You know what really irritates me? People who tell me: “Can you do me a favour?”
No. I don’t want to do you — or most other people in the world, in fact — any favours.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like being helpful. I’d like to think that I’m a very helpful person, because I’m always happy to help in any way I can.
It’s the linguistic insinuations of a favour that I really hate.
In the Oxford dictionary, favour is a noun that means “an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual“.
Beyond what is due.
Let’s do a little more dictionary magic. Due is an adjective that means “of the proper quality or extent”. Synonyms of due are rightful, suitable, adequate, sufficient, enough, and ample.
Ample kindness is enough kindness to give, says I. Plus, for the most part, a person you don’t really care about is the one most likely to ask if you can do a favour. My family and closest friends will just nicely ask for my help, instead of emotionally blackmailing me with the idea of “favour”.
And then the way these conversations are carried out.
- “Hi Roba.”
- “Can you do me a favour?”
- Silence for a few seconds, then, “It depends on the favour”.
- “I just need you to send me that file.”
Sending you a file isn’t a favour. It’s you know, sending you a file. Just ask for the god damn file. Taking a quick look at your wife’s CV isn’t a favour, either. It’s you know, 10 minutes of reading. Just ask for my help, and I’ll be happy to give it. Linking out to your stupid video IS a favour, and I don’t link out to shit I think is stupid, regardless of who you are. Make something not stupid and I’ll link it out next time.
And don’t give me crap about linguistic niceties. Niceties will be the end of us as an Arab culture.
I don’t want to do anyone any favours. I don’t want anyone to do me any favours either. Really.