Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Resisting The Urge to Help Everyone

I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with me, but I am on a diet of sorts at the moment - resisting the urge to "help" everyone. It's probably a combo of being the oldest child and female which apparently makes us pleasers and goody two shoes types (although some would argue), but really, I need to have a word with myself. 

It's made ten times worse by people all over the Internet (particularly Facebook groups) taking the attitude that it's far easier to ask other people than to make the Herculean effort of doing a Google search themselves. Every other week a Brit asks how to get a British passport for their child who's born in the USA. In less time than it takes to type the question, you can type a Google search "British passports outside the UK" or something like that and it will take you to the exact place you need, complete with down-loadable forms, and the value-added benefit of no one voicing a completely made-up answer. 

Anyway, back to my diet. Normally (ie. last week) I would have gone to the government web site, found the exact page for children who are classed as British by Descent, and posted the link together with a comment about how easy my own experience was. It's not that I've gone all selfish and uncaring, but no matter how many people post the same advice, there are always ten more who chime in and post confirmation of said advice - so mine is not needed. 

Ditto with recipes. I know. I'm not even a great cook, but every so often someone (again usually on Brit in America FB groups) will ask about an ingredient they're looking for - and I go and look it up and post it. Really? I once replied "There's a lot of info out there if you do a Google search" and it wasn't well received. Apparently it sounded a touch passive-aggressive, which is (for once) not what I intended. But again, by the time you've typed the question and waited for responses, you could have done it yourself. 

So this post title is a bit of a lie - I'm not really going to stop helping people. I'm just going to sit back and ask myself do I really need that piece of chocolate they really need my expert (not expert) advice or can I trust other people to give it. 

Which is probably a control issue and yet another subject for discussion. 


  1. I guess that's why websites have FAQs - though that's probably not helpful for you, if you're talking about FB pages and forums.

  2. I know of someone who sent a company-wide e-mail asking "does anyone have the number for so-and-so..." rather than look it up on the company's internal web phone list.

    Some people just haven't a clue.

  3. I run a forum - I think a high percentage of people are looking for the social interaction in many cases, as well as the info they need. It took me years to work that out.

  4. This did make me chuckle but you're right, that is so true. I think Jane Rowena has it spot on; I hadn't realised that before.

  5. To be fair, with some of the expat stuff, if you fill out the wrong form all your stuff gets sent back and you have to start all over again, so a lot of people are just checking they have the right one. But, I'm still gonna not jump in unless no one else knows the answer.

  6. Maybe it is social interaction they are seeking - but before I ask ANY question I always search Google exhaustively.

    But I feel your pain, I'm the same - and yes, a shrink would love to get their hands on me.

  7. This drives me crazy, too. There was a huge and lengthy discussion (about testing for UK driving licenses for US drivers) on one of the FaceBook expat groups with tons of back-and-forth - often by people who hadn't bothered to read the previous 25 or so responses to the original post. All of it could have been cleared up by simply Googling. If you're talking passive-aggressive, though, the following website is my new favorite, hands-down (although I've never been brave (mean) enough to send it to anyone as a response to a query): http://lmgtfy.com/

  8. I get that too as Ambassador at InterNations. People ask me for details on setting up a business in France. I have a go-to website that is written by a professional and explains a lot of what they need. But I sometimes think people are hoping I'll send them a welcome pack of exactly what they need for their business and take out all the toil.

    I've never set up a business so they must feel sadly let down when I don't offer to do it for them for free. :)

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