I AM WRITING A BOOK. and i am going to need your help.

so, uh, no drumroll possible, because the title of the blog gave it away.

i just signed a book deal, my first real one.

after the TED talk went massive, i got a slew of emails from various agents and publishers, asking
“book? book?? book book book? BOOK BOOK?!?!!”

and the answer was, to all of them…”thanks for asking, but i…don’t fucking know. my life is a chaos-fest now, i have an extra helping of friends with illnesses, the trolls are partying so loudly under my bridge that i can’t sleep at night, parts of my general business infrastructure have collapsed under the weight of their own french-slapstick-style miscommunication comedy of errors, and i’m about to go on tour for about six months to deliver the postponed tour and the rest of the kickstarter house parties.”

WHEN i would possibly make time to write a book, i had no idea. i can barely find time to blog on tour, and most of the time i’m so exhausted and braindead i can’t even pick up a newspaper and read it without my attention drifting up to the ceiling.

write a book? YOUZE CRAZY.

but then i thought about it.
and strangely enough, the poem kerfuffle tipped the balance.

there’s always a silver lining…isn’t there?
my life had racked up so many bloodied overcoats with silver linings lately that i could start selling them wholesale by the truckload to the Look On The Fucking Bright Side Factory Outlet.

after i wrote the poem and dealt with the ensuing drama and unwanted attention, two things happened.

the first thing that happened was the book offers coming in started getting serious.

and the second more important thing that happened was that i started actually wanting to write a book.

and now i’ll tell you why i thought that, and what i want to write about.

i’ll also start this all off by saying: i’m going to need your help, the help of THIS blog, YOU peoples.
i will need your help a lot. i will be asking. for answers, for feedback, for questions, for guidance.

both the TED talk and the poem brought something to my attention, loud and clear: i was now well-known enough to be a target of a new, deeper kind of hatred, rocks being thrown from places that i’d never seen before; and, conversely, i was now well-known enough to be a target of a new, deeper kind of love, from a degree of stranger i wasn’t used to. con. pro. con. pro. (quid. pro. con.)

at the very same time death threats were coming in and the general snarky internet outlets were compiling meme-able lists of 10 Reasons Why Amanda Palmer Is a Terrible Person, i was also getting stopped on the street by people who’d never heard my music (and probably were never planning to hear my music), and hugged tearily as they told me stories about how my TED talk came to them at some pivotal point in their lives. i had an unprecedented influx of people on my blog, on my twitter feed, and in my voicemail inbox saying “keep being you. keep doing what you’re doing.”

but what WAS i even doing?

fucked if i know.

the tour, while full of love and massive enthusiasm and over-the-top reviews, was cut short by my decision to stay home with anthony while he dealt with his cancer.
the album, while critically hailed by the magazines and papers and deeply loved by the fanbase, was a commercial disaster compared to everyone’s enthusiastic projections.

it lost money.

meanwhile, i was getting extreme psychological insights into everyone around me: people fearing for their lives and health, people fearing for their jobs, for their marriages…and people dealing with the deaths of their own infants. it’s been a dark year, my friends. and i watched it all play out in front of me like a greek tragedy, the veil of tears of fear and human pain and occasionally the faceless, masked choruses turning towards me and wailing WITCH WITCH WITCH and GENIUS GENIUS GENIUS at equally deafening volumes.

i was watching.

i was also dealing with my own relationship with neil, and how difficult the “art of asking” was in the claustrophobic, emotional sphere of me and this sweet british writer-guy i’d found myself married to.

asking for help is not easy.
asking for help is hard.
asking for love leaves you open to the vultures.
asking for help can heal you, and it can wound you.
asking for help is the bravest thing people can do, and they fucking hate doing it.

this was what i was seeing all around me.

this is the stuff that i decided would be the fundamental building blocks of a book.

asking, and why it is hard.
what is happening to artists now that the system has collapsed, and the new relationships and paradigms that are rising from the ashes of the old models.
how complicated the connection is between MONEY and ART.

so a few months ago, off i went to 12 different publishers with my one-page book proposal.
i spent two full hectic days in new york having meetings with all of them. some of them made offers, and i chose the one i thought was going to do the best job:
grand central publishing, which is a branch of hachette. they’ve recently published books by amy sedaris, jon stewart, stephen colbert and jane goodall.
i think i’m in good company.

so back to us.

i’m going to be working on the book here in LA for the next few days, before i fly to new zealand for next week’s tour, with editorial/conceptual help from my friend jamy ian swiss. he was my main coach for the TED talk, spending hours and hours agonizing on the phone with me about what to cut and what to keep. it seemed like a logical thing to do to ask him to hold my hand through this book process.
i’m also going to be leaning on neil (he’s a pretty good editor), anthony, and a few other inner-circle friends to help me through what i’ve heard is an incredibly hard process.
but i figure, i blog. sometimes i blog up to 6,000 words at a time. this book is going to be about 50,000 words. that’s about 8 or 9 blogs. no problem. right??!!!?!?!?!?!

i’m going to be asking you guys a bunch of questions, and i want you to answer.
argue. with me. with each other.
deflate me.
inform me.
your stories and what you’ve seen.
i’ll be asking TONS OF QUESTIONS.
and i’m going to be at this for the next six months, at least.
the book doesn’t have an exact shape, but it’s definitely NON-FICTION, it’s definitely going to have a lot of ME in it, and presumably a lot of YOU.
i’m going to probably get some more legally-binding disclaimers for the blog (saying basically that if you post here, you’re ok with your post being used for the book), but for now, just know that if you post here, the content is FODDER! (ok? ok.)

so here we go.
in the comments below, answer me this:


and if you’re pictorially impaired: this is the question:


answer that in any way you see fit. if you see comments that move you, or anger you, or somehow affect you…say it. talk back.

i’ll read all the comments tomorrow as i’m outlining.



EDIT – FEB 6, 2014: peoples! this is legalese stating that i CAN USE YOUR COMMENTS, or portions of your comments – in the book, freely, and you won’t come suing me. you’ll be seeing it at the bottom of every blog where i’m asking for comments that i might use in the book. don’t be scared.

By submitting information and/or comments to or (hereinafter referred to as “AFP’s Blog”), you grant AFP’s Blog a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to that information and/or comment at its sole discretion, throughout the world, including storing it on AFP’s Blog servers and incorporating it in other works in any media now known or later developed including, without limitation, published books. If you do not wish to grant AFP’s Blog these rights, it is suggested that you do not submit information to this website. APF’s Blog reserves the right to select, edit and arrange submissions, and to remove information from the AFP’s Blog and website at any time at its sole discretion. You further agree and acknowledge that submitting information and/or comments to AFP’s Blog does not entitle you to receive any compensation, credit or approval rights. You understand that AFP’s Blog has the right but not the obligation to use your comment.

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  • Becky Carroll

    I see asking as empowering yourself in your need for help/advice, etc and begging as giving the power to the need and the person you are begging and giving up your control…if that makes sense. I always feel powerless when I resort to begging.

    • Rut Blomqvist

      I agree. Asking is putting yourself out there to some extent and it can be difficult admitting that you need someone else’s help. But begging is relinquishing all self-respect and not only admitting that you need someone else but accepting that others are free to do anything whatsoever with you or to you. It’s like, if you resort to begging, things can’t possibly get any worse. You can’t afford the luxury of self-respect because you have to get by, through any means.

      I’m reminded of something that I see changing in the place where I live right now. Internationally, Sweden is know for social welfare. We shouldn’t be, not any more. Instead of applying or asking for help from the state which consists of us and for the sake of us who live in it, you are now distrusted if you’re sick or if you’re simply not the ideal working-40-hours-a-week person, and you have to beg to the authorities for help. A few decades back, poor people begged for aid from the wealthy and the church. Now that’s where we find ourselves again. We’re moving from a society where we collectively structure a way to help each other and where we trust each other, to a society of mistrust and undignified begging. I’m not poor but I have to beg, to make excuses, to degrade myself for wanting to make art and study the arts and for getting by doing these fundamentally important things.

      • Sarah H

        “We’re moving from a society where we collectively structure a way to
        help each other and where we trust each other, to a society of mistrust
        and undignified begging”

        I definitely echo your sentiment, but I really wish things were moving the other way and I know that’s partly what Amanda’s talk was about. I’d be interested to see why you think begging is undignified though? Do you feel that as you’re begging or the person seeing others beg? Do you think there can ever be a dignified way to beg or is that a contradiction? I’m from the Uk so it may be completely different in Sweden but I don’t like the idea of any place shaming people who need to beg, because the way some governments are going everyone will be begging and the stigma that it’s undignified may stop people getting help that they need. I know friends in the same situation at the moment and through no fault of their own they don’t have a house to live in, and rely on food banks, I don’t think asking strangers for money would solve their situation but this idea of it being undignified to ask for things you need can’t be a healthy one?

        • Sarah Flanagan

          The point I think though is just that; simply asking for things you need or asking for help is not the same as begging. Might it be correct to say then that begging can be defined as undignified and desperate asking?

        • Rut Blomqvist

          Maybe the definition of a specific act as one of begging or of asking can vary depending on whose perspective you look at it from? People who must do what society calls “beg”, for food, shelter, financial aid, etc., can still do so feeling that they’re merely asking for something they’re entitled to. And, according to the UN declaration of human rights, they are entitled to it (although the US has not ratified that particular covenant). But a society that exists for the strong, independent, and inconsiderate – which is the direction is see that society is taking (although I also hope that we’ll be able to turn it around) – such a society tries to label that act of asking differently, making it undignified. In the long run, though, I believe that you won’t be able to keep your sense of self-respect and dignity. That’s how I feel: I know that I’m not stupid or irresponsible for not being independent and inconsiderate, but it takes strength of mind to keep a mental distance to the label you get.

          It’s interesting to note, by the way, that the prime minister of Sweden has said that the reason why we must make it unpleasant and undignified to be on the dole is that this will motivate people to work. (In his imaginary world, people needing work will magically lead to the creation of new jobs.)

    • Sarah H

      yes totally agree, I see it as a matter of power balance. When you ask something it’s an equal playing-field of power (although some people still feel bad about it), and the favour etc. could also be returned (e.g. kickstarter), whereas with begging it probably couldn’t which may result in more guilt and unlike asking it’s usually for basic human needs, which means the fear of failing could be greater? Begging can also feel more like losing control, which is something most people hate (in a longterm sense).

  • zjepayne

    I think the difference between asking and begging is dignity and desire. When somebody asks you for something, they might be joking around, they might not be serious about what they’re asking for — it can be anywhere along a broad emotional spectrum. Begging, on the other hand, is desperate. When somebody is begging you, they are not fucking around (unless they’re a charlatan, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms). There is something about begging that strips away our dignity, that strips away our societal pretenses, and reveals the raw human beneath.

  • Kelly Sessions

    The difference between asking and begging?


    Not being too proud to ask, maybe being too proud to beg…

    Being proud enough of yourself, your request, your art, to do either.

    • soupandbread

      Agree. It’s not dependent on WHAT it is you want/need. It’s dependent on the pride and dignity that go into HOW you reach out to people for it. It’s what Julia Roberts is talking about at the beginning of Erin Brokovich when, having asked and received a no, she says, “Please don’t make me beg.” To beg (I think) is to choose to sacrifice a greater degree of pride and a much greater degree of dignity in order to get what you want/need. Begging is not synonymous with being desperate, but desperation is probably often what drives a person to begging.

      • NiroDanaHoi

        I am not sure I agree that it isn’t dependent on WHAT it is you want/need – think of the kinds of things people beg for…physical needs, sure, but how about the mother begging the soldier to spare her child’s life? Or the distraught driver, begging the wife of the man he ran over, for forgiveness. IMHO it depends ENTIRELY on what you want/need, on the context of that want/need (e.g. your beliefs), and on how much you are emotionally vested in that WANT/NEED… I do agree that with the second part of what you write, that in begging we are sacrificing a greater degree of our pride and dignity, but probably because what we are begging for means so much, we are willing to make that sacrifice.

      • Kelly Sessions

        This makes lots of sense to me. And yes, begging almost always has undertones of desperation. It spreads a sort of shame/humiliation over a situation. I find that someone’s always embarrassed, either the person begging or the person being pleaded with.

  • Sharon

    For me, the word “begging” suggests extreme need, desperation. “I need this. Please. Please.” Asking is more, “I’d like this, but I can do without if nothing comes my way. Or I’ll try a different path.”

    My thoughts, for what they’re worth. Thank you for soundtracking the brightest and darkest moments of my life.

    • Shabnam Salek

      oh look, you and i had the same thought, but yours is way more concise. *jealous*

      • Sharon

        This means it must be TRUE. ;-)

        (at least for us)

        S x

    • Older Sister

      Yes, I’d say begging carries a note of desperation.

    • Richard Neufeld

      I feel like you’re really onto something here. Regarding trying a different path. I feel like asking insinuates that you have options, you have chosen one that requires help, but you’re ready and willing to accept that you may have to change course. Otherwise, I think its all perspective.

      • Sharon

        As a few other people have said, I think begging is something that’s done from a position of weakness; perhaps one could say there’s an uneven balance of power between the ‘beggar’ and the person / people they’re begging. Begging feels like something you do when you’re running out of options. When you ask for something, you’re inviting the other person to contribute / participate / help / invest. So maybe that’s the difference – if begging is you running out of options, asking could be opening up lots of opportunities.

        • UltraVelvet

          Ooh guys, hell yes! The power relationship is very different, isn’t it. By asking, you are giving an invite to participate on an equal footing, begging you are on one hand offering the other all the power in the relationship but also with a heavy helping of guilt which is kind of taking some of it back.

          With begging there is less trust, as the beggar is trying to force a desired response.

          • Hanno Smit

            Louise you made me think about this, thank you! :)

            does one party ever hold all the power in a relationship? Does a beggar not hold a lot of power (eg the risk of feeling humiliation and guilt) in your relationship with them?

            I like the idea of asking being an invitation with an implied choice, whereas begging is an obligation made onto you with you not being given a choice you can get out of without guilt.

  • Jenn Walker

    Asking is making a request, and not expecting the answer you wanted. Begging is making a demand for which there is only one acceptable response.

    • Sophtine

      I agree with the idea of begging only has one acceptable response but only because of the urgency of the demand.

    • Monika Tillsley

      I agree with the very first comment I read. That makes this easy for me I suppose!

    • Lisa

      Hah. That’s what I get for answering before reading. My answer was that asking involves accepting that there will be many different answers, including no, while begging involves laying on a hefty helping of guilt for any answer but yes.

      • Kaeigh

        This is exactly, almost to the word, what I was going to say. Only better. I wasn’t going to add hefty amount of guilt. Just regular amounts. Hefty is better.

    • Guest

      While I mostly agree with this, wouldn’t an actual beggar on the street fall under asking? I guess even that depends, but usually if you decline, he lets it be and asks someone else. He knows not everyone will say yes. Perhaps there is a thin line between begging and not giving up.

      I’d also like to note that usually with asking for something…when it’s a question you’ve wrestled with and finally make the decision to usually ask because you are pretty sure someone will respond with what you’re looking for (but there’s the whole pride issue to deal with). I there is more confidence in asking than begging, even if you’re not sure what the answer will be. Or maybe hope. I think begging means you expect all answers to be “no” until you find a person you can break, but asking and being open to being rejected means there’s hope that someone will respond with what you’re looking for.

      • Autumn13

        (This was my post)

      • Will Catlin-Hallett

        Yes, I think “beggars” on the street can definitely just be asking. It may be perceived as begging, but that’s a result of the state of mind of the person being asked, not the person doing the asking.

        • Hanno Smit

          Isn’t begging a form of asking?

          Both are social contracts between individuals
          Both are an exchange of what is valuable to the other

          Isn’t the only difference the associated emotions which govern the transaction?

          Having said that, I really do prefer the asking mechanism to the begging one.

          The more I think about this the more BEGGING and ASKING seems to be the same thing, except for the way that we feel about begging vs asking.

      • Anita Smalley

        Absolutely. I thought the question over for a few hours and my only answer was that hope defined the difference. In asking there is hope that you will receive, in begging there is only desperation.

    • Hanno Smit

      perfectly and concisely said, great post

  • Mark Keating

    Empowerment and Submission. Desire and Need. We generally ask because we desire something, or to do something, it empowers us even if we do not receive. To beg is because we need, and in doing so we submit to the fact that we cannot do it ourselves.

