Sept 2018 £0 Challenge Part 2: We're Better Off Together

from by Kimwei

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When’s the last time you borrowed a cup of sugar from the neighbour, and then hey, you got chatting, turns out they’re single and so are you, so they invite you in for a cuppa the rest is history? Never? Guess why – because there’s a 24hr store selling sugar just down the road, so why ever speak to your neighbours?

One college housemate of mine used to knock on my door once a week to borrow my washing basket so he could do his laundry. I had no idea why he did this when we lived on the same street as Poundland where he could have easily bought one.

But you know what? – as a result of those weekly laundry basket encounters, we talked more. We got the idea that it was ok to knock on each other’s doors and of everyone in that house, he’s the only one I stayed in touch with.

When we buy what we could borrow or barter for, we have fewer conversations. If we’re rich enough. we don’t need favours, but what’s lost along the way? In this “Isolation Age”, aren’t we better off together?

But how to start? In 2014 I took what I called The £0 Challenge, which made it public that I was open to exchanging, but many people don’t have a doorway in like that.

The key is to be the one asking for the cup of sugar. Believe it or not, asking a favour feels more vulnerable, so people are less willing to be the first. But many are willing to give first and ask second. Asking someone for fair help creates a strong bond. It can lead to all sorts of new and unexpected friendships. Asking is the door: don’t be afraid to ask.

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from Pause For Thought: BBC Radio Devon, released January 30, 2017

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