We’ll Continue Regularly Scheduled, Non-cranky Posts Tomorrow.

Several days ago, I received an e-mail from someone. I cannot identify this person because it goes against my personal blogging rules, but I have to rant about the e-mail a little bit. Actually, just the beginning of it.

The e-mail started with, “I hate to do this to you, but…”

Here’s a clue:

If you “hate to do this” to me, DON’T DO IT.

First of all, when I read or hear that phrase, my stomach locks up, my blood starts to boil, and my brain starts to madly wander, considering all of the horrible things that you’re getting ready to say to me.

Second of all, in all cases that I can think of, when someone “hates to do this” to somebody, the next thing that comes out of that person’s mouth is a request for something that will totally benefit them, but inconvenience the person they are talking to in a major way.

To prove my point, how many times have you heard these scenarios:

“I hate to do this to you, but would you mind helping me spend this $5000?”

“I hate to do this to you, but I have a free month of maid service and don’t need it; would you take it off my hands?”

“I hate to do this to you, but I am really looking for something to keep me busy. Can I make dinner for your family every night this week?”

“I hate to do this to you, but I have a closet full of brand-new clothing that’s in your size. Do you want it?”

ZERO times, right? Right.

If you need a favor from me, I’m down with that. Just don’t start out the request by saying how much you hate to say it/do it/ask it. There’s a better way that will result in much less hostile feelings on the other end: “I have a favor to ask. Would you *blah blah blah*? I would really, really appreciate your time and/or effort.”

I may still not be totally thrilled that you’re asking, but at least I will appreciate that you thought about my feelings first and I probably won’t want to rip your head off. (Probably.)



  • Kat

    That is a weird way to ask someone for a favor. I would really feel the same if I were to read that.

    Can’t they come straight out and ask you for a favor. It’s not like you weren’t helpful or anti-social.

    Your examples were hilarious though. I wish we would hear them at some point in our lives 🙂

  • Michelle

    Hey, you’re talking about me, aren’t you? Fortunately, I’m only kidding… and personally? I’m not a fan of requesting favors via email. I prefer a more personal touch, but that’s just me. And if you don’t know me well enough to go beyond an email, then…. So should we even ask what the favor was?

  • nukedad

    Sorry about that. I’ll try and be more sensitive to your needs in the future, I just really thought that you would enjoy painting my house and landscaping my yard. My bad. 😉

  • Melisa

    Kat: I know, especially the cleaning lady one, right? I’d love that. 🙂

    Melissa: I’ll be right over for some cake!

    Michelle: Nah, the favor can’t be divulged. It’s boring and unimportant to the story anyway. Suffice it to say that the person in question is somebody who I hardly know, from an–er–organization I do work with that has to do with my kids. In fact, I couldn’t pick her out from a line up if I had to; e-mail is the only way we’ve communicated. Still ticked me off though!

    Nukedad: LOL, that’s right; you’d better at least offer me some virtual cake like Melissa up there! (Chocolate, please!)

  • Sue

    That is annoying! To cheer you up, I would love to say “would you mind coming to Disney with us”? But unfortunately if I took all the people I wanted to, I would have had to charter a plane!
    Hopefully you told this person where to take her idea!