    Both are states of being without, I think…

  • Becky Swales

    For me, asking someone for help is something you do when you feel that you can handle the situation yourself, but want to share the experience. Begging happens when you feel you have no hope of succeeding, but you’re desperate. I’ve also noticed that when I ask people for help, it’s usually to people who I know like me, whereas when I’m begging, it’s because I have no other choice, so I’m reaching out to anyone, regardless of their opinion of me.

  • collectdust

    asking prioritizes both the needs of the person asking and the person being asked. begging puts the problem of the asker above the comfort, ability, and relationship with the person being asked.

  • HollyHox

    Begging is you vulnerable and desperate. You lose any high ground and are ultimately submissive. You open yourself up to mercy of others and become malleable. Begging is an emotional response/move which often comes when one weakens with no other way to go or option to take. Asking isn’t weakening. Begging is.

  • Misty Fowler

    Asking is a request. Begging is a demand. Begging tries to make someone feel guilty for saying no. It’s pushing someone to a place they don’t want to be. Asking is letting someone know that you want or need something, but doesn’t demand, doesn’t guilt, doesn’t push.

    • metronv

      sometimes begging is the only way to get through to people, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Depends on the situation.

    • Sophtine

      Definitely agree that asking is a request and that begging often utilizes guilt to push but begging isn’t always bad just as asking isn’t always good. What is being asked is just as important as what is being begged for.

  • Aistė

    asking gives birth to bravery and begging gives birth to self pity. And although at first these actions look similar, they are not. Asking can be much more than just asking for help and begging can be much less than trying to accept the help.
    that’s the first thing that pops into mind.

    • YaiAou

      I’d like to react to the “begging gives birth to self pity” in this post and Misty Fowler definition of begging (“Begging tries to make someone feel guilty for saying no. It’s pushing someone to a place they don’t want to be.”). I think begging is mostly pushing yourself in a position you don’t want to be. As in many other comments I think it’s something you only do because you are desperate. No one like having to beg so it’s hardly something you should resent one for. Asking is not always pleasant but not often unpleasant, and sometimes exciting.
      Begging is not a choice.

      • Becca

        I have to say i disagree i’m afraid. That is….i agree that if somebody comes to me, begging desperately for something, i do not resent them. I may feel pity or compassion (but then i am a fairly compassionate person).
        But i disagree that begging is not a choice. It most definitely is. It is just an unpleasant choice that most people cannot or will not see a way out of.

      • Marianna Tsvitov

        I think we always have a choice. First of all, one has to make a series of choices in order to get to the position of having to beg. Begging is giving up control over your life to someone else, because it comes from a state of desperation. You can always choose to take that control back.

        • YaiAou

          Well it depends what you are begging for, and how desperate the situation is. Extremes but clear exemples:

          “Please please pretty please mum I beg you, let me go to AFP show!”
          “I beg you sir, don’t kill my children.”
          I would say that you have a choice in both, but on the second case self-pity or taking control back is mostly out of the picture. “You always have a choice.” is an easy statement as it tends to be true, but which choice you do have is a more interesting question, and it does not always depend on yourself.

          Back to less extreme situations, I think that if someone is begging, it’s because they feel desperate and they don’t see other way out. Maybe it’s not true that there isn’t one but it’s how they see the situation; it’s not choosing the easy way.

          • Juniper_Blue

            YaiAou … I like your insight.

    • Juniper Blue

      To quote Aiste’ :”asking gives birth to bravery and begging gives birth to self pity’.

      May I suggest a subtle shift in this?

      Asking may lead to encouragement but begging often leads to despair (as it is the result of desperation).

  • Shabnam Salek

    first of all: I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK. i’m sure it will be wonderful, whatever shape it takes.

    and second of all, to answer the question: in my mind the word “begging” has a connotation of desperation behind it, as if there is no other option but to depend on others, lest you be royally fucked. on the other hand, to me the word “asking” doesn’t really have that sense of desperation, as if it would be very nice to have that help, but the person asking could still make it through whatever troubles they’re facing without it.

    and in that sense, begging to me puts more pressure on the potential helper than merely asking- when you include that sense of desperation, you might make the other person feel obligated to help (or, conversely, make them uncomfortable and push them away…). asking just…doesn’t have that gravity(?) behind it; the other party doesn’t have that pressure on them, so the decision to help comes more from the heart than from some sense of necessity.

    i hope that made sense. i’m a wordy motherfucker.

  • S Elkins

    To ask to me generally means you’re thinking of yourself as well as the person you’re asking something of. You think of how they feel, and what they might need and/or be able or willing to do.
    To ask is more polite, like “Would you please go to sleep?”

    Begging usually means that while you may have thought of the person you’re requesting something from, you know they are less inclined to do whatever it is you ask of them. You push that aside because you’re thinking of yourself, your needs, unless you’re begging them to do something for them self because they fore go that sort of thing normally. Like “PLEASE DEAR GOD GO TO SLEEP”

    I’m probably rambling. I should not offer advice when I just wake up and haven’t caffeinated myself yet.

  • Callum Robertson

    The difference to me feels like desperation. For example, if you were to ask for money it implies that things would be easier for you if they were to provide you with said money, but it isn’t essential that you’re given it. Begging, however, suggests a last resort to some extent, as if you can’t survive without it. Maybe I’m babbling shit though. Who knows.

  • DeepakK

    I see it as a need vs. want thing. If you absolutely need something, you will beg. By begging, you’re putting your pride and any power you would have in the relationship aside. Asking is generally reserved for things which don’t require the response you wanted, giving you power to bargain or leave the situation if you need to.

  • Frank B

    I think it’s got a lot to do with from which position of the person doing the asking/begging.

    Begging comes from a place of desperate need, no matter whether it’s a need we all can agree is real (such as need for housing or food) or something that is perhaps real only to the person doing the begging. Begging is used as a last chance to get your needs met. It’s kind of weird that it’s also become synonymous with laziness in some people’s minds, as if beggars are begging because they are too lazy to get a job. There’s also the guilt associated with begging – guilt in the person for feeling humiliated by doing the begging, guilt in the person not being able to give the begging person what they need, guilt when they do help maybe because they don’t need to beg?

    Asking is more equal. Begging seems to mean that you absolutely rely on what the other person has to offer. You need something from them. Asking is the beginning of a conversation or an exchange.

    Another difference, I think, is how the kind of help you’ll get will change. If someone’s begging, it’s like… beyond reason or discussion, almost. You’re not equal. If you help someone get what they’re begging for you help them survive, but if you get them what they’re asking for, you help them grow, maybe? Also, two people who are begging can’t help each other, but if you’re both asking, you have something to offer and exchange with each other. You both come from the same position of curiosity and openness.

  • Anonymous

    To beg is to imply: if you cannot help me, my suffering is your fault. I abdicate all responsibility for myself and my situation. You are a bad person for letting this happen to me. To beg is to put the onus on the hearer of the plea, which is fundamentally unfair and unkind.

    Asking, however, has no implications. To ask is to give the hearer of the request space to fairly evaluate and decide, with no guilt, shame, or blame attached.

    Children beg. Adults ask.

  • Ashlea321

    I think part of the difference is in the attitude of the listener.

    That attitude is affected by the words of the asker, of course, but an amenable person will see a request and a person who is not in full sympathy will see begging.

  • Andratte

    Guilt. At least on the receiving end. Ask me anything. I can say no. Beg and then my conscious will become part of the decision. The option to say no and move on with my day has been removed. I am forced to decide and perhaps bend in ways that I might not want to. Begging limits a persons options.

  • veddymeddy

    Asking comes from a place of faith…faith in an answer being given. Faith that if the answer is “no” when a “yes” was hoped for or needed, that a “yes” may come from another source. Begging comes from a lack of faith that any answer, especially a “yes”, will ever come.

  • Armalite

    I agree with everything that’s been said before, but I would add this: from the other person’s POV, being asked mean they can say no and not feel bad, which is not the case when someone begs.

  • crypticisms

    Asking, you can live with a No answer; begging, you’re not sure you can.

    ASIDE: I am a proofreader by day-job and would happily volunteer a quick proofreading cycle to your ms. at any point.

    love, dodo (“In My Mind” diy-shirt and fake lavender braids @ the Virginia house party)

  • Emster

    For me, the difference between asking and begging is the confidence you have that your appeal will be answered favorably. Others have noted the desperation that usually accompanies begging. But is the desperation out of need, or the degree to which you feel you must sell your ask? Perhaps both. Begging FEELS like you have to really debase yourself in order to be heard.

    Asking is simple. You offer your appeal and that is it. Perhaps you are more confident that the askee will say yes. Perhaps you don’t mind if someone says no. But asking FEELS like a guileless activity. You are putting yourself out there, for better or worse, to be judged on the merits of your appeal.

  • Henry Holmes

    Beggars Can’t Be Choosers is the phrase, so you have that aspect of it.

    I think the most important difference is the relationship between the two parties. Begging is very much putting yourself below the beggee, and, as others said below, about relinquishing control, but asking seems like there’s more equality. The relationship is a lot healthier.

    Ooh, and begging implies a sort of debt. Asking can have this as a part of it, but isn’t as necessary.

    P.S. The book sounds amazing. I can’t wait.

  • Johnny Setlist

    On the surface the difference between asking and begging is simply the connotations each word has. Asking implies a request, a suggestion of something to be done or pondered whereas begging brings to mind pleading and suffering. I would always ask people to listen to my music, something I insist they do at their own pleasure and in their own time, but I would never beg them to. Begging implies desperation, and as much as I would like to heard by a bigger audience, I’d feel cheap and hollow if I were to grab someone arm, hand them an album and plead “PLEASE LISTEN! I NEED YOU TO LISTEN!” Of course, sometimes it is necessary to beg, whether it be for money from strangers on the street to buy food, or (in a more drastic circumstance) to beg for one’s life to be spared at the hands of a killer. Obviously asking in both those instances would be possible, and there’s something admirable and humane about someone merely asking you for money to get by, but sometimes being controlled and rational isn’t the most suitable option (but that’s a big discussion for another time). By asking we offer the chance for others to help and for them to take on some of the power while retaining some ourselves (after all, it takes power of self to have the dignity to strength to ask). Begging, on the other hand, transfers all the power in one fell swoop, and once it’s been given, it’s not always given back. The difference, it would seem, between asking and begging, is how much power you choose to use, and potentially, how much you lose.

  • Onanon

    The difference between asking and begging also has to do with the social contract you’re entering into. Begging implies pity being a major factor into whether or not the person being propositioned responds, whereas asking means that there are different factors, whether it be a personal connection or the inherent reward of whatever you’re contributing.

  • Sam Strachan

    Looking at it from the givers perspective, if they give something to someone who asks, they’ll get something in return, giving something to someone who begs you won’t get anything in return. Ok, that’s a very simplistic answer and giving money to a beggar you might get a warm feeling for helping them out, giving something to a busker, you get art, music, often more thanks in return. But again, that isn’t always the case, it’s a fine line.
    Asking seems more polite, whilst begging is more desperate and sometimes more annoying/pestering.
    Not the best answer, but these are my initial thoughts.

  • TaraAngelX

    The difference between begging and asking? Well, it depends on perception. From the perception of the person in need of help (both beggars and askers need something) it’s about outlook and implementation. The more I think about it – from the person in need’s perspective – there are too many grey areas. Pride certainly comes into play, as does how someone asks, as does where the request is coming from. For instance, one could say that a request made in person is asking, and one made to the general public on facebook is begging – but that isn’t true it is, it’s all about how the giver hears the message.

    This is my argument – much as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it the request in the eye of those requested of. I think it is all about whether people feel emotionally empathetic by the request or emotionally manipulated by the request. Someone who is considered a beggar, is someone who is actively attempting to emotionally manipulate someone to achieve a goal. Someone who is asking for help is someone who is looking for assistance that you might empathize with. It doesn’t matter how you think you are making a request – you may think you are asking – but the person hearing you is hearing you beg. In the end, as with almost everything, it’s all about perception.

  • Ingrid

    Being on the receiving end of asking, I feel like a peer. Being on the receiving end of begging, I feel superior

  • Dave

    The difference is what the asker / beggar implies happens if you refuse.
    With asking it is implied that a refusal leaves the asker in a basically good place that has just not been improved.
    With begging it is implied that the refusal has left beggar in a bad place, when otherwise they would be moved to a good place.

  • Guest

    Miss-posted, will re-post proper reply later… I’m new to this disqus stuff.

  • Joie Young

    Fundamentally, I see no difference between asking and begging. You have a need you cannot meet on your own and you are inviting others to fulfill it if they can.
    In practice, asking seems to be something we do of friends and begging seems to be something we do of strangers. What really changes between asking a friend for twenty bucks and asking a stranger for twenty bucks? I don’t see that much does – fundamentally – but that much of our internal attitude is what changes, which changes the practice.
    Now, I’m not saying this shouldn’t be the case. I support humanity reaching out to those they know first (giving our friends an opportunity to help solidifies the friendship, even in the case of a justified no) and then to strangers. But I don’t really think there’s much of a difference except inside our own heads.

  • Shannon Saar

    Asking is optional. Help would be grand, but you might be able to muddle through on your own. Begging is necessary. You’re backed up against a wall with no other options. You don’t care about your pride anymore; you can’t afford to. Begging is almost easier that way. Hold off on asking long enough, though, and you will need to beg instead.

    • Jersey Jenny

      Agree that desperation feeds begging. Asking for help sucks especially if you were raised that asking for help or anything else belies weakness…begging comes from a place of desperation. At that point you do not care what people think of your request. Basic human necessities override pride and the worry of what people will think of you.

  • Meg Sevier

    Asking can be terrifying, terrifying because it requires you to be held accountable and to really consider all aspects of the “ask.”

    Take this blog post for example: you asked us for help, but instead of just asking for the help, “Give me your thoughts, feedback, etc” you gave us the what, when, where, why, and how of the “ask.” You gave us a reason to want to help you.

    Begging, like a few have said before, is steeped with desperation and need without the who, what, when, where, why, and how to back it up. It doesn’t require the “beg-ee” (cause I hate the term beggar) to consider the role they play in the exchange.

    I recently asked for a raise, for a bump in my title. I had been “asking” for a while, but I realize now that until I added the why (why a raise for me benefits YOU the company) I had just been begging. I just assumed I deserved it without giving them a reason why.

    Asking puts a mirror to your face, begging blurs your reflection.

  • Amanda

    Asking is having the courage to try to accomplish your goals without only relying on yourself. It’s not necessarily life or death, it could be as simple as admitting to a professor that you don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about and you want some help. It could be as serious as asking a friend why they attempted on their life so you can try to heal together. It could even be asking the most talented drummer you know to possibly drum for free on a song you’re trying to record. I also tend to believe asking benefits both persons in the situation. First, the person you’re asking knows you want/need them for something and that right there is automatically a confidence booster having the knowledge that someone trusts you enough to request something of you. Another reason is sharing the experience. If you’re working on a project with someone, you both get to experience it, overcome hardships together, and accomplish something together. If its a teacher, they experience the fact that one less student is going to fail because they have the balls to ask.

  • Carmen V

    When you ask, you are open to the possibility that your request may not be fulfilled, you are considering that the other person might not be able to help, at least at that moment. When you beg, you don’t really care about the other person, you don’t really care if you make a full of yourself, the only important thing if to get what you want. Begging is selfish.

  • Becca

    It is just a matter of perspective. When i was homeless, and i had to ask for money or food…. i didnt consider myself to be begging. It was a politr request that a friend or a stranger might help me. If i had been on my knees pleading with them, i would have been begging. And i didn’t.

    Truthfully it is a matter of pride…. i didnt want to beg for things because then i would be demeaning myself even more. At least by asking there was a chance they might help…. and if they didnt i would just walk away and thank them for their time.

  • Amanda

    Begging, on the other hand, is total reliance. You’re most likely dealing with someone who can’t/won’t do whatever it is you’re asking and you need them to do it for you. You MUST have them do it for you. Begging is usually a very degrading experience, the admittance that you don’t know at all what the fuck to do and you have to do something and need help is very scary. I see it as the very stripping down of someone’s dignity, pride, and self for them to have to resort to actual, true begging. The other person usually has a huge power advantage as well. They are relinquishing all individual power on to total reliance on either yes or no.

