Mutual Mooching

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mutual-moochingsource: Pete Zarria

So, why aren’t I ashamed of myself?

Because I’m also a giver. As much as I mooch off of others, I also give plenty. And in my mind, that makes everything even.

For example: When someone was offering free books on our newsgroup a few months ago, I was the first to grab them. On the other hand, when I heard the local library was looking for book donations, I showed up with several boxes of goodies in tow.

For example: When my mom offered me a free trip to the US, I was happy to take her up on it.  But, when I got there, I helped her to empty four storage rooms that she had paid over $40,000.00 to rent for ten years.

For example: When I was in the US, a friend of my daughter spent a lot of time driving me around. To pay her back, I agreed to send her merchandise from the Middle East to sell in her store.

It’s all a matter of give and take.

If you’re interested in increasing you mooching etiquette, here are eight tips:

1) Don’t take from others if you’re not willing to reciprocate.

It’s fine to borrow a lawn mower from your neighbor, but that means that when he wants to borrow your drill, you have to let him use it. After all, fair is fair.

2) Look for opportunities to do things for other people.

The next time a relative gives birth, be the first to show up at the door with dinner and an offer to babysit. Don’t wait to be asked.

3) When making a request of someone, always make it easy for them to turn you down.

Pressuring and begging is not only rude, it’s playing dirty. Instead, ask for a favor like you would like to be asked.

4) Be as gracious when receiving a “no”, as when receiving a “yes”.

Remember, friends and relatives have the right to tell you no. You might not like it, but it is their right.

5) Try to not only give as much as you receive, but more, whenever possible.

Never do favors “tit for tat”.  To be a good moocher (and a good friend) try to give at least 1.5 times as much as you request.

6) Act in good faith.

This means when you borrow a chair, bring it back on time and in perfect condition. When you offer to do carpool for a friend, show up on time. Don’t act badly just because money isn’t changing hands.

7) Know when mutual mooching is a no-no.

All because your excited by the idea of sharing tools, trading old clothes and taking turns running out for milk, it doesn’t mean everyone else will be. If you see one friend doesn’t want to participate, give up and try out another friend.

8. Always go first.

This may be the most important tip of all. Never ask assistance from anyone, till you have first shown a willingness to do them a good turn. Mutual mooching is one of the rare situations when an insistence on always going first is actually good manners.

Follow these rules, and you can feel completely comfortable asking for favors. You’ll never have to fear that you’re stepping over the line of what is polite. Plus, you’ll wind up saving a lot of money, making new friends, and racking up good deeds all at the same time.

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