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Speak Your Mind: Just Ask

I’m really afraid to ask for things. To be fair, I’m afraid of many things, and one of those things is asking for things.

This is especially true if someone is already doing something for me, like serving me food or helping me with a project. I know it’s silly. If my soda is flat, I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable sending it back and asking for a new one, right? Of course that’s right. But It causes me so much anxiety, like I’m causing my waiter trouble.

Something similar happened last week. As some of you may know, last week was my first week of full-time school in a while.  I had forgotten how difficult it can be to get textbooks. Sure enough, the bookstore was out of my calculus book. Blurg! And the unofficial bookstore keeps really inconvenient hours. Double blurg! What do I do?


I’ll order the book online from the unofficial bookstore and get next day shipping. The book should have gotten to me just in time. Sure, it would cost $25 in shipping to get it a few blocks to my apartment, but hey, it had to be done, right?Well, for a variety of reasons it didn’t get to me and I ended up having to pick it up at the store. Fine, but they still charged me the $25 shipping! In my defense, they seemed really disorganized when I picked it up and just handed me a receipt, so I wasn’t really sure if they were going to charge me at all. (And yeah, that actually happened last semester. Thank you, management.) When I got home I realized that they charged me for shipping, even though they had clearly not followed through on the next day shipping agreement. But did I ask for a refund? Nope. (Although, in this case, I think we’re even. They didn’t charge me for my book last semester.)

So bad things happen when you don’t ask for things, but good things happen when you do. Last Friday I wanted to prep for the weekly Physics Philes post here on Teen Skepchick. But – oh no! – I left my book at home. Of course. Sigh. What to do? Oh wait…I’m a physics student who does an awful lot of her studying right across the hall from the physics department offices. Surely they would have a textbook I could use.

Turns out, they did. Like, a comically large number of textbooks. (I guess teachers get sent free textbooks?) I promised to get it back to them after an hour, which I did. I casually mentioned how much I liked the book; it was very clear and easy to understand. In which case I was just handed the book. Now I have an(other) physics textbook!

I didn’t exactly ask to keep the textbook, but I did ask to borrow it when my initial plan was to just steam at myself for forgetting my supplies. And now I have a physics book to keep forever.

All of this is a very long way of saying that I need to ask for more things. What’s the worst that can happen? And the best thing that can happen? Free books.

Do you have trouble asking for things? Why or why not? Is it hard for you to come out of your comfort zone? Does the benefit of asking outweigh the anxiety of making yourself ask in the first place?

Featured image credit: zebedee.zebedee

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Mindy is an attorney and Managing Editor of Teen Skepchick. She hates the law and loves stars. You can follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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