How To NOT Ask For Help

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Please Help, Ottawa, 2012

Please Help, Ottawa, 2012

As a blogger, I believe in interaction—this is why I always enable comments on articles and why I have a dedicated “contact” page. Most of the emails I received are from prospective immigrants who have questions about the visa process or life in Canada. I make a point of answering every comment and every query.

But sometime I can’t help thinking “seriously people, what the fuck?”

Guillermo recently wrote two interesting articles on a similar topic: How to write an effective email that brings you to Canada and Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start doing something!

I get his point. Some days, I’m that close to hit the “delete” or “spam” button because I can’t believe how rude or strange some people can be.

I have received what I call “WTF questions” before, including the ever-popular “please send me a copy of your old completed immigration forms so that I can fill my own forms easily”. Because of course, I’m dying to share personal information, including extensive background info, work and family history, with random strangers on the web.

So this is how to NOT ask for help for help when contacting a blogger:

Don’t bother saying “hi”, “please” or “thank you”. These words are way overrated and you don’t have time for that shit—you need your answer fast.

However, do stress that you need me to reply right away, preferably before the end of the day. Otherwise, it might jeopardize your entire existence since you are about to board the plane and have lost your passport/haven’t decided where to land/just realized you lied on your visa application.

Be as vague as possible—I have a good crystal ball. As in “How long will it take to get to Ottawa?” (from where?) and “Please recommend a good airline” (again, to fly from where to where?).

Don’t do research, that’s what I am here for! I love when you ask “I need to immigrate to Canada, provide detail steps re. the process”. And if I suggest you to check the comprehensive website of Citizenship and Immigration, simply restate the original query: “I need detailed steps”, just in case I didn’t get it the first time.

If you are about to do something illegal or at the very least questionable, do ask for my help. As in “I am married to a woman in Canada and I need to bring my second wife to Canada, can I divorce my first wife after I get the visa?”

Please, do use me! “I am a 22 yrs old male, single, I want to live in Canada. I want to get a marriage visa. Are you interested?” I can’t get enough of these sincere declarations of love. I mean, it’s not like I’m married and just had a kid. I’d love to sponsor you—I am a romantic at heart and I think marrying someone for a visa is exciting.

Threaten me, it makes me reply faster. Like this guy recently who explained that if I wasn’t willing to help him get to Canada, it would encourage him to join Al Qaeda.

Do not read this blog. What’s the point? I know everything anyway. I mean, glancing at the header, my profile or the FAQ may give you a clue that I live in Canada but you have a question about immigrating to the United Kingdom or the US and I can very well do research for you. Immigration—different country, same shit, right?

Do not follow up. Ever. You got your reply, why saying “thank you”? I am not really a human being behind the computer, merely a somewhat sophisticated computer program who deals with questions. Beep.

Punctuation and grammar are overrated, make me decipher your question. And no, I am not making fun of people who make mistakes in French or English but those who “text” me as in “u no hw long process is? Mths? Yrs. Y so slow?”

Do blame me. I designed the entire immigration system. It’s entirely my fault if your application is stuck in processing limbo or if you can’t get a job as a brain surgeon in Toronto.

Don’t be realistic. Recently, I had two emails of very angry applicants who wanted to sue Citizenship and Immigration because their visa was denied. I wrote that I was sorry to hear that but unfortunately, visas are a privilege and not a right (I did provide a link to appeal and all though). Guess they weren’t happy with my reply—they wanted to sue me for providing wrong info in this blog. Oh well.

How about you? Do you get strange questions from strange people too?


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Wow, I didn’t realize some people’s sense of entitlement are that bad! I’ve always treated a visa application as something of a privilege; just because I satisfy the requirements doesn’t mean I have the right to enter a foreign country. It just doesn’t work that way. But I guess most people don’t see it like that. And the thing I hate the most is the attitude, almost makes me want to think “Who the hell are you?” as a response to these people.

    • Yep, like you said, it’s the sense of entitlement that bugs me the most. But I laugh these crazy requests off… best thing to do (that an writing about it!).

  2. I do get occasional totally irrelevant questions to my experience—as in, immigrant moving from a country I’m not from (the UK), to a country I’ve never lived in. But nothing like the questions you seem to get!

    • This is so strange. I mean, don’t people waste time asking their questions to someone who can’t answer them in the first place??

  3. Well,I don’t blog, but something like that can happen to everybody! When I was on an exchange here, I met this guy from Chili. Then when he knew I was living in Canada as a permanent resident woudn’t stop e-mailing me. I briefly explained the immigration process and told him that Quebec’s immigration site was in Spanish. Anyway, I really explained a lot to him. Then, I learned he got his visa, e-mailed him to ask him when he was landing and he never answered. He is now living in Quebec City, and guess what? I ran into him yesterday. He didn’t even know how to look at me. Of course he never said “thank you” for my help. It pisses me off, really.

    • Oh, I would have been annoyed too! I mean, how hard is it to say “thank you”? A quick email makes all the difference, especially when you were genuinely helpful. Well, eventually these people will have troubles getting into a network because networking is a give-give thing.

  4. Oh, my! I so feel your frustration. And even though it happened and still happens to me, I can’t really apprehend how can people be so shameless and dumb (or thinking I am dumb). When I lived in Shanghai, I was regularly getting e-mails from strangers back in Latvia wanting to do business in China and asking me everything from the price of copper (!!) and the statistics on use of disposable wooden chopsticks (!!!) to the requests to post their resumes in local job websites… I still don’t get why some people assume, if you live in a certain country, you must know everything about everything there…
    Since I am in Canada, I get a weird e-mail here and there. But nothing ever topped a person living here once asking me if he could use my SIN number to apply for a job (as he said – since I am at home taking care of baby and not using it anyways). -_-

    • What kind of people think you’d be willing to share you SIN? Seriously…!! This is crazy, not to mention offensive and rude. Gosh.

      People are strange with China. Back when I lived in France, there was always a friend of a friend of a friend who wanted to start a business with China and would ask me to find clients, materials, etc. Er… I am not qualified to do so (especially for free!). You know, China is a big country. You can’t just email random people and ask them to buy/sell your products!

  5. I can’t belive. If these people is this way even hoping for help from total strangers, how they will be work with colleague.

    When you aspire to emigrate to other country you be long to work, better to start off on the right foot.

    As prospective immi­grants, sorry for them. You have infinite patience.

  6. I think some people take too casual of an approach when asking for help, especially if it’s online help they’re seeking. It’s like they come across your site, see that you help with immigration issues and at the spur of the moment, decide to ask you something and see what happens.

  7. Need details after landing to Canada, about residency, daycare, travel.
    How about Gov rules and regulation.
    are there only 3 thing which should be followed
    1.apply for PR card
    2. apply for SIN as soon as u arrive
    3. apply for health care card or details.

    • Yes, basically that. For further info, you have to do research online based on where you will live, your question is too broad.

  8. Hello,

    I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe.

    Every morning, before going to work, I read your blog and have a good laugh.

    No matter why I read, but this is the best blog on the Internet on the topic of immigration to Canada.

    Thank you!

  9. Hello, I am planning to immigrate to Canada and came across your blog while doing my research. I need total cost for the process and read your article about the same. However the article was written in 2009.
    just wanted to know if you have an updated article for the same and can provide me with its link. OR if the cost is more or lee the same and I can use it as an estimate.
    I am an Indian National based in Dubai with my family.

  10. I was nodding along with everything you said as I read your post. People email with the strangest/rudest/most personal things. I enjoy your site!

Reply To Zhu Cancel Reply