  • Hannah Bruce

    With asking you still hold power. With begging, you don’t.

    Also, there’s a sense, with mainly friendships, but maybe beyond it, that you’ll return the favour, or give something back in someway, cause you have something to give. With begging, you don’t have anything to give back.

  • Mike S

    Begging is a largely one way relationship based upon assuaging the guilt (or fear) of the donor. Asking is based more on an ongoing relationship where there may be a result, a (mutual) reward or it may be pure altruism.

  • Sarah V.

    I’m not entirely sure this is correct or complete but… my first thought was that when you are asked for something, both parties expect a constructive, positive outcome. E.g., asking your parents to drive you somewhere for a school project; asking your blog readers for help with a manuscript; asking on Kickstarter for help to fund an art project; asking a co-worker to assist you in meeting a deadline. You give help because you feel like your contribution will help that person accomplish something worthwhile.

    But when it is begging, you’re not sure the result will be constructive or positive. E.g., someone on the street asking for money and you have the feeling it’s going to feed an addiction; someone begging you for the answers to a test; begging a co-worker to finish a project for you so you can leave early that day; begging your friends and family to help fund your unfunded Kickstarter three hours before it ends, even though they didn’t fund it in the first place because they don’t think you picked an achievable goal. You might help, but it’s reluctant and with misgivings.

  • Lee Rose

    you can only do one at a time.

  • pie-chow-yak

    I think the main difference is that when you ask you give the person a choice. Begging is trying to force the person to do/give what you want (or need). Asking is a request, begging is a demand. If you ask and someone says no there is no hard feelings. If someone begs and you deny there is resentment.

  • Marko Fančović

    asking is like courtship; begging, you are already naked and panting

    • Jane Elliot

      love this definition, made me smile.

      • Marko Fančović


    • MellyG

      This is a perfect definition!

    • Karrie Anaya

      I loved this definition! I agree with a few of the definitions that are posted here, and thought long and hard about what to write, if I was going to write at all. Asking is putting yourself out there for one of many possibilities of answers, but it is always something you can turn and ask someone else. When you have resorted to begging, you tend to lay it all bare and stand there exposed waiting for someone to either give in to your needs, or tell you to keep on begging and lay yourself out there to someone else. I also think that it entails the difference between needs and wants. You want something, you ask and try to get it but if you need it, really need it, you will do whatever it takes, say whatever it takes, to get what it is that you are needing.

      • Alia

        Your impulses are to be trusted! Hey, I’m the type to think long and hard, like you, but I responded impulsively with the thoughts that came to me first and foremost.

    • Guest

      I love this!

    • Carly

      I love this! In a far less eloquent way, I’d say asking works by being open whereas begging works on guilt.

    • Ashli Aaron

      This was beautifully and articulately put. Begging is also urgency and need, whereas when you ask you’re open to where it goes.

    • Jake

      I love this. Couldn’t put it better.

    • Evelyn

      A great response, cutting right into the centre of the question.

    • mizz corrie

      indeed ,,,,well said !!!and absolutely apt!!

    • Kennedy Wednesday

      nice. i might quote you.

  • posting as a guest

    Buddhist monks and nuns “beg” for their meals in traditional societies. But in those places (e.g. Thailand), the activities of the monks and nuns are seen as a community good, benefiting the health and well-being of all members of the community. This is a compact that evolved over a long period of time.

    In more atomized societies, we have replaced these kinds of compacts with a transaction approach — i.e. commodification and monetization.

    I recommend Marx’s Labor Theory of Value; Buddhist philosophies and the life of the historical Buddha; and even the work of non-Marxian economists and anthropologists, who look at barter vs. the commons. (Including the Tragedy of the Commons).

  • thereal_attentive

    So, for me, the difference is in expectation and delivery tools.

    Asking basically follows the form “You don’t owe me anything and you’re free to say no, but I’d like to ask a favor of you. Would you please XYZ?” No guilt. No demand. No arm twisting or psychological games. Just a simple request. You acknowledge you have no hold on the person and they have no obligation to you. It acknowledges your desire, but respects the other person and accepts their choice.

    Begging has a targeted “need” and desired outcome in mind and will use whatever “marketing” is required to convince a target to comply. Guilting, shaming, tugging at heart-strings, possibly even lying. It’s all about doing whatever performance is required to achieve the end you want. It’s all about you and your desire. The other person/people are just “marks” to be manipulated to get what you want – no respect.

  • Nikki

    I think it’s less about what you’re doing, and more about how other people see what you’re doing. You can ask for something, and people will respond one way. If you “beg” for that same thing, they’ll react differently. It’s about the tone — begging implies need, while asking implies want.

    You seem to come across the issue of language and tone often, probably because you’re vocal and honest; a lot of what you do is about context. Your immediate audience knows that when you ASK volunteer musicians to play on stage with you, you’re working off of a give and take relationship that you’ve built your career on. But the people who haven’t seen you build that career are more likely to see it as begging. Because it could be interpreted as asking for charity, or for free service, it’s begging.

    Your fanbase splits into “Us. vs. Them” sometimes, which I have trouble viewing as a good thing; but in this case, I honestly believe that the difference lies in where you stand in terms of the person who’s asking — or begging.

    • esmertina

      You know, I was thinking about this last night. I think it’s true that you ask for what you want but you beg for what you need … but at the same time having someone beg you is offputting while having someone ask you can be really positive and even flattering. You would think we would feel better about giving people what they need, rather than what they just want, right?

      I live in the city so I am panhandled daily, there is a constant flow of begging going on. And apart from supporting local charities and buying the Street Sense homeless newspaper, I never hand them my change. I guess because I suspect it’s not a genuine need — they say they need a sandwich, but really they want drugs or alcohol. At the same time, when the person in front of me in line at CVS is short, or I see someone out of quarters at the meter, I never hesitate to say “don’t worry, I’ve got it.” I never question whether they really need that expensive toothpaste, or if they really need to park. In the first case, I feel like I’m being taken advantage of; in the second, I feel that I am doing a good deed.

      So yeah, there are little judgments going on, all the time. Tying it back to your example of the musicians kerfuffle, I think you’re right. The exact same action will be judged as asking or as begging by different audiences, based on their pre-existing judgments or prejudices.

      So whether you’re Amanda or anyone else, no matter how noble your intentions in asking, you can’t prevent people from pointing and screeching that you are a beggar.

  • Alicia Luma

    To ask makes a gift of the thing given, to beg makes it alms. You ask, face to face, equal, on your feet, and you beg on your knees. It is an issue of equality and of the quality involved in the offering. Begging smacks of coercion and asking recognizes the kindred nature of all souls being both full of need and full of bounty.

  • Tenshi Akui

    Asking is a request. Be it one for help, for input, for someone to grab the ladder while you get the hammer. It’s simple, Asking lacks the emotional, even if the result could be emotional. Begging is visceral, the emotions tied to the request so deep they become not just part of the request, but the very reason for it.

    The act of asking does not expose anything about you, save your immediate need.
    Begging, begging however exposes the raw hidden self that few ever see.

  • LCD

    Asking describes a neutral transaction with no implied bias toward yes/no.

    Begging describes a transaction where one party is seen to be suffering and pleads his/her/ze’s case to another party who is implied to be biased against granting it.

    So for me, I think the answer comes down to the power dynamic. Asking doesn’t bring one in, begging implies one exists already. I think the unequal power dynamic of begging also cross-references with issues of dignity, entitlement, privilege, etc.

    (Also, hi! I’m new!)

  • Richard Bliss

    Nothing. On the outside they are the same thing.

    It is in the mind and the place that a person comes from that determines the answer. Place means, what place in their spirit and their heart. This is for both the asker and the giver. Are you ashamed to ask? Then you feel like you are begging. Are you embarrassed or offended by the asker, then they are begging.

    Overcoming this internal dialogue helps overcome the feeling of shame or embarrassment that tags the act with the stigma of begging.

    • Staryx

      I had a nugget of thought that I think would’ve lead me to your answer, but it would’ve been quite awhile before it got refined enough to be as concise as how you stated it. Bravo sir. I agree completely.

      • Richard Bliss

        Thanks for the compliment. I speak with so many people who fear the stigma of begging when trying to ask for money for their crowdfunding project. It is their own fear and shame that keeps them from seeing that the label is in their own mind.

        • Joanne Sprott

          Yep, definitely in the mind, of both the asker and askee.

    • Becca

      I agree. It definitely is a matter of the individual’s perception. If you feel it is demeaning to ask, or if you feel it is demeaning to be asked. Purely an emotional reaction to a situation where one person requires something that they cannot gain by themself.

      • Richard Bliss


        Well said. The emotional reaction to feeling vulnerable. Thanks for the comment

        • Becca

          Er.. thanks. But my name’s not Alice. Xx

          • Richard Bliss

            Fixed. Sorry about that.

    • RichBury

      Morality is also an issue, surely. Especially in the context of its particular society or culture. Begging within the Indian caste system is an entirely different matter to plonking yourself down on the pavement outside Harrods and holding out a plate.

  • saoili

    You ask for things you want, you beg for things you (feel you) need.

    If you ask me, I feel that it is okay for me to say no. If you beg from me, I feel some obligation to say yes.

    Asking is a question ‘can I have?’, begging is an imperative ‘give me’.

    Asking is a pleasant interaction between equals. Begging is a plea to a person with power, from a person without.

    Asking, and being asked, are nice. Neither begging nor being begged from is nice.

  • I Am Me

    When you beg you’re seen as someone who needs it with despiration. When you beg you’ve fallen low, you’re despirate, you are the one in the gutter looking up at those around you. It’s more vulnerable. It’s more personal. It is often more ignored.

    When you ask you request. You’re on the street walking with every other person when you all of the sudden drop your bag with hands full you simply ask the man walking to.pick it up for you, which he does. This is

    All begging is asking, but all asking is not begging.

  • Lmccj

    It’s about options. Someone begging doesn’t believe they have too many options. Someone asking could ask someone else or ask for something else but, they definitely see their options.

  • Caroline

    Begging I think implies that you have no other options left. The edge of desperation that is associated with it doesn’t necessarily come from how much you want the thing begged for, but the feeling from the person begging that a, there is no other way to get what they want, they cannot get it for themselves and that b, the thing begged for is so important, so vital that not getting it is disastrous.

    i.e. People would beg for food/shelter or other essentials at the base Maslow’s hierachy of needs, but ask for the salt to be passed.

    Problems arise from a couple of issues. What you might consider essential and unable to get for yourself, I might not perceive the same way. In that case the response to your beg would be one of “why should I help you when you can help yourself?” or “What do you need that for anyway?”.

    If it’s the other way around, there’s probably less of an issue. If I were asked for something I thought was absolutely necessary to give, like an injured person asking to call an ambulance, there wouldn’t be a question of me doing it. However in that case it’s maybe more likely that the person wouldn’t ask at all in the first place.

    One of the reasons that asking is hard is that when you need to ask for something, there is a fear that someone will consider it to be begging and will be asking those judgemental questions about whether you NEED to ask someone, whether it’s essential and why you just can’t sort it out on your own.

    There’s a fear that ALL occasions of asking for something equate to begging and that if you can’t justify answers to all those questions, then you shouldn’t be asking at all.

  • S P Wallace

    The difference is power: you ask when you know you hold some of the power, you beg when you know you hold none of it.

  • Hunchie

    I like how when I read your blogs, it is as though you are talking to me, me, me. I take a step back and see all the comments and say – oh ya. not me, us. :) Steppin in line to help when called upon *salute*

    • Hunchie

      maybe I should pay better attn. I agree – begging = no other options, last resort. Asking – standing; Begging – knees.

  • Alice

    I think that the main difference, and the difference which causes the word “begging” to have negative connotations that the word “asking” doesn’t, is the relationship between the two people involved. The way I’d interpret it is that “begging” suggests a something along the lines of “I need/want this” whereas “asking” is more “will/can you give me this”. It’s a subtle difference but, I think “begging” creates this image of a one way relationship, it’s about the person taking, whereas “asking” is the two way relationship of giving and taking. We associate the word “begging” with the word “beggar” – the action defines the individual and at the same time the individual defines the action. There is no word for someone who gives to someone who begs. I think that “begging” also implies throwing out a call to a faceless crowd or audience. In other words it’s about the taker not the giver. On the other hand, the word “ask” is purely an action, and an action that everyone does every day. It doesn’t define anyone, it’s simply a way of achieving something. It also suggests a more personal interaction, when you ask, you ask a person or a group of people specifically and so create a two way relationship – it’s about the giver and the taker in equal measure.

  • Mike smith

    in my opinion the difference between asking and begging is the way its done and how much respect you have for the person you want something from, begging is when you don’t accept an answer you don’t want so you harass the person to try and force them to give you what you want. asking is having respect for the other persons decision and accepting their response even if it is not the one you want.

  • Chris Miller

    If I ask someone for something, I incur an obligation to them. If I ask someone for help, it implies I’m available to help them at some point in the future. If I help a friend move, I expect they’ll help me move in the future. I’m a tall guy, so when I’m in grocery stores I get asked to reach items on high shelves. The short person’s only obligation to me is to say “thanks”. And that’s a pretty powerful thing there, and part of our societal construct. You can call it karma, or the “do unto others” attitude, but it’s a real thing no matter what. On topic, if an artist asks me for money in exchange for art, they have an obligation to provide art. That said, it may not be the art I want, but it’s more often the art I need, even if I wasn’t aware of it. Good artists are like that.

    Begging implies no obligation. I’ll give someone something, and expect no return. The stock, and intellectually lazy, case of begging is homeless people. That’s tired and talked to death, so let’s look at begging from a different angle: Politicians, in my mind, beg, because there’s no obligation for them to do anything I want them to do if I contribute to their cause. I may have an expectation that they’ll behave a certain way, but politicians don’t behave to expectations, they behave to polls and expedience. They are outside the social contract in that not only do their donors give knowing they aren’t getting any obligation, but the donors fully realize that as soon as another donor comes by with more money and a different cause that the course of the politician will change, possibly in ways contrary to their desires.

    So the TLDR version is that asking implies reciprocity, even in trivial ways, and begging doesn’t have that implication.

    • DSuperAwesome

      YES! YES! YES! Very well put!

  • Kendra

    Asking is imploring. Begging is when they’ve already said no. If they say yes after you’ve begged, it’s out of pity.

  • Emma

    I think begging is usually a judgement put on people by others. Only people who are truly desperate would actually think they are begging. Though there are desperate people who wouldn’t even ask… I am pretty sure that I would only in the most extreme cases think I was begging, my pride would always see me as asking…so maybe it is all to do with perception…

  • Cantabridgian

    I’m asking you vs I’m begging you. The latter implies that something bad is going to happen if you don’t respond. As such it is a veiled threat- even if the person doesn’t intend it to be that way.
    Begging is passive aggressive asking.

  • Heather Michaud

    My first thoughts on the question, before reading all the comments, (so sorry if I duplicate an answer) are as follows: asking is intellectual and begging is emotional. Asking is about expanding your knowledge and your support system by gleaning advice and assistance from others who can fill gaps you may have in your own life – whatever aspect may be. Begging is an emotional plea when someone feels they have no other choice. It doesn’t come from wanting to expand your knowledge or wanting peers to prop you up, it comes from a place of desperate need (perceived or real, either way makes no difference). I don’t necessarily see one as better or more positive than the other. I think it is ingrained in us that begging is bad, and that asking for help is begging. I wish that attitude would change. Now, I am going to read everyone else’s comments.

  • Hayley Fiasco!

    Asking is putting it out there that you need or want something (be it something physical, or something intangible), opening yourself up to let other people assist you. Begging on the other hand, goes beyond asking, it’s demanding an action from someone else to persuade them to do it, rather than allow them to freely decide upon themselves to offer you what you have asked for.

  • Jan Abanes-Dating

    Asking and begging may look similar in purpose but let’s take semantics into account.

    Helping someone who asks is not compulsory, since basically all he/she (or rather you) is (are) doing is making a request, such that if it must be that one will have to say that one can’t help another, then everything’s just cool about it. The asker can just ask other people anyway. It’s more of a want.

    Contrary to asking, begging actually ‘begs’ one for help out of desperation, need, rather than out of want, or desire. A person who begs another person may have picked that particular another because he/she may not have anyone else to beg help from, may not have any other choice, or does really trust that person to the point that the latter can help the former anytime. It’s more of a need.

