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Selfishness - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. — LiveJournal
October 11th, 2004
05:54 pm
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Date:October 11th, 2004 05:02 pm (UTC)
The only odd thing I see in the approach is that I don't see why you need to ask. In most cases it's pretty clear what's in it for me when people ask me to do something, and if the costs outweigh the apparent benefits, there's no problem with refusing. It's then their job to justify to me why I should go out of my way, rather than creating a situation where I'm essentially demanding something. I've found that people often have a very negative emotional reaction to that sort of thing, which is hardly ever something I want to invoke.
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Date:October 11th, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
Well, I tend to assume that if someone is asking me to do something, presumably they place a certain value on having me do that thing. Sometimes the value calculus is already clear to me (whether it weighs towards or against doing the favor), but when it isn't, it seems only fair to offer them the option to sweeten the deal as much as they're willing to bear and see if that makes it worth doing to me. I realize that this is based on an unrealistic assumption that people are rational and won't take offense to my selfishness, but I guess I rebel against this when I perceive them as being selfish too, or at least as not having any interest in my well-being.

Also, I've often been kind of a pushover (or at least, that's how I now view it) and the factors that made me act that way haven't all changed, so asking “What's in it for me?” gives me a way to bow out that feels more elegant to me (although again, other people don't see it this way) than just flat-out saying “no”. Having a better way to bow out means I'm more likely to actually use it instead of get flustered and end up giving away more than I should.
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