business at home any more? If she's middle-aged or older, a lot can change in 10 years as far as comfort handling her life alone goes.

In any event, none of that means she can take you for granted like this. If she is lonely or feeling less competent, she should at least try to establish a two way relationship with you first! And, that doesn't mean you have to volunteer to do that either, actually.

Valentina_32926
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:00 PM
Well,...What's odd is, this woman hasn't made a pattern of being needy... We moved into our house in 2004, .... :confused:

As far as I know, none of our other neighbors have had much interaction with her, either-- and one of the neighbors is the self-appointed busybody; if Needy Neighbor was making a habit of this behavior, I'm sure Busybody would have told me about it.

It's just weird...

She probably thought you would say "Yes" and you did. She started with little stuff and graduated to bigger stuff - time to say "No" and explain you work >1 job and on your "off" time you have other things to do "unless you're offerring to pay me"??? So it would be a third job! Then hand her a list of names she could hire SINCE this job is a PITA and it will only encourage her to ask for more favors Which she will anyway - so start learning to say No).

french fry
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:12 PM
She probably thought you would say "Yes" and you did. She started with little stuff and graduated to bigger stuff - time to say "No" and explain you work >1 job and on your "off" time you have other things to do "unless you're offerring to pay me"??? So it would be a third job! Then hand her a list of names she could hire SINCE this job is a PITA and it will only encourage her to ask for more favors Which she will anyway - so start learning to say No).

Yep, this. Just because she may be a user with a legitimate reason (she is claiming injury, after all) doesn't mean she isn't a user.

What would you do if you had a bum knee? Probably not ask a neighbor you barely know and have never helped out in any way to be solely responsible for shoveling your PITA sidewalk/walkway/parking space for months...

CDE Driver
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:26 PM
Sheesh.... my neighbor came over and plowed our driveway. I ordered a dozen chocolate dipped strawberries for he and his wife!

cnvh
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:35 PM
Well, I don't go back on my word; I told her I would shovel her sidewalk (front, not back) if my work closes on Thursday, and I will do that as agreed. I did tell her mornings are definitely a "no," and I'm definitely not dealing with a plowed-in car regardless of when, especially if (as one of my coworkers pointed out) it isn't even her car; I don't need any liability issues if it gets scratched or whatever.

But beyond tomorrow-- nada.

FalseImpression
Feb. 12, 2014, 01:59 PM
I love my neighbourhood. 6 houses have snow blowers, 4 of the men are retired... it's almost a contest as to who will blow the working neighbours' driveways and sidewalks!! One of the neighbours has had double hip replacements and he is often the first one out! He lives across the street so most of the time, just does his side and my hubby does our side (one neighbour w/o blower and still working) and our driveway...
One neighbour on the sidestreet goes away quite often and his wife has two cats. Hubby gets the mail/checks the house, but told them he is not a cat person... so her daughter is supposed to come and change the litter (she did not and the cats pooped everywhere). Hubby had to clean... well when we had plumbing problems, neighbour fxed it! Beats calling a plumber.

Angela Freda
Feb. 12, 2014, 02:22 PM
Well, I semi-committed to Thursday, IF my office closes and I have off work... But I do think I'll call her and tell her "Thursday is it."

What's odd is, this woman hasn't made a pattern of being needy... We moved into our house in 2004, and she lived here before we moved in; I never even had a conversation with her until last summer, when she asked me to water the plants and feed the cat. And after I did that for her, she did leave some goodies as thanks, which was quite fair.

Which is why I'm pretty astonished that she has offered NOTHING for doing all this snow-shoveling, this time around... and on top of it, has asked for more. :confused:

As far as I know, none of our other neighbors have had much interaction with her, either-- and one of the neighbors is the self-appointed busybody; if Needy Neighbor was making a habit of this behavior, I'm sure Busybody would have told me about it.

It's just weird...

Well she did give you a thank you that one time.

And didn't she say her knee is not healing like it should? And she has to drive a different car because of it? And needs to park in a different spot to get into her house?


She said not to worry about it, since she was coming home the next day but was planning to park on the street in front of her house, closer to her front door, because her knee was still giving her some trouble and she didn't want to walk up her long back walkway...

So Sarah returned home on Sunday....

Today, Sarah called me and left a message on my voicemail. "Hi, this is your neighbor Sarah. I was wondering if you would be able to shovel my snow for another month, because my knee is still pretty unstable. And I have to use a different car for at least a month because I can't work the clutch with my knee, so I was hoping you could clear off my car and shovel it out also. Let me know if you can help."

MAYBE she intends to give you a thank you for all the shoveling, but presently- since Sunday- with teaching on a bad/sore knee and all... hasn't YET done it? Or can't because her knee can't handle more than a day spent standing up teaching middle school and the quick trip to the grocery store that she has to do for herself?

I think it's really nice that you helped her out. Being a single lady without anyone to help one out when life goes sideways is really tough.

AlterMeh
Feb. 12, 2014, 02:34 PM
That is weird, she has not been demanding in 10 years and suddenly is. Her health problems? Someone used to help her who is gone from her life? She has a new boyfriend somewhere and wants to spend all her time with him and not take care of her business at home any more? If she's middle-aged or older, a lot can change in 10 years as far as comfort handling her life alone goes.

This.

I'm in a similar situation. I feel HORRIBLE even complaining, because it is someone who doesn't have anyone nearby (parent and spouse died fairly close together years ago), but is refusing many other offers of help (granted, from non-horse folks) and I'm feeling . . . . what???

This person is beyond generous, and extremely grateful without a manipulative or using bone in their body.

I think it's normal to have the thoughts. I feel AWFUL just even typing this :no:

In your case, if I couldn't/didn't want to shovel snow, I would refer her to one of the young men that always pop up in the winter around my neighborhood that ask if they can shovel.

NoSuchPerson
Feb. 12, 2014, 03:29 PM
I once read an article about how people generally belong to either the "Ask Culture" or the "Guess Culture." I'm probably not going to get this entirely right, but this is what I recall.

The article said "Askers" feel that it is perfectly OK for them to ask others for anything they want/need, and have the expectation that if the other person doesn't want to do it, they will say no. No harm, no foul, no hard feelings, no expectations. In the same way, they feel no obligation to say yes to requests from other people.

"Guessers" say things like, "I can't believe she asked me to do that!" about Askers, tend to hear requests as expectations that they will say yes, and feel bad about saying no. Guesser parents tell their kids things like, "No, you can't ask; it's rude." I am a complete Guesser.

IIRC, they said people fall along the whole range from extreme Asker to expreme Guesser, with Russians being extreme Askers, while Asian cultures tend to be extreme Guessers.

In your situation, I would assume my neighbor is an Asker, just say no, and give her the name and number of someone she can hire to shovel for her.

And I would really try not to feel guilty about saying no. :)

french fry
Feb. 12, 2014, 03:38 PM
NoSuchPerson, that is a great way to look at it! Off to do a little research about askers vs guessers...