    In conclusion and relating this to your TED talk and Kickstarter effort, though the whole KS thing may be misinterpreted as begging because we may be considered as the lifeline of your (EPIC) career, you were indeed asking the (ever loving and harbor of amazingly awesomesauce humans) AFP fanbase for help since sadly, not everyone of us can help you (but then we’ll surely make up for it soon when we can though).

  • Bikil

    It would seem that begging has a skewed power structure while asking is more balanced. I don’t think either one requires reciprocation, but it seems that the power is different. If I’m begging someone for something, they have a certain amount of power over me, if I’m asking them for something, we are balanced in power, but I need help that I can’t do myself.

    Honestly, i have problems with both of them. It is really hard for me to even ask someone for anything, and begging seems out of the question. Begging seems debasing to me. And if someone begs me for something, I feel that power imbalance and I don’t like it, I want to deal with peers, with people on my level, not someone who is trying to make me feel like I have more power than they do. I have gotten to a point where I can finally ask for help if I need it, but I can’t beg. I just can’t do it, and I don’t like it being done to me.

  • Didac Forte

    When you beg you are trying to make the deal more attractive by offering some of your status in return. It is not clear whether asking itself implies a loss of status.

    Some people think that the very act of asking is intrinsically demeaning.

    It’s difficult to adopt a dignified asking stance. Perhaps stating clearly, without recurring to legalese, how you expect the transaction to work out: You give nothing in return. No status, no money, nothing. Giving is purely optional.

  • Delpha.Blue

    I agree with others here. The difference is the position of power. When you are asking, you hold the power and are clarifying your available resources. When you are begging, you are giving the power to solve or not solve your problem to someone else.

  • Laura Jones

    Using yourself and the TED talk as an example, I’ve seen a few too many people saying ‘I’m taking Amanda’s advice and not being afraid to ask’ and then proceed to plug/ask/promote/beg. It looked a little too easy for them to ask to be able to say that…

    There’s a fine line and I see it dance too often into begging. Begging has negative connotations, asking less so. It’s about where you’re coming from. (Financially, reputation, fame, shame etc) I worry that some people who take the understanding that ‘asking is hard’ abuse it. It’s not hard for them to ask but they attach a faux veil that claims they do find it hard to ask – that’s where I see begging.

    When it’s genuinely hard, risky, gut wrenching, cringey to ask, it’s asking.
    When it’s second nature and easy to pretend it’s hard to ask, it’s begging.

  • Alice Bremner Watt

    I think the difference comes in the balance of power.
    Asking for something, you have the power. You are strong enough to ask for it in the first place but you’re still prepared to deal with not getting what you want or need.
    In begging, you’re giving the power to someone else. It implies that you’re at someone else’s mercy.

  • Gwenno Elin Hughes

    Asking is a question, begging is a request. You ask for a cup of tea and you should beg for someone’s heart.

  • M

    I would say begging has more stigma attached and generally has a negative connotation. Begging is presented as something that oughtn’t be done and that a person who’s being begged for something shouldn’t grant the request. It puts the person who begs in a submissive position, because if the other person gets the impression that they’re begging them for something, it’s very easy to get a sense of power. ‘That person needs me and only I can help them, otherwise they wouldn’t go so low’ (again, the stigma). There’s also the danger of forming scenarios in your head which would show all the ways the begging person could have avoided that, had they just tried harder – which isn’t (always) fair, because while rationally it could have been avoided (maybe, depends on each individual case), the emotional aspects are often overlooked. Sometimes a person just couldn’t prevent bringing themselves into a situation where they have to beg someone for something and there’s no rational in there, just a crippling emotional state that prevented a different scenario.

    It’s not nice being trapped in that sort of ‘better than you’ position, but I suppose that comes from the stigma and the (un)said rule that emotional vulnerability in the presence of those that are not as equally emotionally open is a problem. Not just because the emotional person can get hurt, but because it makes them look silly. ‘Why so serious.’ ‘U care too much.’ ‘Chill.’ ‘Who cares.’ It’s very easy to be cynical about these things, because a lot of people are. It comes with the territory of being emotionally distanced.

    I’m not saying that people who refuse a person who begs are just too jaded and too cynical and in the wrong. Begging can also be the result of a prolonged emotional state where a person becomes too tied to a certain way of functioning, where begging becomes a frequent habit. And being indulged can lead to a subconscious thinking that since it works, it can be continued, despite the fact that constantly putting yourself into the hands of other people can have bad effects on your own feeling being able to do something yourself, instead of always asking others to do it for you.

    And this doesn’t even take into consideration begging as something a beggar on the street does. There’s a whole new dimension to that which I don’t feel qualified to talk about… But I find it interesting how some people make a distinction between those who just sit somewhere with a can and those that actively call after people or go from table to table in a café. Where the first is asking and the second is begging. A third one would be street performers, who could be considered to be delivering goods for money, thus asking only ‘in return’.

    And what’s additionally interesting are other people’s reactions to beggars. They wish it didn’t happen. Some because it’s unfortunate that people have no other means of getting money, but I’d venture that there’s a lot of those who don’t like it because it makes THEM feel uncomfortable. ‘If I give money, maybe I’m being ripped off. Maybe they have money and are doing this for the sake of more money’ or ‘If I don’t give money, I am a bad person because maybe their little child isn’t imaginary and is really going to die unless they get enough money.’

    Anyway, difficult question. Good luck with your book, though!

  • nevamae

    Also, Amanda, remember the NaNoWriMo community.

  • nevamae

    Asking=Open to input. Begging=Wanting a specific thing.

  • easternelf

    My roommate and I discussed this and have come up with an answer for you:
    Asking involves revealing your vulnerability and putting aside your pride in order to get assistance. Begging involves showing off your vulnerability as a tool to manipulate others. Intention is important to consider. When you ask, you are looking for assistance and support from an interested audience (a group or an individual) in order to succeed in a productive endeavor. You can *beg* anyone for something, but you’re just trying to get what you want with no personal connection.

  • Adam Israel

    I think that asking is unassuming, undemanding, like a busker with an open case or hat — please give in exchange for this moment of art. Or, in other, sometimes dire circumstances, asking is looking for help when help may be a burden but is necessary.

    Begging feels more like asking for something in exchange for nothing, not even a shared moment or connection. Give me, give me, give me. It’s take, not give.

    When I worked in Chicago, I had my share of experiences with homeless people in and around downtown. I was always a little proud of, and happy to give to, those selling StreetWise ( Life sucks, more for some, but most of them weren’t trying to take. They were sharing — of themselves, their story — and I gave.

  • DJ Enigma

    Asking is making a connection, opening an exchange, beginning a
    dialogue. “Look at me.” Output, input, output. It’s personal, with
    implicit investment from all parties involved. Asking is a promise: this
    will be worth it. Now or later. I promise.

    Begging is one-way, no exchange. No promises. Preferably depersonalized. “Don’t look at me.”

    You WANT to ask. No shame.

    You NEED to beg. Shame.

  • Jacy Rush

    the difference between asking and begging stems wholly from the approach. Asking demands respect and yet is gentler – while begging typically results in a lowering of self beneath the askee. Begging and asking both arise from a need to be helped, however, a person begging is so desperately in need that he or she may be willing to compromise value systems and moral codes in order to gain the needed thing. Asking is more complex, formal but casual. The asker may be denied but generally will keep level headed while remembering the long term goal of gaining what is being asked, keeping the self in tact and connecting with others on an level playing field. I see begging as a product of shortsightedness – the need to attain something so immediately that connections with people and the general self get lost.

    So okay, there’s a marketing term called “marketing myopia” which begins to exist when a business focuses too much on selling the product itself and not on the need that the product is satisfying. When this happens, it means that the business is too concerned with short term sales of that product. However, if a business is able to stay focused on the needs of people while making genuine connections, it is usually more successful than the one that is unable to rise above the before mentioned myopia.

    This term relates back to begging and asking by reminding us that it is inherently human to seek instant gratification in any possible way – which can lead to “getting what you want” but skips over the personal aspects of…well, life. But by looking toward a longer term goal and remembering that people are interested if approached the right way, much more can be gained and a brighter light can be shed on people in need. To fuel compassion, simply, well…. ask – don’t beg.

  • is

    Begging, is demanding a certain answer or thing, and it puts you in a subordinate position. Asking, is being open to any answer…

  • Stephanie Kropp

    Begging is an act of desperation. When you beg someone for something, it implies that if this person does not help you, no one will. That person is your last hope, your last shot, at fulfilling that want or need. You have no choice when you beg someone for something. That person is your only choice. They still have a choice, however, because they can choose to help you or not help you.

    Asking implies that the person you are asking was chosen. You respect them. They are the best person to fulfill whatever it is that you need. There is choice involved for both parties. You chose that particular person for a reason and that person can choose to help you or not.

    You beg when you are in a hopeless situation. You ask when you have options.

  • @zoe_broom

    Asking does not eploit rhetoric like begging does. An acceptable response to an ask is ‘no’ while the only acceptable negative response to a beg is ‘sorry’. People resent being manipulated.

  • JW

    I’ve not read the other comments so forgive me if I’m repeating what others have said already…

    To me, asking is making a request which whilst if it’s responded to positively would be a bonus, it wouldn’t be a disaster if the response was to be negative. It implies that there may be a plan B somewhere.

    Asking is requesting, begging is pleading.

    Begging has an element of desperation – there is no plan B, this is the only hope.

    Begging may be harder to ignore for some, but for others it may be more likely to engender feelings of anger and resentment. Asking means anything given is given because someone wants to give, not because they would feel guilty if they didn’t.

    These are just my initial top of the head thoughts – am sure others have wiser words to offer…

  • Mariah MacCarthy

    You know what I think the difference is? GRATITUDE. Begging is, “Can you pleeeeeeeeease do this thing for me because the world will end if you don’t.” It ceases to become begging when you say, “Thank you for everything you’ve already done and for believing in me.”

  • Jon Lane

    When you ask for something, a denial simply means that you’re no worse off than before. When you’re begging, a refusal can make your life a lot worse. We beg when we’re desperate: when we see no other options in front of us, and if we don’t get the help we need soon, dire consequences await.

    All too often, we refrain from asking for help until we are forced to beg for it…

  • Ruth

    I think you can simply ask even if the need is great. Begging involves revealing the need as part of the asking. It sometimes also implies that without revealing the need, the request might be turned down, and might even be turned down anyway.

    • Stephanie Axberg

      “Begging involves revealing the need as part of the asking.” YES.

  • Stephanie Axberg

    I feel like asking vs begging, in some ways, has a lot to do with perceived status. When I ask someone for something, it is on an equal playing field most of the time. It’s a meeting of equals, and each person has equal power in the exchange. One person has the power to ask, the other person has the power to either agree or disagree, but each person’s role in the exchange is given equal respect. Begging usually happens when someone, either on-purpose or without realizing it, debases themselves to the other person or persons, maybe hoping that the perceived power differences will cause the other people to feel sorry enough for them to do the thing for them? There are certain kinds of people that get off on this power difference, from both sides… some people play the “victim” (this is not to be confused with actual victimization, these people are usually capable enough, they just find it easier or more expedient and effective to play the victim) and some people get off on playing “master” in a begging situation. It can be pretty heady having that power over someone else, and wielding it, I guess.

    Now, if something starts out as asking, on equal footing, but the asker is denied their request, the intensity of their need might ratchet up their asking to begging, because now the power structure has changed. I think that maybe the difference between asking and begging is the ability to take “no” as an answer. If what you are asking for is important enough to you, and that person or people are the ONLY ones who can give it to you, then they hold all the power. Conversely, If you can take the “no”, the other person has no power over you, you can just walk away, no problem.

  • Toni

    To me, asking is making a request for information or inquiring about something.
    Begging is to request a gift, a favor, or charity. It is requesting someone to give something or
    do something for you. Begging carries with it a vulnerability and/or guilt.

  • Jackie

    The difference is in the degree of desperation. You can almost look into someone’s eyes and see the difference without even hearing them speak.

  • James O’Leary

    My initial thoughts were of power and attachment.

    Asking is empowering to yourself because it is about opening up to being helped or not. It doesn’t imply expectation, and it doesn’t imply reliance on a specific outcome. And the power isn’t based on what the reaction is, the power is in the action of asking.

    Begging is giving power to another person (or people). It is always reliant on the reaction, and there is always an attachment to the outcome.

  • Mary Jane

    I think the difference between the two is not in the action itself but the way it is viewed:

    begging and asking are the same action, but in a scenario of begging it’s the beholder who sees the person doing the begging as pathetic/deserving of pity/desperate/not having the right to ask. The need is not viewed as legitimate.

  • Claudia D

    I am not sure the asker/beggar is the one that decides the difference between the two. I know that when I ask for something it carries the hope that I will be answered and get what I want. I believe that I ask for what I want and try my hardest to get it and the person being asked decides whether it is asking or begging depending on her own set of values and resources. It seems as if they can give me what I want and think it worthy then my request becomes dignified and is called asking. But if they can’t provide it or judge the request unworthy then it is looked down on and becomes begging.

  • revsparker

    Good question. Amazing answers. So much about power here. The review that first inspired this question accused you of “begging.” I think that was a reaction to you as a powerful woman. It was a demeaning choice of words that intentionally framed the controversy around your invitation to musicians in a way that made you seem less powerful and more desperate.

    I think there is a power analysis that goes deep into our hierarchical culture. It’s not as easy as “oh, just develop your inner power and you’ll never have to beg again.” Our cultures is predicated on some people being more powerful than others. The stigma around begging is way of shaming the less powerful. The author of the article was (probably subconsciously) reinforcing the hierarchy by downplaying your power as a woman. (and a woman who doesn’t follow the rules of the system.)

    Remember, you’d just raised over a million dollars. You upset the hierarchical order of things. You didn’t follow the rules of gender, class OR the music industrial complex and you still succeeded. Beyond anyone’s expectations of what was possible. For some that made you a genius, but for many, it was “Witch!” Some attacks were direct and overt. Some were more subtle. Like saying you “begged” musicians to play for free.

    The comments here leave me with one nagging worry–that it’s easy to blame the victim. In this case, people who must beg. Having watched so many trans* friends and others who are hated by the system, I just want to ask for compassion for people reduced to begging, whether for money, love, or acceptance. The rules and the way they are enforced are real and sometimes brutal. People are left to subsist in a system that requires conformity to get rewarded. And the rewards are real…jobs, housing, medical care, food, clothing…life itself. They are all too often begging for their lives. I would do the same.

    The way you describe the book you want to write reminds me of the way Kate Bornstein writes. I wonder if she would be another good support person for you in this. She’s certainly knows a lot about life as an “outlaw.” (one who intentionally breaks the rules of the system.)

    I am VERY happy you’re going to write this book. I predict it will be as much about compassion as it will be about asking. <3

    • Stephanie Axberg

      “The comments here leave me with one nagging worry–that it’s easy to blame the victim. In this case, people who must beg.” I wrote just a tiny little bit about this in my response. I think that there are two types of people, and the danger is in the difficulty telling them apart. There are a certain kind of people who like to play the victim… and I know this because, however much it embarrasses me to say, I used to be one of them. Nothing that happened to me was ever my own fault, and I could never be responsible for where life led me, and when I needed something, it almost always came to begging. It took some things happening in my life to wake me up and make me realize that the power was in my hands the entire time, and the culpability for where I had ended up. I like to think that I am doing way better now, and it’s a lot harder for me to *ask* for anything now, since I came from a place where I used to beg.

      So yes, there are people who play the victim, and use it to manipulate the people around them or the system in general. The danger, and I think the heart of your worry, is that there ARE real victims out there. There are people who have been placed in situations where, because of the strength of people or systems who have more power than they do, their choices have been whittled away to almost nothing and the options left are beg, and maybe something will change, or stay the same and die.

      There is a real danger there, and that is where I think we, as humans, have to stand up for those who have been oppressed to that point, but how do we tell the difference between real victims who are begging and reaching out for help and those who would manipulate and play on our emotions to get what they want?

      I don’t know the answer, I just try to be compassionate to those around me, and to save my energy to help the people in my life who really deserve it, for those who helped me rise out of my old ways of thinking and being and who stuck with me.

      Anyway, thanks for the good point.

