My long-time friend Jimmy came by to visit a week ago. I enjoy seeing Jimmy, but he always asks for help with the same things. He never seems to follow through, just wants advice. He always admires my successes, then asks me about how I accomplished so much. He wants to know how he can start a successful business too. He wants a long conversation about the details, so he asks many questions. He truly sounds like he will be starting his own business next week!

He won’t be using my well-considered advice though. He has asked these questions more times than I can count and never follows through with anything. As I talked with Jimmy, I thought about the video I had watched that morning. Angel V. Shannon had talked about people like Jimmy, calling them ask holes. Here is what she said:

So, ask holes are people who use your time and energy without valuing it. Here are some keys to recognize an ask hole:

  • They ask questions that can be answered easily online.
  • They have an unending stream of questions.
  • You are giving practical advice, repeatedly in some cases, but they never implement anything.
  • They use time that you had planned to use.

So, what can you do about ask holes? For many, its best to simply respond that you don’t have time to help with that question. Refusing to engage in the conversation will preserve your time for your planned activities. If necessary, stop responding to the questions and turn away to another task.

Dr. Angel V Shannon had a suggestion for an additional way to handle ask holes. She made a list of common questions and a link to an appropriate response. When asked one of those questions, she goes to the website and prints the information. It takes her less than a minute and allows her to be helpful. I will be trying this approach with Jimmy!

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