This column will change your life: Are you an Asker or a Guesser?

The advice of etiquette experts on dealing with unwanted invitations, or overly demanding requests for favours, has always been the same: just say no. […] “I’m afraid that won’t be possible” – remains the gold standard

エチケットの専門家(?)は誰でも、いやな要求にはノーを勧めるとのこと。どうやってノーというかみたいな本が多いのは御存知の通り。”I’m afraid that won’t be possible”というのは便利なフレーズだ。

In Ask culture, people grow up believing they can ask for anything – a favour, a pay rise– fully realising the answer may be no. In Guess culture, by contrast, you avoid “putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes…


Neither’s “wrong”, but when an Asker meets a Guesser, unpleasantness results.


An Asker won’t think it’s rude to request two weeks in your spare room, but a Guess culture person will hear it as presumptuous and resent the agony involved in saying no.


This is a spectrum, not a dichotomy, and it explains cross-cultural awkwardnesses, too: Brits and Americans get discombobulated doing business in Japan, because it’s a Guess culture, yet experience Russians as rude, because they’re diehard Askers.


Self-help seeks to make us all Askers, training us to both ask and refuse with relish; the mediation expert William Ury recommends memorising “anchor phrases” such as “that doesn’t work for me”.

この問題に対しては冒頭にあったように、自分がとりあえず言ってみる人間になるように勧められることが多い。ダメもとで頼みごとをし、さくっと断る技術を身につけるということだ。ここでは”that doesn’t work for me”という決まり文句を使うという方法が紹介されている。

But Guessers can take solace in logic: in many social situations (though perhaps not at work) the very fact that you’re receiving an anxiety-inducing request is proof the person asking is an Asker.




Silicon Valley is losing foreign-born talent

Silicon Valley may be the cradle for tech start-ups, but some foreign-born executives, engineers and scientists are leaving because of better opportunities back home, strict immigration laws here and the dreary California economy with its high cost of living.


  1. 祖国での機会が増えている
  2. 移民政策が厳しい
  3. カリフォルニアの経済が良くない
  4. 生活費が高い


Foreign-born students earned 16.6% of the total degrees awarded in science and engineering programs from local colleges and universities in 2007, compared with 18.4% in 2003, the study says.


“For the first time, immigrants have better opportunities outside the U.S.” Often, a lack of work visas blocks foreign talent from staying.


Feld’s organization has helped shape the StartUp Visa Act of 2010, introduced last month by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. It would grant immigrant entrepreneurs a two-year visa if they have the support of a qualified U.S. investor for their start-up venture.