      • revsparker

        Watching the discussion develop is so fascinating. If begging = a demand then we have to go deeper with power analysis. People with power can demand and it’s not seen as begging. But if a person is in the “one down” position and demands something–not through authority/power, but through emotional appeal–that is seen as shameful begging.

        This gets back, I think, to how power is enforced/reinforced by the system. The image/concept of a powerful beggar doesn’t seem to exist. Yet we blame the beggar for their neediness, while the powerful demand all sorts of things–things they don’t really need, but that increase their power. (more money, being elected to ever more powerful office, etc.)

        Right now, shaming the poor is a big thing. Why do the poor think they deserve health care? a social safety net so they can have food? Education? We call access to necessities “entitlements.” As if people should be ashamed of needing these things.

        How we perceive need is a measure of our compassion.

  • Luka Riot

    I think the difference between asking and begging is almost entirely in the eye of the beholder. It’s society that attaches connotations to each at will. Which is a thought that was never more than only slightly in my brain until crowdfunding became a thing. And this will be the subject of my somewhat lengthy rant that follows. (I’d apologize, but I won’t. This is the first I’ve posted at all so I’m making up for lost time.)

    One could say begging involves desperation, while asking is merely being hopeful for help. That begging is to be at the bottom reaching up for any good human graces, and asking being at a place of contentedness just looking for more. But without personally knowing this beggar/asker, you can’t really know what their position is. You can’t know how they value what they have or don’t have. All you have is to impose your own views on the situation of another. Maybe that squeegee kid gives his change to charity. Probably not, but you don’t know, so how can one title be chosen above the other? And why does one have to be worse? (Asking questions when you wanted answers but hey, ideas can’t flow as freely if words are nothing but statements.)

    Some people go through weeks, months of planning out rewards for launching a Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign, and budgeting where their goal money will end up if they’re lucky enough to reach it, because traditional funding options either rejected them or just didn’t suit their values enough to apply in the first place. And then pitchfork-wielding, ignorant asshats come in with torches blazing crying “beggar!” Telling these driven, hard working individuals they have no right to ask for money on a public forum. Nevermind the stress and anxiety the asker has likely gone through before even putting pen to paper on the idea. Nevermind the vastly increased potential exposure in not only the funding stage, but in attracting future customers.

    But before I write you an essay, I must get back to work. The point of my points is I don’t find there to really be a difference between the two. At the heart of it I think they’re both the same, with a different set of circumstances that lead there.

  • Virgil Sargent

    Begging is when you throw away all pride and you’re at your lowest moment. The tears flow out, snot drips onto your shirt collar, but you still try to get whatever it is you need. Begging is the act of looking like a newborn(gross newborn, not “this is actually 3 weeks after the birth, awww!!” newborn) and hopefully surviving.

    Asking is just letting people know it’d be pretty fantastic if you could not wear trousers to work and you may just start doing that, if no one minds.

    • Fred K

      hilarious. I love it.

  • Manfred Werner

    Asking is between equals. Begging comes from an inferior position.

  • Kim

    my ex-girlfriend and I lost contact some years ago. I still thought about her a lot, and a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a go and build a friendship. I told her how I missed her and hoped we could stay in touch. she didn’t reply, though. so two weeks later, I asked her for a sign of life at least. she basically told me she thinks about me every day, but that it wasn’t the right time for this. I didn’t quite understand it, because if we miss each other, why could our friendship be wrong at any time? I wanted this friendship so bad by now that I couldn’t just give up trying. it was so obvious that I should stop asking her to be my friend, though, especially as she actually told me to between the lines. but it really hurt that she wouldn’t want me in her life anymore. I kind of emotionally undressed and at some point, I think I crossed the line from asking to begging. I was kind of begging her to want me in her life again. which is complete nonsense, I’d never want a friendship out of pity. I just wanted her to want it as well. I told her I was sorry, but that I couldn’t get my pride to stop me from writing her over and over again.. because I just miss her too much to accept it and give up hope.

    so for me, the difference between asking and begging is how you accept a negative response and maybe how desperate you are to get what you ask/beg for..

    right this second, I actually got another email from her. sometimes being stubborn pays off, I think.

  • Erika Ensign

    We ask for what we want. We ask for what we need. Sometimes we beg for what we need, because desperation can quickly turn asking to begging. When we beg for what we *want* instead of what we *need*, we’re failing both ourselves and the person we’re begging.

  • fairbetty

    Begging implies some kind of emotional attachment to the answer, rejection=devastation, acceptance=salvation. Asking is a step removed from that, emotionally… not to say that asking doesn’t involve emotion, it just still maintains some sense of dignity in the process.

  • Pam Pixie Greenhill

    From personal experience …. Asking is an empowering experience sometimes for both parties not just the asker I guess because a part of you believes and expects the answer will be yes … However begging is a degrading one it is a choice we make when there are no others and for the most part we don’t expect a yes, we hope but we don’t expect.

  • Jeda Lee

    hmm..good question…i reckon begging is a form of desperation and asking is the only way u will ever know the answer ….that is if your question is answered…P.S…your awesome Amanda :)

  • Kasey Crowell Perron

    To me, asking is basically being like “can you do this?” and either answer is ok, its not life or death and youre not gonna be pissed or screwed bc the person said no. Begging is when you keep asking and arguing your point trying to get what you want even when people say no. Its more of desperation.

  • Gary Geniesse

    As someone with kids: Asking is requesting it once. Begging is requesting it more than once.

  • Pelle Kuipers

    Asking is between equals, and when you beg you lower yourself. You want to have something the other person has and you don’t.

  • Baron_Heisenberg

    When you ask for something, you usually know precisely who you’re asking and what you’re asking for, but when you’re begging you’re desperate and there isn’t a choice in the matter.

  • metronv

    What comes immediately to mind is my father. He was a lifelong alcoholic. Over the years, we’ve both asked, and begged for him to quit drinking. The asking was a request, a rational request because it wasn’t healthy for him or those around him. When that didn’t work the begging began, which involved emotional pleading and showed how desperate we had become.

    So from my pov I would have to say asking and begging are very similar in that they are both requests, but there is an emotional element, a desperation that is wrapped up with begging.

  • juju

    asking is reaching out with trust. begging is grasping with desperate need.


    At the risk of repeating thoughts…. I have had to ask for help many times, from parents, siblings and friends. In the back of my mind has always been the thought that I would pay back what I was asking… in kind,literally, with the stuff I made, whatever. Begging seems to be more of a one way street… people give and it goes, well, wherever. Also asking implies a pre-existing relationship, otherwise it is , well, begging! Relationship is the key I suspect

  • Guest

    I’ve thought about this question a lot over the past few years. I think asking and begging come from two very different mentalities and energies. Asking is INVITATIONAL. It’s

  • fdhbstephanie

    First thought: asking carries the possibility for a reciprocal relationship, begging carries too much baggage (begging for mercy versus begging and whining, an obnoxious beggar versus a truly needy beggar pleading for help). We all read begging from a specific point of view at any given time whereas ask is more open.

  • notthekillingtype

    how many times you ask.

  • Nicholas Goroff

    One can ask without being in need. This is not to say they don’t need at the time they ask, but they do so knowing they may end up going without and, being prepared to do so. Asking for a raise at work, asking for emotional or financial help from a friend of family member, asking the cop who stopped you for a broken tail light to cut you some slack because you just paid your rent and have no money for the fine…these are things you ask for in earnest but know you may not receive. Things you prepare yourself ahead of time to live and go on without.
    When one is reduced to begging, its a matter of absolute need. Its a last ditch effort to make do, get by, struggle and survive. Its the end of the rope or the line or the road, when one is reduced to only the singular option of hoping their desperate and final pleas for what they truly need are heard and responded to. In a sense, its the most honest of requests, as it, like with most aspects of utter desperation, come as naked pleas brought into the light of day, only after all pride and self assured conviction have fallen by the wayside. It is an investment of hope in the goodness and compassion of others and the desire for those who are on their knees with outstretched hands, that all is not lost and that in that eleventh hour, that someone, somehow, cares enough to help.

  • Erin

    The difference between asking and begging is that with asking, you are coming from a position of strength. You have a backup plan. If you don’t have a backup plan, you have the strength and resources to come up with one when it is needed. With begging, this is it. This is your last chance. It’s get this help or bust.

    The trouble that I’ve had with the TED talk (and I adore it) is that if you’re not coming from a position of strength (tens of thousands of fans, solid emotional state, six close friends, a couple thousand in the bank, whatever “strength” means in your case) then what you are doing is going to sound like begging. And people are less likely, in a lot of cases, to help someone who is begging. So not only are you begging instead of asking, but the very nature of begging is that you’re desperate.

    So what happens when your “asking” turns to “begging” and you don’t get what you need? Where can you go from there? I think that’s the fundamental question that has to be answered to help those of us in most need of it.

  • Xtrem Ways

    Asking typically done with some class and a bit of formality.. begging… is asking that involves tossing pride out the window and finding or feeling forced into new heights at which one will go to reach their goal. Begging usually occurs after the soul has become broken down, sometimes in hopelessness and sometimes in utter self-pity. Begging… when one feels that asking has failed and is typically pleaing to the compassion of others.

  • Lee Mehlich

    For me it’s fairly simple.

    Asking: You ask something of someone/thing, you get a response from that entity and you accept that response.

    Begging: You ask something of someone/thing, you get a response from that entity and if it is not the answer you are looking for you continue asking that same entity in hopes of eliciting the response you desire.

    Asking and begging can both be solicited or unsolicited. They can both be born of need. Once the ask begins to smack of harassment you are now likely begging.

  • katmulkey

    Begging comes from people who don’t have the confidence to ask.

  • Pia Lauridsen

    To me, asking means you are leaving yourself open to whatever answer comes back – you will accept (but maybe not like) a ‘No’. (This is why I always find it so funny when people ask me something, I give them an answer they don’t like, and they go all huffy. Well, if you weren’t ready for whatever my answer would be, why did you even bother asking? Or, you might have asked rhetorically seeing as your mind about what the answer should be was already made up). When you beg, you are desperately trying to avoid the ‘No’ being said and can se no way of accepting it without serious cost. Begging is closed and also not a lot of fun, where asking is open – that’s how I see them :)

  • Anita

    Fundamentally there is no difference, I don’t think. To me ‘begging’ implies more desperation/need than ‘asking’, and socially I think there’s a lot more negative connotations with begging than asking. Begging brings to mind (for me, anyway) homelessness and the judgements that we often make of those people. But begging can also display a lot more need than asking, showing desperation, like I said before. If you’re begging, you’re on your last thread, it’s often a last resort. Begging shows more (perceived) weakness than asking, and a lot of the time pride stops you from begging, but not asking.

  • Matt D

    methinks repetition. presenting what you are asking thoughtfully and clearly ONCE. After you are refused, asking the same thing twice seems like begging to me.

  • Saryu

    When one wanteth, one asketh. When one needeth, one beggeth. Here endeth the lesson. Eth.

  • @a_tiffyfit

    Asking is when you’re also doing work towards a goal and hoping for assistance/help. Begging is a demand, playing on people’s emotions, and not doing any work, just expecting someone else to do it for you if you needle them enough.

  • GalInTheGreyHat

    I think asking is super difficult. For example asking my parents to help me buy groceries when I was living check to check with no $$ for daily eats was the hardest ask I ever had to make. Because asking made me feel like a failure.

  • Christy Foust

    Begging has a component of desperation to it.

  • marthamay

    In my mind, asking is the acknowledgement that you need help, which is why it’s so hard to simply ask for something, as there has to come acceptance that you can’t do it all on your own. Asking is putting out the feelers for whatever response may come with limited preconceptions as to how that help may manifest itself. Begging is a form of a demand; you know exactly what you want, and you have expectations about the kind of help you’re going to receive.

  • Musings

    Begging has a low expectation of reciprocity. The power dynamics are different. A beggar is expected to be humble, more vulnerable, and in greater need. The costs to a beggar if the person they are begging from says no are relatively high, and the rewards to a person giving are low beyond “intrinsic good”, karma, etc.

    Asking is far more reciprocal in nature, and open ended in general. There is a far greater range of responses to an ask, “no” or “yes” being only two of them, and a good ask can present equal opportunities for both the receiver and the giver.

    You ask for a favor from a friend, knowing that you are on equal footing and will be able to reciprocate; you beg from a stranger on the street, knowing that you are desperate and even if you cannot reciprocate, you need to do so to survive. You ask people to buy your album, because you are providing a product in reciprocal.

    Power dynamics are important in all that we do, and are a big source of criticism directed at you, Amanda. More fame and success increases power on your side, whether you like it or not, and so something construed as a beg (low reciprocity on your side and high demand on the receiver) will be criticized.

  • Véronique Aulis

    I feel that “begging” is the same as asking, only more insistently and dramatically, using a certain degree of emotional blackmail, so to speak.

  • marla kendrick

    Asking: Opening your arms and putting a signal out into the universe so that people know what you want/need. Not putting strain on people to make a choice one way or another, letting them know your journey or goal and asking them to help. More an exchange of energy.

    Begging: Demanding someone gives you something whether they want to or not, pressuring others to help you. Sucking energy from others.

    I’ve recently thought about the book idea, because the whole TIE, TED and blog/community of people who listen to your music is so interesting. How much fan input is there going to be? :)

  • JoAnn DeAngelo

    I feel asking is admitting you can be vulnerable. All of us are: some of us admit that, many do not. Begging is self degrading and self demeaning. Sometimes, it is the perception of others that draw the line in the sand between the difference. And that, is the unfortunate thing. More people should be up front about what they need. There is no shame in that. It is called “being human.” And a kind response is called “being humane.”

  • Félix Marqués

    Yu’re really good at drawing ampersands, you know. Such style.

  • Dawn Z

    Asking comes from a place of power ~ one is still able to choose.
    Begging comes from a place of utter neediness ~ the choices feel very limited.

    So. Always ask first.

  • 4dm1n1strat10n

    It all depends on the ‘askee’ or ‘beggee’s’ perception of the original question, no? Begging could be asking more than once, but my mom used to ask me to do things many times, and she, for sure, wasn’t begging.

  • Saryu

    Are you asking us or begging? Show your work in your response.

  • Amanda

    I believe the difference between asking and begging lies within the individual being asked/begged to do/hear/contribute to something. It’s how that person perceives the request that makes it acceptable (asking) or unacceptable (begging). Buskers are perceived as beggars by a large amount of people while others see it as simply asking.
    I don’t believe there is a definite, concrete difference between begging and asking. It’s all samantics, really. It’s up to the person making the request to decide how they feel about their need and the person helping, or refusing to help.

  • Angie J-s

    I have thought a lot about this question over the last year or so, mainly because I started kicking some creative projects that I couldn’t do alone. Shifting from a mentality of begging to asking made a huge, huge difference.

    Asking is INVITATIONAL. It’s about saying, “Hey! I’m doing something really cool and I’d love it if you were a part of the fabness. Wanna join me? ‘Cause I could really use (whatever is needed).” Asking is prosperity-minded, coming from a place of gratitude and joy and inclusiveness and passion and confidence. It has a whole different feeling to it – for both the person doing the asking and the folks being asked. Hooray for asking!

    Begging is poverty minded and carries some seriously icky extra baggage. Begging demands attention, comes from a place of “can’t do it on my own” and is often met with avoidance or even anger. And really…who the hell needs more guilt or negativity for, y’know, anything? Fuck begging.

  • Josh Hutchin

    To ask is to want something, or to want to understand something. Generally, asking is a pretty nice thing.
    Begging is the same thing, except the question is buried deep in you, and to get to it you have to dig. You get on your knees, get a shovel and lift up all the dirt into the open. The dirt is the weight of your own feelings, everything you need and the guilt of needing it, the feelings of others, the feelings of your lover. It’s heavy, and it’s dirty and it’s messy, and soon you find it’s all over your clothes. Now you too are dirty and messy and heavy, and you’ve sunk down lower. You try not to lie down in a grave beside your unanswered question.
    but you’ve got to hope that the question can be set free to get the answer, and hope that everything is better when the dirt meets the air.

