When the Helping is “Helping” Your-Self

PhotoOpp Reciprocity is one of the levers in marketing by context building. It is also the thing you do out of love — to show someone you appreciate them.

Reciprocity anticipates a need — the good balance to strike between the entitled quid pro quo, and the lazy status quo.

We all occasionally are in need of help. As Colleen Wainwright says:

There’s also nothing wrong with asking what you can do to help someone, if that is what it takes for you to really help someone. Asking is a marvelous way to gather useful intelligence with which to shape your loving and generous impulses.

[…] Where it gets tricky is when the helping is “helping”: asking how you can help as your secret judo way of soliciting it for yourself, or asking when you have zero intention of following through. This is the kind of “helping” that gives helping a bad name, and unfortunately, it’s as rampant as hollow, meaningless inquiries into the state of one’s health.

Love in motion, love in action. I like that. Help does show up and flows through networks. It's made of small and big choices, attitude and spirit surround it. You feel the sincerity all the way down into your gut.

Where it gets a little tricky — and obvious — is the blatant photo opp; the how can *I help* that makes support you the weak cousin of "how are you doing?", you know the one with the tone that implies it's all about them, those extending the offer.

To be sure, do provide your community, the people you support, with ways to thank you and support you in return. For example, there are many ways to do that here — from becoming a sponsor to subscribing to the premium newsletter, to commenting on posts and sharing my work.

Readers of this blog know that I do make it about you, and are familiar with my settings in social networks.

Which is why it always comes as a surprise when an unsolicited request to help me becomes a way to get me to work for free on content for sites that look to build value — and traffic — off the free work of others supposedly to "promote them".

What would you say to that?


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0 responses to “When the Helping is “Helping” Your-Self”

  1. The world of favors, help, and reciprocity is tricky. If approached with a hint of inauthenticity, frustration for both parties can ensue. As Seth says, it can hurt to ask.

  2. Excellent topic. Adding a bit to Al’s comment and your piece, expectations and obligations should always be handled with the greatest of care. It’s essential to be genuine and open.
    This post is timely for me. I have a new collaboration beginning with an extraordinary business and person that I completely trust. We’re candidly setting the parameters of our “helping each other” work together now. Being up-front will help us assure that our relationship remains strong.
    ‘Love in motion, love in action.’ … what a great mantra to guide the giving and receiving dynamic.

  3. and it’s a constant work in progress, because context and circumstances change… people change. Best of everything to you as you begin the new collaboration. May it be fruitful and interesting.

  4. I am cheered to find fellow travelers on the “help” vs. help train. I’m not sure how to eliminate “help”, but knowing there are other people out there who hate it too is a start.

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