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There seems to be this huge misunderstanding that anyone who knows something about computers is a geek and can fix them, regardless of what is broken. In reality, when it comes to complex issues, most geeks simply know how to use Google and aren’t afraid to try and follow instructions they found online. The thing is, this is an amateurish approach, which is fine when playing with your own computer. It becomes a problem, however, when someone else expects you to do a professional job.
The geek’s dilemma is they cannot reject friends or family. Helping them is a duty. But unless it’s an emergency, you burden your geek friend with an unfair amount of responsibility and work when you ask them to fix your computer. Let me explain how this works.
1. You Have Unfair Expectations
Clearly, not everyone who knows something about computers is good at troubleshooting issues and fixing them. And while anyone can search Google, play around, and eventually identify and fix the issue, it doesn’t mean they will do a good job. Yet somehow people expect anyone with a little bit of IT skills to be capable of offering professional tech support.
This is a huge misunderstanding. It’s like expecting a driving instructor to fix a car engine. Silly, right? Why should this be different for computers?
And because you don’t realize how hard a job this is, …
2. You Won’t Honor Their Work Appropriately
Friends and family members won’t expect you to pay for their help. But do you realize how long it takes to troubleshoot computer issues and fix them if you don’t do this routinely? This is not a small favor! Typically, it’s a very time intensive job, which takes hours of research, trial & error, and it is always done with the awareness that …
3. You Won’t Appreciate Their Help If They Fail
Regardless of how hard they work, if they fail to fix the issue, you will be disappointed. And who could blame you? It’s knowing this that makes it so unattractive to help anyone with a computer issue in the first place. The geek is falsely looked upon as some kind of guru and if they cannot actually fix the problem, people are deeply disappointed in them.
4. You Will Subconsciously Suspect Every New Issue To Be A Result Of The Fix
Your computer is like a black box to you and you have no idea what your friend or relative did to fix the issue you had. So any new annoying problem you experience could have resulted from something they did to your system. And you will probably wonder whether that is the case. As a result …
5. You Will Definitely Ask Them For Help Again Next Time
Regardless of how their first attempt to help you went, you will ask them again. Maybe they did a great job and you are hoping for another miracle job. Or you feel they owe you because they messed up last time, and of course you are more than willing to give them a second chance to prove their skill. And so the vicious cycle continues…
I hope you realize I exaggerated. Despite everything said above, I urge you to ask your friends and family for help in the future! The truth is, people love to help. And now that your expectations have been set right, you can actually make it easy and enjoyable for them to help you. The trick is to approach them with the right mindset. Acknowledge that this is not their profession and ask them to give you nothing but their honest opinion.
They will offer to fix your computer for you if they think they can do it. In this case accept the offer, don’t have unrealistic expectations, ask them how long they spent on the task, and genuinely appreciate their help, even if they fail. They did the best they could do.
If they do not voluntarily offer their help, but merely speculate on what the issue could be, they probably don’t think they have the skills or time to take on this task. Ask them what they recommend you to do and trust their judgement. If in doubt, you can always hire a professional.
Finally, do your geek friends and family members a favor and don’t recommend them to people with obscure computer issues.
What is your experience with asking friends or family for help or being asked for help? Do you have any advice for either side?