For example, I was recently at a reception which included a fixed menu dinner. For the non-native speakers, a fixed menu means that you don't order your meal, they just bring it to you. A waiter was walking around to each of the many tables, quietly filling glasses of red wine. Red wine makes me sleepy, so I asked for a beer.
A few minutes later, someone at my table asked me "How did you get a beer?"
I said "Um, I ordered it..."
"Oh? We can do that?"
"We're at a restaurant, he's a waiter. I asked and he didn't say no. So, ugh, yeah. We can do that."
That tiny unfamiliarity of a fixed menu and an automatically filled wine glass undid a lifetime of training on how to order things at restaurants.
You've got to ask for things, even if it feels unnatural or uncomfortable!
I've waited a few tables before (in the US) too. People with food principles and allergies can be downright rude. Waiters are usually going to be so pleasantly surprised if you ask for something nicely and politely, that they will usually try to make you happy if they can.
Bartending is a completely different business however. :-)
In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it's OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.
In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you're pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won't even have to make the request directly; you'll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.
All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you're a Guess Culture person -- and you obviously are -- then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you're likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.
If you're an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.
Obviously she's an Ask and you're a Guess. (I'm a Guess too. Let me tell you, it's great for, say, reading nuanced and subtle novels; not so great for, say, dating and getting raises.)
Thing is, Guess behaviors only work among a subset of other Guess people -- ones who share a fairly specific set of expectations and signalling techniques. The farther you get from your own family and friends and subculture, the more you'll have to embrace Ask behavior. Otherwise you'll spend your life in a cloud of mild outrage at (pace Moomin fans) the Cluelessness of Everyone.
>> from http://ask.metafilter.com/55153/Whats-the-middle-ground-betw...
Don't be afraid to ask, but only AFTER YOU'VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK. People can be surprisingly helpful, but especially if it's clear you're working hard to make each request count. They're much less likely to think you're wasting their time if it's clear you've been hustling and see their help as a catalyst for you working EVEN HARDER.
This is a philosophy I've lived by for many years. The only time you need to worry is when the person you are asking is passive-aggressive. They may never give you an indication you are asking too much, while you are unknowingly destroying your relationship with them.
It's an issue with a lot of people from more polite cultures or higher context cultures than your own. They likely are giving indications of their discomfort. Unfortunately askers are usually oblivious to those indications and barrel on ahead anyway.
You've inspired me to scour my inbox now
Yeah, I never give those guys any change.
1. State clearly why they were there
2. State clearly what they needed.
Jason's note had two statements that did exactly that.
ONE >>Right now, we're preparing for the PhoCusRight conference next week, the travel industry's largest get together. We're trying to make some connections with people at the conference.
TWO >>Can you help us connect with leaders in the Business Travel divisions of Expedia or Orbitz? Or any other introduction that you feel would help us?
Remember without those two simple points, you are wasting yours and other peoples time. And then they wonder (very LA indeed) "And you are wasting my time because?" - which is the last thing anyone should be thinking.
"rooting" for me? Uh, thanks, mate. But keep that sort of information to yourself next time, eh?
Makes for a hilarious gift for your beer drinking Australian chums.
— Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
Wolland goes on to say 'they will make the offer and they will give of their own accord,' and then, once he's made the offer, he encourages Margarita to ask for whatever her heart desires.
In other words, when someone offers to help, take them up on it. Which is what FlightCaster did.
I've had to get over my own personal shyness to help promote and market our startup (http://infostripe.com) and at times it's been difficult to just ask for help, opinion and testers. But when I do it's always quite rewarding.
Ask, speak your mind, be reasonable and the things you want are obtainable.
(Is it really rude? I dunno; it doesn't offend me when I see it, though it does grate a little. But when someone says "X is rude" it seems pretty weird to respond by saying "There is some evidence that X achieves something the person doing it wants", as if that were actually responsive to the complaint.)
Incidentally, I can't help suspecting that with more people using the "You should ..." form, its effectiveness relative to other ways of asking to be followed might be less these days.