  • versalspectra

    I’d like to share my thoughts on begging vs asking in one particular sphere, the committed couple, because I’m not convinced that my theory applies as well to other interactions, such as employee vs boss. When you are with someone, the implication is that you are already exposed, and vulnerable, to each other. The power dynamic should be close to equal in a healthy relationship. If the power dynamic is not equal, than perhaps asking and begging become more differentiated by the rules of the social contract, more closely resembling the definitions of other posters below, where the petitioned can feel very little investment in granting the asker’s request.
    Again, in a healthy and intimate relationship, power should be shared equally. When one requests something of their partner, it is asking when the requester feels like their partner is able and willing to meet the need. It seems to become begging when the petitioner has the impression that their partner is able, but not willing to grant the need. I would also add, that in a healthy relationship, asking comes first, and then begging later if asking doesn’t get the needs of the partner met.
    Begging suggests trouble in the relationship, and should be a red flag. If one partner is asking for something and the other isn’t responding to it, there should be clarification as to why. Is the request reasonable? If not, then why not? Begging could be a sign of communication break down, or it could be a sign that you cannot get what you need from the person you are with, and you need to reevaluate whether the need is a deal breaker, of if there is room to compromise. Begging rarely gets the result that you want from your partner, because even if you get your need met, you resent that you had to beg for it, and they may resent that you forced them.
    An example may help clarify the theory. Say you are married to a spouse who is sloppier than you, and you are beginning to feel like you are always the one washing the dishes, even though you both have the same amount of free time each day. You decide to ask your spouse to do the dishes one night, and they refuse because they are watching their favorite sports team play on tv. You feel that they are able to miss this game because its not a big game, or they can record it to watch later. Still, you accept their refusal for that night and ask them to do it tomorrow. They say they will and you go on about your evening, washing dishes. The next evening comes, and your spouse has another excuse for not washing the dishes, this scenario repeats a few more times.
    You begin to feel like your spouse is certainly capable of washing dishes, but they seem to be unwilling. You are tempted to make your request more impassioned. This is where you run into the danger of begging. They are aware of your need, but are not meeting it. You need to decide how important the need is to you, and whether you’ll accept other compromises. Maybe they really hate dish washing. Maybe they will be willing to do other chores. Try to be clear with yourself and how you feel first, and then go and share your thoughts with your partner.
    First of all, someone who loves you should care how you feel and be willing to listen to your thoughts, and offer their own in return. You should love them and care about how they feel in return. A resolution should come from these conversations that is much better for the relationship in the long term than begging.
    Even if you get what you want by begging. You’ll get lots of other stuff you don’t want usually, such as resentment from your partner because they feel emotionally manipulated, and your own resentment at your partner because you feel you were forced to beg, and worry that maybe they don’t care as much as you thought. These feelings go on to infect all aspects of the relationship. I think begging should be avoided at all costs in a relationship between equally vulnerable individuals who love each other. If begging seems like the only way, it is a sign that something else is wrong in the relationship, and communication is needed to discover the underlying problem.
    In other words, with a healthy, mutually loving and vulnerable couple, asking means communicating a need, and begging in most cases, is a red flag for problems in the relationship.

  • Megan Alexander

    I think ‘begging’ is something that, for most people, is the final resort. It’s what you do when everything else has failed and you can find no other way out.
    Asking is completely different. We learn to ask at a young age because we soon realise that the phrase “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” is true. If we don’t ask for a balloon, our parents won’t buy us one; if we don’t ask a company to employ us, we won’t get the job. Asking is a way of progressing through life and gaining experience.

  • Starrla

    They potentially come from different places. Asking comes from a desire & expectation for something good to occur, whereas begging comes from a place where you may have already given up.

  • Fexxonji

    To me they’re both difficult actions. The difference between them is that asking is easier and even if you don’t receive the answer you were expecting, you won’t be that upset. It’s funny because when I think about the things I ask, I usually obtain the answer I want or planned to receive. Infact, I rarely ask stuff to anyone, be it friends/family or strangers. Begging to me is one of the most difficult things to do in the world, because if you beg you really want/know something, you want it so bad that you’re willing to do anything to have it/know it. And I think it implies a sort of.. despair, I’d say. It’s something I would do only when really really necessary. Because if I really want something, I wouldn’t beg. I’d ask. But that’s because of my withdrawn character. And if I didn’t get it, I’d just drop it. That’s the difference between these two actions. For me, of course.

  • Christopher B.

    Asking is taking a calculated risk. Asking is knowing that what you are wanting from the other person is right and reasonable, even if only reasonable in your own mind. Asking makes people aware of what you need or want.

    Begging is a nagging feeling deep inside. It wakes you up in the middle of the night. It keeps you guessing if what you feel is right or a figment of your imagination. If only the thing you need would form itself into some reasonable question, you’d request it. But it won’t. It sits in the back of your head, in your dreams and digs in like a burrowing worm. It makes you question your own worth and the time you take from others. You second guess yourself. If you utter it, you might get laughed at or at best patted on head and told, “There. There.”

    It longs to be answered but at the price of everything else. A brief glimpse of something from the corner of your eye, a faint smell of something long-forgotten triggers it and drags you back from some boring meeting to the question again. You can’t escape it and still you try to find the one way to ask, without begging. You want to be able to phrase it like it’s a doctoral statement and make it clinical and reasonable. No matter how when you finally face that person, that one person whose answer rides on everything that holds together your own sanity the best you can come up with is, “Do you see me?”

    • Fred K

      such a beautiful description of something you’ve lived

  • Whitney Levis

    I think the difference between asking and begging has to do with the emotions involved both on the part of the person making the request and the person choosing whether or not to fulfill it. Since it involves two people (at least) it involves the intersection of realities and as such can easily be confused. What one person sees as begging another may see as asking. If the person making the request feels like an imposition, or a leech, then they may feel like they are begging while the person fulfilling the request may see it as asking. The flip side is also true. A person my be simply making a request but the person receiving the request may see it as begging based on their own lived experiences and emotions.

    Taking that subjective loosey-goosey part out of it though I think begging can generally be categorized by a few different variables. Desperation. People who are desperate are more likely to make their requests in a way that comes across as begging and not asking. Emotional attachment. The more emotionally invested the person is in getting their request met the more likely they will be seen as begging. Aggressiveness. When people make their request more than once or invade someone’s personal space to do so it is frequently seen as begging.

    Some of these cases are clear and some are not.

    We often appreciate it when people try to do things on their own and then we can swoop in and take care of them. We like being the knight in shining armor but only to people that we deem “worthy.” For many this worthiness is defined as making a good faith effort to fix it yourself. There are many people who will say after the fact “Why didn’t you call me? I would have let you X, or given you X.” Many of these folk though would actually not have seen it as asking but rather begging to do so.

    Needs are a big part of the difference. One of the choices I made in my life was to become less needy, less dependent. It has hurt my sense of community and it is something I’m trying to get back. One of the great things that came out of it was the breadth of friends I accumulated. By needing less from any one of them, they all became more interested in intersecting with me. My needs and their needs mesh better because I am less needy as I spread my needs out among more people. As a result if I go to a friend and ask for something it is more likely to be seen as asking because I’m not projecting desperation or emotional attachment. After all if they are not interested there are other people in my life who may be.

  • Heather

    I think asking is more or less expressing a need or a want and letting those around you know that you need a little help. Begging involves a bit more of an emotional factor. Begging puts people in a place of guilt. They feel obligated to help or suffer emotional turmoil. Begging is desperate, and in some cases people are in desperate need. Asking, whether it gets you what it wants, might put you or whoever you’re asking in a mildly uncomfortable position, but once the yes or no is put out, everything goes back to normal. Begging leaves a sour taste in everyone’s mouth, is likely to lose you some respect, and maybe some friends (or fans in your case).

  • Jessica Foltz

    when you ask for something you go in to the conversation with two sides a positive and negative not knowing the outcome, a weighing the scales of fate. When you start begging it is a one sided your mind is made up, Iwant it all, this is it… I need, want, and hope you convince your audience that what you so desperately are begging for is given to you.

  • Fred K

    Someone I love said that “the beggar is the protagonist of history.” Asking, as many have pointed out— Onanon explicitly— suggests a social contract. It implies reciprocity and an exchange, and be aware of the fine print. Begging on the other hand can only come with a recognition of my absolute need. I do not make myself. I depend. Begging is certainly more insistent, but how could begging take freedom from the one who hears it when after all ‘beggars can’t be choosers.’? Guilt is hardly an issue if I can freely close my eyes and ears to my needs and the needs of others— when I can take the expressway and skip past the slums.

  • Ckgent

    Asking is something we all should do. Begging is something no one should have to do. Asking is the joining of As King. As king of a country or nation prevent begging and get your fucking ass in gear and help the begger man.

  • Elletra

    Asking, to me, seems like an act of requesting help from those you know or who know you…
    while, begging implies desperation, willingness to beg of anyone’s help. Asking
    for help (monetary or not) can be simple or excruciating, as you mentioned
    above, but begging seems to be a last resort, a survival device. I feel
    that any way you look at begging, the beggar is extremely vulnerable in any
    scenario, so there is no deterrent for not begging when there is nothing to
    lose and everything to gain. On the other hand, with asking, there is generally
    a manageable state existence without help, and asking could help or hinder the
    situation. With that risk, the person who needs help may be more selective when
    choosing people to ask for help. In simple terms: “beggars can’t be choosers”.

  • Bill

    Desperation. Class status. Familiarity.

  • Jen Martin

    Begging always has an air of desperation. I think it’s easier to beg, because it happens when you have no other option or choice. It’s a last resort and you have nowhere else to turn. It comes from some deep, primal place. It’s not pretty, but it’s effective if you really mean it. I don’t believe in begging when you can just ask.

    Asking is hard. Asking gives the “askee” permission to say no, and that’s hard to hear. But I ask for things every day. It’s part of life.

    • Félix Marqués

      The odd thing here is that, precisely, asking makes you more afraid because the person could easily just say NO.

      But begging is what really turns people off: feeling that they HAVE to give away, for moral reasons or whatever, and don’t have the choice. begging drives people away. Nobody likes a desperate person, and yet when you’re desperate you’re not afraid because it’s the last resort.

      So we should all learn to ask because it really is more practical and pleasant for everyone involved.

      • Rut Blomqvist

        This distinction seems to be a common one, looking through the comments here. I agree with the basic idea, but I do have one objection: It’s certainly possible to say no to someone who’s begging, but in order to do that, you have to dehumanise or completely ignore that person. So if someone you have a relationship to and care about begs for something, it’s almost impossible to say no, but if someone unknown begs for money or food, for instance, it’s easy to just pass them by and not feel with them. Asking allows the “askee” to look the asker in the eye and respond in a variety of ways; begging generally yields either one of two extreme results: a positive response, or a complete refusal to even acknowledge the beggar.

  • Andreea Raluca

    As I see it, the difference between asking and begging is the same as the difference between compassion and pity.
    This is what crossed my mind when I’ve seen the request you’ve made.
    From my personal experience, asking for anything never made me feel inferior, degraded, desperate, dependable, while begging always presumed giving up my dignity, showing up my desperation, my vulnerability, my incapacity. Asking for something, no mater what that something is, in my opinion is an invitation for creating something with the help of others. Begging is admitting defeat.

  • Simon Marshall

    Asking is assuming your desired outcome is at least being considered. Begging is having no guarantee, and thus leads to desperation.

  • raliel

    asking has respect and trust, whereas begging just has need with no offer of a return. both are useful but one is an act of mercy the other an act of trust

  • Félix Marqués

    ASKING takes it for granted (to some extent) that there is a level of trust, that you should (to some extent, too) receive what you’re looking for, or something at all.
    BEGGING is desperate—and, more importantly, begging implicitly means that you’re not giving anything back.

    So ASKING intrinsecally takes place in an atmosphere of possible exchange, and BEGGING takes place in an atmosphere of need WHERE THERE IS NO FLOW.

    This is why many people accuse street performers or crowdfunders of BEGGING: those people can’t see how the artist/entrepeneur is giving anything BACK to anyone—usually these people see art as a commodity, and artistic work as something easy and only done for self-pleasure, not as a line of work that produces actual valuable stuff. They see, in short, paying artists as charity.

    Therefore: when people accuse artists of BEGGING, the deeper problem here is that art is often devalued, considered as something without any intrinsic value. Since it doesn’t have value, paying for art is not BUYING or HELPING, and the artist is not ASKING—it’s BEGGING, and people “WASTE” or “GIVE AWAY” or DONATE to the “CHARITY” that is the artist.

    So it all has to do with the value of art and art’s value. Gaga was just talking about this in an interview,:how music in older times was a privilege—the very fact that you could get a painting of yourself or listen to music in your home was a signal of wealth and prestige, but now there is an industry that, instead of working in a healthy way, by its inner workings and because capitalism, essentially makes art the way it fast food is made: cheaper, low in quality, initially appealing.

    The rise of indie art and crowdfunding as something tied to the fact that we need to value music more. The rise of a system that allows for artists to create more valuable work (more valuable because it contains a higher level of personal expression to leverage the seling-related components) is inextricably tied to a higher conscience of art’s importance in our lives. Those two things push eachother in a spiral.

  • Chaos

    Asking is something you do, shy and uncertain, in the broad light of day, when you can bear to live without what you’re requesting.
    Begging is what you do, soul stripped bare, in the darkness of your heart, when you know that you need it as much as your next breath.

    • StillRose

      i agree, to an extent. very well put.

  • Kate W

    The difference is status. You decide to ask, you beg when you have no alternative.

  • Kathleen Rusher

    Asking is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and strong at the same time and looking someone in the eye and expressing what you need as a person. Begging is being manipulative and using guilt and desperation as a shield from the vulnerability asking requires.

  • Lindsay Sauvageau

    A beggar’s ride, a poem by LES

    my skin’s too tight.
    it fits
    i eat and sleep and waste and pace and eat and sleep and hide my face.
    i shudder,
    i shimmy –
    i don’t want to care.

    i want to be bare

    but i
    but i slip on nylon knowledge;

    and i
    and i have a run!

    with this netting over my face,

    my skin’s in its place –

    but i have a run!

    like a fucking flock of seagulls

    i have to run.

    what i know, it makes holes
    so i grab all the hose and i go.
    i run.

    my way robbery with fair dinkum for income

    i run –
    because a getaway’s a better way,
    a better way than anyone seeing the threads give away
    and show my face.

    as i run
    -there’s ripping here, a tear and snare-
    i see each strain, each little vein
    and stretch marks
    the spot
    with a dot . dot . dot .
    drizzle up, drizzle down
    drizzle all around.

    and i think, while i run,
    while my skin tusks from exposure,
    about closure.

    i don’t know anyone anymore.
    i’m sure i’m shore
    that no one knows anyone anymore.

    i stop.

    i can hear the ocean in this place

    all this extra space
    but is the notion inside of me?
    in the glasses in the sink?

    to be sure
    i wash all the dishes.

    i run with,
    with the motion of this ocean
    robbed of emotion.

    and then i make sandwishes.

    • Félix Marqués

      This is really awesome.

      • Lindsay Sauvageau

        Thank you. I have a hard time with asking: the vulnerability of need.

  • From beneath the bridge

    Somebody might as well make this distinction:

    Asking is inviting people to help you because they care. Its merits are generally judged by perceptions of how they see your proposed project.

    Begging is implying that you’ve been put in a difficult financial situation through no fault of your own, and you need help. Its merits are generally judged by perceptions of the legitimacy of the claim of financial hardship.

    For example, asking is launching a Kickstarter to fund the recording of a very well-orchestrated album.

    And begging is going on to ask for more free stuff when it turns out you forgot to budget for musicians for the accompanying tour.

    (I’m a long-time fan, btw, I just still think you dropped the ball on that one)

  • Martin Newman

    It’s a difference both of how much you personally need or want the thing you’re asking for, and of the lengths you’re willing to go to to get it, with begging being far more in both respects, in my personal opinion.

  • Randy Zack

    Asking implies that you are willing to do something in return if possible. Begging is strictly one way.

  • Jennifer E. Carr

    Asking is you know you need something but don’t really expect anyone to do it. Like moving you know you need help moving, but not all of your friends are going to come to your aid.
    Begging is that moment of desperation when you place your heart out there and really do need this, so people hear that desperation and maybe more willing to help.

  • Veronqiue Antoinette

    I haven’t necessarily read the comments below so my opinion might be a rehash, but I’ll give it a go!

