Why Would Someone Do Something for Free?

Long before I dabbled into the world of #PublicRelations and #MediaRelations, I often wondered: “Why are people helping me out?”

“Because you deserve it” is not a satisfactory answer. That answer just wreaks self-entitlement. It demeans the value of the assistance as well as the other party. So, there must be more to it.

Before I go further, I also notice it applies to instances where cash or transactions are involved. Instead of what was asked for, these occur when your supplier or vendor goes above what was asked. In business and corporate, you can modify the question to, “Why would anyone do more than they are paid for?”

During a conversation over drinks with Aunty J in 2016, the answer dawned upon me. I deduce it to these three categories:

  1. Grace: Purely out of the kindness of one’s heart at the time;
  2. Mercy: Out of pity or feeling sorry at the time;
  3. Favour: Something to be exchanged for in the future.


There is another question to ask as well. Whom is the one granting this ‘grace, mercy, or favour’?


Let’s use a scenario: If a “client” tells a freelancer to do work for “exposure” and the freelancer does it, who gave whom the favour? If you use the contract law principles of offer and acceptance as a basis, it is the freelancer that grants it.


Let’s turn the table around. What if the freelancer actively pitches pro bono work and a “client” accepts in exchange for “exposure”. I believe the “client” is the one who granted grace, mercy, and favour.


Whether grace, mercy, or favour, it is neither inherently wrong nor inherently right. We need each other. There are things that we simply don’t know – and we happen to know someone who does. One can only see whether it is constructive/beneficial or destructive/parasitic over time through either hindsight or foresight.


Do you notice the times when you were on the receiving and giving end of ‘grace, mercy, or favour’?

AdvertWriter #IndependentPublicist #FreelanceWriter


This was originally posted on my LinkedIn profile. Check it out here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/aldrictinkertoyad_why-do-people-help-you-for-free-activity-6858994499155316736-lkm_

Author: Aldric

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