What To Do When You Receive A Difficult Request

There are three types of requests. Let’s start with the impossible one. We all receive some impossible requests sometimes. To those requests, you can politely and easily say no to the person making the request. “I’m sorry I’m not able to help at this time,” will do the job.

Or, if you have time, you can reason with the fellow about the unreasonableness of what he asked. But I don’t recommend this option. There’s the potential to offend two people, yourself and the guy. So choose the first option.

Once, a car broke down and I parked it on our office premises. I didn’t know that some people had trained their eyes on it until a friend came to me and said I should give (dash) him the car. It was my wife’s car. This is an impossible request because it wasn’t mine to give. So what did I do? I smiled and joked back.

The Easy Request

The second request is the easy one. The person who doesn’t grant simple requests is likely a terrible person. Amy Wilkinson of Stanford Graduate School of Business called it the “Good Gift” and number it among the six attributes of great entrepreneurs.

The Qur’an also mentions those who don’t grant simple requests in the last verse of chapter 107 or Maa’un. The Qur’an says that this person is likely the one who doesn’t encourage the feeding of the poor and who is likely to repel an orphan. That is why I said if you can’t grant simple requests, you’re terrible.

How do you know it is a simple request? If it is non-monetary, would it take less than five minutes? If yes, it is a simple request.
However, if it is money, only you can tell what you can afford.

The Difficult Request

The last kind of request is the difficult one. You can grant it, but not immediately. And if you make a promise, you fear that it would become a burden on you that you can’t fulfil. So you don’t want to commit. You also can not ignore the person.

What to do?

The answer lies in one word. I learned it from my Governor. The word is: noted.

Series count: 61/100

  • Dr Ibraheem Dooba
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