When I was a junior in high school, a girl from my class who I had no relationship with beyond “classmate” came up to me and asked if she could buy weed from me.
I was pretty stunned. I had never used, let alone sold, any drugs in my life. I was pretty opposed, in fact. I certainly hadn’t given anyone any signals, direct or otherwise, to the contrary. And I didn’t know this girl at all beyond a name in attendance in the morning, so I asked her what gave her the impression that I was the right person to ask.
“Nothing,” she said, “but you seem resourceful, weird, and not like a snitch. So might as well start with you.”
What absolutely incredible networking! This girl was a genius. Look at the assessment she made! Even though I wasn’t one, I certainly fit the “stoner” archetype well enough – strong dislike of authority evidenced by lots of smart-aleck remarks in class and frequent detention. Somewhat counter-culture wardrobe (though considerably less cool than I thought of myself at the time). We shared a lot of the Advanced Placement classes, so she knew I was at least not a total idiot. Based on just this knowledge, she figured she could safely ask me if I would sell her weed and not face any consequences if she was wrong. Best case scenario she gets her goal, and worst case scenario she just gets a ‘sorry, nope’ – no risk that I was going to run to the school administration and narc.
Now, this story happened more than two decades ago (ugh) and back then weed was a LOT less legal than it is now, so there was actually a decent risk to what she was doing. And yet she made savvy assessments and went after what she wanted.
Now compare that to you. You probably want something right now. Maybe a new job? A promotion? A date? And these things are legal, but you’re still more hesitant to ask someone to get you closer to your goal than that girl in my junior class.
And there’s the other huge lesson – not only is it silly not to ask when the risk is so small, but it’s also silly to wait to ask until you’re sure you’ve got the “right” person. That girl figured that even if I couldn’t sell her weed, that there was a decent chance that I had a better lead, that I could at least get her closer to her goal. That turned out to be true, by the way – I didn’t smoke, but I knew plenty of people who did, so I directed her to one of them who in turn was able to get her hooked up. Networking!
Just remember that lesson, people – when in doubt, pursue your goals like an 11th-grader looking to score some pot. You’ll probably do better.