Benjamin Franklin famously once attempted to win favor with a political adversary by writing him a letter requesting to borrow a rare and valuable book that he owned. A short time afterwards, Franklin reported that this usually stubborn, often hostile gentleman sought him out in the House and spoke to him for the first time. It seems Franklin recognized that, in certain circumstances, asking for assistance can be an effective means of reducing conflict.
But what if youâ€™re not Benjamin Franklin? What about us ordinary folks who ponder the pros and cons of soliciting assistance on a project from an icy-faced colleague, or requesting the help of a grumpy neighbor? Moreover, what about situations where there is no conflict, yet the thought of asking still raises anxiety levels? For example, think about that cute guy or girl on the bus that you admire from a distance but have yet to pluck up the courage to ask out on a date.
Asking can be daunting. Fortunately reassurance is at handâ€”and from an unlikely source.
If you are the kind of person who views asking as a risky businessâ€”one laced with the fear of rejection, embarrassment and a bruised egoâ€”then here are three reasons why you might want to think again, each informed from scientific studies.