it’s time to be civil (30)


# 20. Think twice before asking favors. … a request for a favor is often an imposition, it can also be a request for a privilege unfair to others, and, finally, when we receive a favor we are, to a lesser or greater extant, beholden to those who granted it. All this is reason enough to think twice before asking for favors. I don’t mean that there should be no place for favors in our lives. What I do suggest is that we always consider trying first to be the solvers of our own problems. We are so used to relying on favors that we often forget to look for the alternative – and we also forget that doing the work ourselves in the long run is more gratifying and satisfying.

There are two kinds of favors. The first affects on those doing the asking and granting of it. … Favors the second kind have consequences affecting others as well…. There is nothing wrong with asking for favors of the first kind as long as we keep our requests reasonable. The system works until someone ends up doing most of the asking and someone else most of the granting. Fairness is of paramount importance here.

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 131-132

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