    Typically in most scenarios asking
    involves some sort of bartering, in a sense and it’s somewhat personal. A good
    ask means that you will give something in return; a favor, art, music, money,
    time, love, care, rides, food. A, “you
    do this for me, I’ll do something for you” – type mentality. I believe that’s why busking isn’t necessarily
    considered begging, because you’re doing something in return for other peoples
    time and money.

    Begging; one’s mine would
    immediately go into pan handling but that’s not necessarily the case. You’re
    depending on the kindness of others to honestly just get a leg up out of a
    temporary situation. More impersonal and in most cases nothing is asked or
    expected in return.

  • Jess

    How tightly your hands are clasped together

  • Caressa

    Asking and Begging…Asking is like the main topic and begging is a sub category. There’s all sorts of different forms of asking, begging is one of them. Asking is when you making some sort of request or trying to get the answer to a question. Begging is when you’re pleading for that answer or that request. Begging also brings on a good amount of connotation with it per specific person. Me specifically… Begging is pitiful for me, and at times pathetic. Begging feels desperate, and something you would do when you’ve got nowhere else to turn. Asking, however, is an everyday thing. You ask questions. You ask for favors. You ask for that salt across the table. You ask for all sorts of shit.

    It’s like this: begging is asking, but asking is not begging.

  • Tory Gates

    Asking is done naturally, and while it may be done with a requisite amount of embarrassment (either real or for reasons of form), there is nothing wrong with that. The one on the receiving end must decide the sincerity of the asker’s request, and most can tell when it’s reasonable and understandable.

    BEGGING…unless it is in a situation of extreme distress (pending/current homelessness, health issues, and/or a time of need, again noticeable) is often done by someone who either is unable or unwilling to see that they can handle a situation and can get above it. I do not mean to sound harsh, but begging is sometimes a behavior that is perpetuated into some kind of con. It keeps happening; a person finds it easier to beg and have things given than to take the matter into their own hands and do for themselves. At the same time, it’s human. Sometimes we just cannot see the big picture and feel stuck.

    Then comes the question of what are you asking/begging for? What do you want or need? Amanda’s hand question becomes a very deep one. I’m not saying I’m right, because half or more of those who read this will think I’m wrong. Matter of opinion.

    Congrats on the book deal, Amanda! As someone who struggled for years trying to find a publisher (let alone an agent) who understood my work, I realized going on my own is the only way to establish myself. YOU have earned yours, I wish you well!

  • Claire

    Begging is having no choice but to show your vulnerability.
    Asking is an unspoken agreement not to acknowledge your vulnerability.

  • Georgia

    I see 2 kinds of begging and 1 kind of asking. Begging 1 is the traditional “I am in the pits of despair, all I can do is ask for help” kind, and Begging 2 is a way to guilt-trip a person, most commonly used among friends and not necessarily in a materialistic way, e.g a friend begging/coercing you into a situation (party, rollercoaster, tattoo etc) that you are afraid of.
    Asking is as it says on the tin; simply a way to find the answer to a question, asking is not a manipulative action at all.

  • T Shull

    Begging is when you can’t take “no” for an answer.

  • Stan Durbin

    To ask is to accept the possibility of multiple outcomes. To beg is to accept only one.

  • Charlotta

    To me the difference between asking and begging is the desperation of the act. Begging is insitent, demanding and often in your face. Asking is quiet, almost appologising and undemanding. As some said earlier is a request that should be ok to deny without guilt. While denying begging often leave a “I shouldn’t have”-feeling that stays with you. But the line is a very fine one and begging to some might simply be asking for others and the other way around.

  • just_alexandra

    The difference between the two comes from the value the actual demander accredits on their offer. Asking implies the demander acts like they value their work, hope the person on the accepting side valued it enough to feel like they want to compensate the work. On the other side, begging implies that the person is not in a position to ask because they trust their work to not be good enough to be offered a compensation and so the offered work becomes irrelevant to the demand. They beg because they have a need (ex. take shelter, eat,etc) and not because they offer something that is worth asking. This is why begging is usually done by accentuating the weaknesses of the beggar (i’m hungry, I really need you to do this for me because *enter world ending excuse*) and is also usually done by people not making eye contact, head down etc. to express the submission of the beggar to the charity of people.

  • BK

    In my opinion, to put it simply, begging is asking with desperation involved.

  • Rosario Lopez

    Begging involves that the person begging has reached a great level of despair, that the person desperately *needs* now what originally she/he was only asking.

    Asking is “I wanted this”, “I’d like this”, begging is “I cannot live without this, I just cant NOT have it”.

  • nicolagatti

    One difference is that when you ask for something you know exactly what you want back, when you beg is who give the answer to decide what you get.

  • Sonya Miller

    The word the person hearing attaches to the question. SINCE you are the director of your life, and your brain interprets everything you see or hear. You decide the difference. When I ask my husband not to do that, he could see that as asking or begging him…depending on the filter or mood he is in.

  • Anna Gonçalez

    asking is polite begging is despairing

  • Larry Phillips

    Some evidence to the contrary, people are basically good and want to help. I learned long ago that the way to get something wasn’t to bang my hand on the counter and demand, or imply that people should just give me what I wanted (ie: beg). I found that just asking someone for their help usually accomplished what I set out to accomplish. People like being able to help. It makes them feel good.

  • Brian

    The difference between asking and begging is self perceived necessity

  • Insane World

    Asking costs the requestor nothing. If the request is satisfied gratitude is the appropriate payment. You can ask for something a thousand times and receive a thousand nos with the only consequence being frustration.
    Begging cost the requestor dignity. Regardless of the outcome of the request the cost is pretty much the same and the price paid is something that may not be easily recovered. The cost of begging is cumulative with each request or rejection taking a little more self worth until nothing of value is left.

  • Damon

    This is an active question for me at the moment. Several years ago I started an experiment to live as much as I could through inspiration and let outcome take care of itself. It has been an interesting exploration so far with lots of moving, strange jobs, being homeless at times, being hungry and cold at times. I have worked at an interesting non-profit restaurant, a really bad software company, and spend time on the couches and extra rooms of friends.

    One thing that continues to be a challenge is a sort of context switch that happens between me and those who want to offer something. For me this is the core journey of my life, both my greatest expression and my greatest offering to the world, and as such I am perfectly willing to die if that is what arises. I have found that fear of death is one of ego’s last tricks as it tries to get me to compromise, and that so much opens when I don’t flinch when it seems like things are ending.

    Inside it is a pretty clear path. There is a certain mourning that happens each time as I let go of things. The world becomes still and illuminated, and a lot of things I have been working to let go of just naturally fall away. It feels a lot like shedding old skin.

    But this path makes very little sense to most people, and I’ve had friends offer more than is true for them because they feel somehow obligated to try to keep me alive. At this point I can feel in an offer if someone is twisting their energy to make it (if it is different than their being naturally has to offer at the moment), but I can’t feel it before there is an offering. So asking for things has been a challenge.

    So for me asking is both when any answer is fully and equally welcomed and when the person asked is able to answer from their own integrity. Begging is asking for something without welcoming any possible answer or asking for something that the other does not have the capacity to answer within their own integrity.

  • Michael Brocenos

    Begging + Respect = Asking

  • ciloutre

    My english is so poor, but you ask so gently, so let’s try.
    For me, it differs not in the form, but in the intention. I want something, i begg. I need something i begg. I wonder something, i ask. My will is different in asking about something and in begging for something.

    thank you for asking.

  • Sean Wheeler

    I see asking as making a request from a place of respect. I see begging as making a request with a lack of respect. Now that lack of respect can be for yourself or for the person you are requesting something from, and in most cases both, but at the core, there is a loss of respect in begging.

  • Bob Notwheatley Haddock

    I guess begging would be asking for something when you are in need, whilst asking may not be a need but more of a want.

  • Deborah jean

    I think the difference lies in the person on the receiving end. Asking doesn’t place the kind of demand on them that begging does, nor does it play on their emotions. If one were to ask me for money, I probably wouldn’t feel so in need to hand it to them. If they were to beg, I’d probably be more inclined to hand it to them to avoid the guilt I’d feel if I didn’t.

  • DeAnna Harriss

    Asking is polite or a nicety. Begging tends to come from the soul. Both can be frightening.You have reached the point of saying to hell with it completely about the fear with begging. You have humbled yourself. It may be desperation at times. But what are we begging for? Is it for the last cookie or pleas of heart wrenching on the brink of exhaustion to help yourself or a loved one. For those that pray. How do you pray? It depends on what you are praying for,right? Is it asking or begging at times. We render our hearts,souls and minds to give over to what is most important at that moment. Can begging be a form of prayer? Is it at times like the word “labor”?As in “to labor” as a mother giving birth. The word “labor” comes from hebrew originally. Meaning to focus all attention into one place or thought. I must say I am not Christian. I consider myself a recovering evangelical Southern Baptist…at least that’s how I grew up. I am more of a Pagan Buddhist that finds love and good in most religions. I consider begging giving up all inhibitions to humble yourself to someone else. It is raw and pure with the right intentions and can be raw nasty with the wrong ones.

  • miray vavro

    The act of asking or begging to me just boils down to a need and how much that need needs to be fulfilled. That need, and how it is requested, forms emotions that the ‘requester’ and the ‘giver’ attach to the action. So I feel that the givers reaction to the request is also important to look at. That will also have an effect on the requester.

  • Bosko Green

    Begging is the unfortunate result of having asked and never received, ultimately it is an act of desperation.

  • Karin Antal

    Ask once, get your answer, move on. Ask twice, get the same answer; now you’re begging. Or annoying. Same thing.

  • StillRose

    Without having read the whole blog, I cannot put my thoughts aside and find myself unable to resist the comment box. My apologies to Amanda.

    I am 25 years old, female, and from the Boston area. In my experience, I have had other people make this decision for me. I haven’t had a lot of necessities in the last few years of my life, tangible or non. I have had to seek help from anyone willing to give it. Whether or not I felt I was asking or begging, I was told what I was doing and usually shunned for either. Questions of curiosity tend to be considered asking, rather than immediately associating the word “asking” with things like favors or pleas. I believe both asking and begging are one in the same. Whether you can live without the answer is beside the point. Asking anything is begging for knowledge.
    Begging does not make you a sad or desperate being, even if you are “begging for your life”. If you think this, then you do not have much respect for animals, cancer patients, homeless people, or any living thing less fortunate than you, do you? I guess my point is this: Words should not define us, we should define them. We should decide what a word means and how we use it, when we use it. We all have poetic license, and the ability to respect each other, why not take advantage of these powerful tools? I choose the words I use very carefully, knowing who I am talking to and how they perceive the language I’m using. For instance, my mother does not know what the word “Roflcopter” means, so I don’t use it when I talk to her.
    I’d rather not be looked at as a beggar when I am asking for help. I would rather not be considered desperate when I ask if someone can spare a roll of toilet paper. I am alive, determined to survive, I am not weak, I am learning. I ask/beg for the world to respect me.

    This is what I took from your question, Amanda Palmer. I’m not sure if I’ll feel the same way tomorrow, or if this was fueled by logic or emotion. Take it with a grain of salt, I guess. Thank you for making me think.

  • danny k

    Begging is done by dogs. Asking is done by humans. (first association that came to my mind)

    Begging is associated with loss of ones’ dignity and self respect. A ruler may ask a subject to beg for their mercy. A dog owner scolds an animal for begging for scraps.

    A homeless person may be reduced to begging, and society generally looks down on it, but we should remember what it takes to simply ask, which is very difficult and requires admission that you need support from others. Then go further to the state of begging, which is relinquishing all notions of self worth to get the desired object (food, money, forgiveness, etc).

    Does begging mean you need it to survive? No. Dogs can live without table scraps. Someone can live without forgiveness from a friend. It just means you are asking while on your knees, pleading, giving all you’ve got to get the desired outcome.

  • Militant-humours

    I think this is a question I’ve struggled with in the past. I suffer from depression and am currently in an bit of a shitty monetary position. I find the difference between asking and begging is whether there is something to be given. I ask my family for money and in return offer myself as general dogsbody and promise to pay them back over an extended period. I ask my friends to come give me hugs to stop me going out and killing someone/myself and in return I promise to do the same for them. People on kickstarter ask for money and will often in return offer their product or some trinket of appreciation. Begging on the other hand is where you have absolutely nothing to give, you’re at the bottom of the bottom and can only beg that others can provide you with something even though there is nothing you can offer them in return.

  • charlie

    begging implies a strong attempt to leave the other party with grief or guilt – intentionally or otherwise. asking is saying what you need in a more compassionate, considerate tone. but begging does come from a place of desperation, to be sure. even if someone finds your desperation inappropriate or selfish – as it may well be.

  • Ay-me Wok-er

    i don’t think need and want are what drive the interaction at all, but the person behind it. I’ve seen some honest and humble people kindly ask for something they need, and I’ve seen some manipulative brats beg for crap they want. I don’t think a homeless man holding a cardboard sign and a cup is begging for anything unless he’s chasing someone down the street. Sitting there with that sign is asking for help.

    So anyway, I agree with a lot of what people have already said, too. Asking gives people the option to say yes or no–begging is trying to force the issue and takes all the heart out of the interaction. Do we want people to help us because we made them? Or do we want people to help us because they care?

  • b_wag

    I think there are different types of begging. For example, the guy silently hold a cup on a street corner looking for spare change is simply asking. If he gets up and forces his will in some way, it’s begging. Terrible example because when most people hear the word begging the think of the homeless, so it’s easy to use the analogy to explain.

    What it comes down to is that when you ask for something you want to hear “yes” and generally if it’s reasonable you’ll get that response. With asking though when you are denied you have to be ready to accept that and move on, find another way.

    Begging is simply asking people (sometime over and over) to do something they don’t want to do.

  • Rhea

    I was a fundraiser for a four months. That means working from 10 till midnight with a bunch of overpriced crappy-looking pictures and going door-to-door or talking to everybody you can in a Walmart parking lot. So your TED talk hit home for me for sure.
    But I never felt like I was begging. Instead I felt like I was sharing. I deeply cared about the service project I was raising money for. And more importantly, I deeply cared about every single person I met. I was neither beggar nor salesperson. I was sharing my heart and my cause, and then asking them and letting them make the choice to donate. And if they didn’t, it didn’t affect how I thought of them as a person. They were still just as special to me.
    So what I see as the difference, and what I see in you…is with asking you are sharing something. No matter what, the person is going to get something out of that interaction. Whether their day got a little brighter and you shared a smile, or they receive some of your music…people who give because they are asked do not feel at a loss. Of course there’s exceptions, but that’s what I found to be true for me.

  • Gabriel Ferri

    people always want to gain from something. a completely selfless act of kindness is rare. it’s not a bad thing, it’s human nature and as long as you’re receiving the help you need than there’s no real need to concern yourself with any secret agendas or expectations. so i believe that by asking for help, one is implying (or promising, would it be in a more official scenario) that that person who helps them will benefit somehow from their act of helping. However, not in a “good deed for the day” kind of way.

    now, begging is almost the opposite. begging implies desperation, an immediate need for help. when one is in dire need for aid and manages to obtain the help they need, one is not concerned with returning any favors; at least not immediately.They are simply glad to get the hell out of whatever funk they were in. then they leave the person that helped them confounded and unsatisfied even if they did do a good thing.

    whether one is asking or begging, one should remember that key characteristic we humans tend to have: we’re selfish and also want something in return for our efforts. with this in mind, asking seems like a way more acceptable and successful act than begging is.

  • Zalehah

    asking is usually stronger and clearer. through obviously, if a person or institution in power ‘asks’ for something they can can virtually enforce their desired response through use of threats. the police can ‘ask’ someone begging to move. they have numerous restraints if they adhere to the legal system but their threats can come with tear gas and batons, etc like with the riot police. in some places begging or rather panhandling is illegal in others it is only ‘aggressive begging’ (persistent, etc).
    the word ask is disgustingly used in relation to victims of rape among other things, ‘she was asking for it’. asking not to mention begging is not just about the question or the request but the context and the relationship between the people. begging or pleading implies weakness. they can implore you. make you feel guilty. however, people often have to beg for mercy in situations involving torture. they have to plead for someone to stop when that person has no thought for them. the person usually has a desired response though not always and often one where they won’t take no for an answer let alone the truth.
    in turn, how much dose the person asking or begging expect the desired response? (not obviously in that situation)
    on the other hand, people need to be able to ask either in simple situations or in times of crisis. both are forms of communication. if you are clear and strong and free yourself from a desired response and respect the other person then their is nothing wrong with asking. we learn much from asking. to question the world or your situation or even an individual opens up the possibility for new information and understanding. in terms of Art, i think you have best answered that yourself.

