I have a friend who agreed to help me on something half a year ago.

Around the winter holidays, last time we chatted, I told him I was ready to implement my plan but he told me that he was upset that he couldn't help me at that moment, for he was dedicating his time to his family. At the end of that chat, I asked him to let me know once he had time and he responded me with a "yes sir" in jest I suppose, and I returned him a "lol" (something he could have misunderstood).

However, more recently, in January, I asked him when he would have some time available to help me, but it has been more than a month and he has not yet responded or read my message and I feel confused since I do not really understand why and I would not like to blow it as a result of an overwhelming emotion like I have done in the past with other friends.


I would like to know how I can reduce the uncertainty:

  • to get a better understanding of whatever is his situation
  • to make it easy for him to respond me
  • If possible, to plan some date when he can help me or any other plan we can come up with.

[N.B. For I don't want to make it sound as if I'm manipulating him since he already knows that I want his help, I feel that simply asking him "How are you?", could sound insincere.]

  • Hi Msr! This still reads a lot like you're asking us 'What should I do/write', both of which are off-topic on IPS, see our help center. Did your friend agree to the helping before the last time you chatted with him, or during that chat? What goal do you want to reach here? To find out if your friend is just too busy to help you, if he has changed his mind on doing so or if he has seen the facebook message? Please pick one, as you're now asking answerers to pick a course of action for you. Where are you both from? Culture can play a huge role in how these types of things are handled.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 12:01
  • I hadn't realized that I was asking "What should I do?" and I thank you for that since it seems my anxiety was keeping me away from thinking of a clear goal and perhaps just vaguely as trying to think of something to say. And let me tell you, my goal first and foremost is to understand whatever is his situation in general whatever that might be [through social interaction not by theorizing or assuming] (1), to hopefully arrive to an agreement: that is, setting a specific date for when he could help me (2) so that the situation doesn't feel stressful, and sure to hasten him slightly haha (3)
    – Msr
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 1:13
  • (3) because experience has repeatedly taught me that passivity is useless when it comes to human interactions, either because they forget or because they compartmentalize and tell themselves to leave it for later, or who knows really. We made this agreement half a year ago but it isn't until now that I told him I was ready to implement my plan but he seemed upset (e.g. ":/") that he couldn't help me at that moment; however, maybe since I only waited two weeks to ask when he could help me, it could have been too soon and maybe he did not want to disappoint me again.
    – Msr
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 1:26
  • With @Ælis' help and the new edits, I feel the question's formatting has been improved and I believe it is much clearer now to read. Following @Tinkeringbell♦'s advice, I rewrote the question so that it would be focused on a specific goal. What do you think about this improved version? Do you still feel the question needs some editing?
    – Msr
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 23:47
  • 2
    @Msr I think you are ok and I've voted to reopen. The one troublesome phrase is when you say "I would like to know what message I can send him to reduce the uncertainty" it sounds like you are just looking for phrasing. I think your goal has been clearly stated in the part right after that though
    – Rainbacon
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Don't send him anything, drop it, and move on.

Unless you are extremely close, such "agreements" made over Facebook chat are basically meaningless. You seem to interpret his "agreement" as a genuine desire to help you, going so far as to think you would "betray him" by not following through. The truth, however, is more probably that for whatever reason he couldn't say no.

You mention the possibility of asking him about his willingness to help you, but that is not necessary. The fact that he has not contacted you for over a month is overwhelming evidence that he is not willing. The possibility that he has not read your message does not hold water either. Again, even assuming he hasn't received a notification about it, if he really wished to help you he would have spared five seconds to manually open your Facebook chat window to check for incoming messages. And if he forgot about the "agreement", well, that's still more evidence he doesn't want to do it, because when was the last time you forgot about something you were really looking forward to?

In summary, your Facebook chat "agreement" notwithstanding, it is clear that he is not really willing to help you, and he does not owe it to you either, so it's probably not going to happen. Forget about it and find someone else if you really need help. If it's something specific and you don't know anyone else who can help, maybe offer some compensation, monetary or otherwise (sorry to say, but clearly your friendship does not seem sufficient).

  • I appreciate that you took your time to respond me, and I see there is overwhelming evidence that points to the possibility that he is not willing to help me, however, to me, that seems inconsistent with the fact that there are still other alternatives which, I feel, haven't yet been ruled out: as an example, he might feel to lazy to think about what to say or he might not want to feel judged for having taken so long to respond, in case he had been putting it off for some while because at first he didn't know what to say or he felt that his answer wouldn't be of my liking (e.g. until July)
    – Msr
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 6:12
  • I don't think it can be simply described as some meaningless agreement over Facebook since we've talked about this in several chats, and at first it was difficult since he told me he preferred not to engage in the way that he assumed that I wanted him to help me. However, after understanding how it is that he interpreted my request then I made a concession and it seems he felt the concession was reasonable enough that he ended up agreeing to help me. I do not feel it is a good idea to drop it and find someone else since it is quite difficult to convince someone to help me in the first place.
    – Msr
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 21:01

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