  • rahrahmaybe

    Thoughts/ponderings that came to mind when thinking of the difference between asking and begging.

    I think the severity of the difference is based on what one is asking or begging for. And that one’s history also comes into play. Like if you put yourself in their shoes, maybe every time they asked for something it was shut down or invalidated. But when they begged for it it was seen as important. So for them asking = rejection and being invalidated, and begging = being seen and the thing they are needing being important.

    Asking can be scary, sometimes you don’t want to ask because you’re afraid of the answer so almost easier and sometimes safer (for the heart) to not ask. So asking is taking a risk, it’s opening yourself up for rejection, but it’s also opening up doors of possibility.

    When I think of begging I think of desperation, panic and pure emotion.

    I also think they can go hand and hand. It could start as a question and turn into begging.

    Just my thoughts.

  • Michelle Hartz

    When asking, you’re expecting a yes or no answer. When begging, you NEED a yes answer.

  • Molly M.

    Begging denotes a plea, a desperate wish that must be granted at all costs. There is no saying no, or something bad will happen. Perhaps the least extreme of the outcomes will be crying. Begging is asking again even if the decision on the other end has already been decided. Begging is hoping that if the answer is no, that each time you ask the other person will change their mind until finally you get the response that you hoped for in the beginning. Begging is making a case to get what you want, adding reasons why you should get it, and not stopping at anything until you have it.
    Asking is just being prepared to accept either answer you receive.

  • more ubiquitous

    asking means you can accept the word no. begging means you can only accept the word yes.

  • snarkinator

    You said it yourself: Asking for help is hard. It is a simple appeal for assistance, and should not imply a lack of skill or dignity. To do it right, you must acknowledge your limitations while still maintaining your sense of self-worth.
    (I want this thing, and I need additional resources to attain it. Would you please help me?)

    With begging, that self-worth has been eroded and some very negative things can creep in: jealousy, self-pity, depression. The request for assistance can become an accusation of injustice, a wail of martyrdom, or an outright scam.
    (I deserve this thing and it’s not fair that I don’t have it. You should give it to me.)

    Of course, that’s pretty black and white. In truth, everything falls along a spectrum. The more positive
    and self-confident the request, the more it seems like asking. The more desperate and victimized the appeal, the more it seems like begging.

  • Jurt

    I think the biggest diference is how much do you want/need what you are about to get. If you have been without a week without eating not a single bit and a friend of you has cookies, you will beg for some if it’s necessary. If you just didn’t have breakfast, you would ask for them, since you don’t need nor want them that much.

    Are you really reading this? You are almost like a god to me. That would be like praying and being heard. And that book will be like a bible. I guess.

  • Kim K.

    When it comes to the difference between asking and begging, it all depends on WHO you are asking. If you were to turn to a stranger and ask for help on something, it would sound like begging, but if you were to turn to a fellow fan or friend, it sounds like asking, becuase they know you. Friends and fans aren’t so quick to jump to the conclusion of, “I might get scammed! You just want my money!” as a stranger would.

  • ht

    Frequency of the request and the degree of desperation with which one makes the request.

  • theswan

    To ask can come from a place that is humble within oneself, a place without pride and a place of contemplation. . . One is admitting that one needs the help. An individual would most likely be considering the person they are are asking. Begging comes from s place of desperation and is often done without regard for the person from whom you beg. It is done without regard for the self. It is often an indiscriminate and selfish act.

  • creativelyindie

    Asking feels collaborative, a suggestion where the person asking is owning their choices and open for suggestions. Begging feels one-sided with a ‘pick me’ tone, as if there’s nothing left but to beg. In terms of creativity, it’s the difference between open mode and closed mode.

    *Congrats on the book deal. This conversation needs to be out there!

    • TheDeadUnicorn

      This is beautifully written!Agreed,100%.

  • Shawnie Alvara

    Begging is asking without the intent of hearing no. Sort of like stealing is like borrowing with no intention of returning.

  • Morgan

    This question makes me think of a scene near the end of Out of Africa when Karen (Meryl Streep) gets on her knees before the British authority and begs them for the promise of a home for the Kikuyu living on the farm she just lost. It is a moment that portrays begging as an act of nobility and compassion. Karen doesn’t give the impression of a typical beggar…more of a queen/mother/protector doing the last thing she can to save what really matters. This makes me wonder if begging is more profound than just asking. But then it depends largely on what you are asking for.

    This isn’t an answer. Just food for thought.

  • ghost

    Asking indicates a calmness. Begging denotes urgency.

    • Coraline

      I like this, quick way to sum up everything…

  • Audra

    Several people have referenced desperation or need as being key and I would agree. It’s possible to ask for something trivial, much harder to beg it.

  • Gina Louise Brown

    To me the fundemental difference between asking and begging is guilt. When you beg you are making an attack on the recipient of the request, a great big fat guilt trip of an attack aiming right for the weak spot. Rightly or wrongly, it’s what you are doing. When you ask, a ‘No’ might be awkward, but certainly possible, but when you beg a ‘No’ is not even an option!

    • Tank

      I’m not sure if I agree that this is the difference between asking and begging, but it touches on something I think is important to bring up here: it’s really, really important to make it OK for people to say “no.”

      The idea of having a band come around asking for donations at a concert they is really uncomfortable — it means I have to look them in the eye and say (implicitly), “You’re not worth that much to me.” It puts me in a position where my options are “give” or “be rude.” It’s very similar to when people working for Greenpeace or the Red Cross or whatever see me walking around with headphones on, come up to me, and put a hand out like I’m supposed to shake it. I get FURIOUS at those people. Walking away from them is hard, and of course, it’s supposed to be — they exploit my desire to be polite in order to coerce me into listening or giving.

      What makes Kickstarter (for instance) different is that there’s no penalty to walking away. No force of coercion. If I don’t give anything, I don’t have to confront anyone about why. And giving me that option communicates humility and respect — and it engenders respect in turn. It makes me more likely to help out, actually, because it makes me like the person asking and feel like they deserve a chance.

  • Caitlin

    To me, they both stem from desperation, but they’re desperate for different reasons.

    Asking is, “I can’t do this by myself. Please help me.”

    Begging is, “I give up. Do this for me.”

  • Lee

    Asking is when you start with it, begging is when it’s your last option

  • Lara

    Begging is one of the characteristics that sets humans apart from other animals. In its truest form, it is the ability to find hope buried beneath desperation. In its altered form, it is a strategic, shameless play to fuel a personal quest for power. Asking, on the other hand, is a unifying characteristic among organisms, although it comes in many forms and is not necessarily communicated with words. In contrast to the individualized aspects of begging, asking is an invitation to others to enter into one of the myriad exchanges that fuels existence. It is an acknowledgement of dependence on others, and the knowledge that we cannot go at it alone.

  • NativeWit

    First, in attempt to think about this ‘objectively’ (whatever that means), I offer you a synopsis of dictionary defs:


    to say something in order to obtain an answer or some information :

    to request (someone) to do or give something

    to invite (someone) to one’s home or a function


    to ask (someone) earnestly or humbly for something

    to ask for something, typically food or money, as charity or a gift

    a) to acquire (something) from someone in this way; to live by

    acquiring food or money in this way.

    Now, with that in mind, here’s the interpretive, though-sharing part:

    Interestingly, in reading the top few responses from your BlogCommunity, I see my gut reaction to your question articulated: namely, that begging somehow involves desperation. But the dictionary definitions are helping me reframe this impression.

    Typing as I think (not fully processed, please don’t shoot, people):

    Begging is clearly a form of asking, one more nuanced and colored by the needs of the asking party. Yet, earnestness (dic: showing sincere and intense conviction) and humbleness (dic: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance) certainly are not desperation. It would seem the core of the word “beg’s” been perverted somewhere along the way in our culture, so that we all understand it as a form of asking by one who is helpless and/or dependent and/or passive.

    One thing that strikes me most, and seems important in thinking this through, is that both asking and begging are truly active responses, not passive — meaning they take one from a state of passivity into a state of recognizing that one has a need, a need that someone can’t seem to fulfill all on one’s own, and acting to try to fulfill that need.

    To generalize, most Americans (perhaps Occidentals) cannot bear the idea of being helpless, dependent, and/or passive; and are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of one person not being able to solve all their problems alone. This is not to say that all Americans/Occidentals buy this notion hook, line, and sinker – but its ghost pervasively haunts this society, and is wrapped up in our individual and collective psyches in ways we often don’t see. Need and help are still cultural anathema; something only comfortable for many if they are in the position to be the one offering, rather than asking or receiving, because it is (consciously or unconsciously) perceived to be the more powerful position. (Power dynamics – longer conversation for another day.)

    Of course, most people don’t truly like feeling helpless, dependent, or passive. And, at some time or another, all of us experience helplessness, dependence, and passivity. Thus it seems some weird remnant of Sparta that we are culturally encouraged to disown these aspects of our own humanity – particularly since disowning them makes us more vulnerable to them, rather than less.

    So perhaps, Amanda, the question “What is the difference between asking and begging?” isn’t really the question you are trying to answer.

    Asking and (taken literally) begging – are essentially the same thing; the former is more neutral, while the latter carries nuances and a lot of baggage as to how the asking is preformed. But, I think, the difference between the two is not the nut you are trying to crack.

    If I understand correctly, what you’ve been up against is the aversion and baggage attached to the idea of asking/begging as it relates to wanting and/or needing. You’re up against psychic baggage around the idea someone admitting a need for collaborative support and asking for it.

    It’s fascinating – I’ve been reading this blog for around six years; to paint in very broad strokes, your team hasn’t done a thing that corporations don’t do in soliciting investors, start-up funds, or customers, except to ask for the same things they ask for candidly, directly, and in open air rather, rather than in boardrooms and behind the veil of political jargon and marketing illusions. And yet, directly asking a broad and public audience for support in creating managed to surface all sorts of unconscious swill and detritus around how people go about tending to the fulfillment of human wants, needs, and dreams.

    I’m so sorry this swill has been lobbed at you in such horrifically ugly ways, simply because you asked for assistance in realizing a dream, in making something for people who wanted it and loved it once it was made. Asking touched on the great sea of Fear – for too many people feel as if they aren’t allowed to ask, or to need, or to want. Don’t drown in the sad sea of projections, and good luck with the writing. I hope this helps in some way.

    • Félix Marqués

      This is, I think, the best post yet.

      “… your team hasn’t done a thing that corporations don’t do in soliciting
      investors, start-up funds, or customers, except to ask for the same
      things they ask for candidly, directly, and in open air rather, rather
      than in boardrooms and behind the veil of political jargon and marketing
      illusions. And yet, directly asking a broad and public audience for
      support in creating managed to surface all sorts of unconscious swill
      and detritus around how people go about tending to the fulfillment of
      human wants, needs, and dreams.”


    • NiroDanaHoi


    • Rut Blomqvist

      You write: “the core of the word “beg’s” been perverted somewhere along the way in
      our culture, so that we all understand it as a form of asking by one who
      is helpless and/or dependent and/or passive”

      It seems to me that you’re critical of how we’re afraid, how we’re made to be afraid, of being “weak” and of putting ourselves out there, of not being self-sufficient. I couldn’t agree more. The apparent language change that is underway probably does reflect a cultural change, as you write. The question is WHEN that change started.

      Individual independence is one of the basic ideals of modern Western civilisation, dating back at least to 16th/17th century philosophy. The peak of this ideology is modern neoliberalism. So, when did we start using the word “beg” in the new sense? I think that this change in the way we view dependence and cooperation is the very starting-point for what is today the globally dominant way of administrating human affairs. There have been brief exceptions, mainly during the post-World War II economic expansion with the welfare state, but the basic economic system and the underlying ideal of individual independence have been haunting us, as you call it, all the while.

      What we need to realise, what Amanda Palmer realises and is brave enough to act on, is that dependence isn’t bad, wanting to cooperate and asking for help don’t represent a weakness. There’s in fact nothing weaker than a lonely person. Homo sapiens is a social animal. Our political and economic system overlooks that, but people are still inventing ways of cooperating, and in our private lives, we’re all immensely dependent on the people we know and love – regardless of what ideological claims we support in the political sphere.

  • Cherry Alive

    Asking is looking at your audience, hand open, hoping but not expecting. Begging is grabbing at lapels, love-handles and lives, demanding.

  • Coraline

    When you ask, you give people the choice to answer the way they want.
    Exemple : my boyfriend leave me in May. I tell friends. Saying “I feel to bad, I don’t know what to do with this fucking pain. Help”. One friend explained me what bastard he was. Another invited me to come to her place and go watch The great Gatsby. Another listened to me crying on the phone. Another helped me fight old demons. And my father was just “holy crap, I can’t do anything for you.” Ask is let people give the answer they can.
    Begging is more like an order. “I need this now, give it to me.”

    When you kickstarted you album, you asked for any help : some gave money, some offer a ukulele when you lost yours, or a place to sleep.
    When I go shop at a record store, I’m begged to give the pricec written on the CD. End of the story.

    (I hope I’m clear enough…)

  • Alena Dausacker

    I sometimes think that asking for something is implying some kind of entitlement. “I did this. Will you do that?” or “I deserve this, will you give it to me?” or simply thinking that what you’re asking for is justified in some way. Begging on the other hand — for me at least — is asking without entitlement, speaking to that bit of good will we hope dwells in the heart of others.

    And although art is a huge thing for us humans, we tend to think of it as ultimately unneccessary and artists might feel that they are not entitled to ask. Because nobody asked THEM to do what they do. Quid pro quo. Or con. Or something. Because Art is fun, right? You don’t HAVE to do it. You LIKE doing it. That’s why I feel I’m not entitled to any further compensation.

  • arieke

    Interesting question.
    Asking: you’re equals and the question asked is neutral. The person asking has a question. The people who are asked can choose to answer or not, and the answer can go both ways. The question doesn’t imply what answer is right, it is just a question.
    Begging: you’re not equals and the question asked is not neutral. The begger is or makes hiim/herself dependant on the (answer of the) other. The person who is begged is (put in) a position of power over the person begging. With an emotional appeal – the question asked implies there is only one right answer.

  • Alf Vierth

    I have double standards concerning the issue. For me: Asking IS begging. I Don’t ask, so I don’t beg. Admittedly asking can be interrogation to. I try to avoid that to. I Do NOT ask! For others: If I don’t see their needs and am able to help them out without them asking I’m a lesser person because of it and in that case I’m very happy if they point my flaws out and help me help by asking.

  • John Brenner

    Asked. Answered.

    Permission. A question. A favor. A prayer.

    Begged. Granted.

    Forgiveness. Mercy. Release. To be heard.

  • Bonnie Warring

    The amount of pride it takes to do either….

  • greenguy

    Begging and asking are both strategies for getting what you want. But begging is more honest than asking. You beg out of a desperate need for something — an emotional plea for money to pay off debts or buy drugs, for example. The intention is honest — I really, really need this thing — even if you lie to get it. “I really really need this money to pay off debts” could actually be a ruse to get the money to satisfy an addiction.

    But you ask to make your true purposes more socially palatable. “I’m asking you to clean up your room” is really an order. “I’m asking you for a donation for my cause” is an outward show of respect when the true intention is just to get your money, without any real feeling for you as a person.

    Maybe begging is less socially acceptable because it is more honest.

  • cptsteele

    Asking is polite, begging is putting them in a position where despite their own circumstances they’ll be uncomfortable saying no

  • Cheryl

    This is going to start out all technical and English teacher geeky, but bear with me…Etymologically, “Beg” comes from an Old English word for poverty and “Ask” comes from words meaning “seek”, “desire” and “wish” ( Begging is coming from a position of inequality (financial, social, etc.) and asking is coming from a position of equality, or even strength. We use “begging” in many idiomatic ways, from “he’s begging for a beating” to “I beg your pardon”, but they are all posited from the idea that the “beggar” is the inferior person.

    I find it irritating when people cast Kickstarters as “begging for money”, particularly when it has that snarky internet comment forum flavour of “that Amanda Palmer — what’s SHE doing begging for money? She’s loaded!” Asking is not begging. Asking is desiring. Wishing. Seeking.

    And it’s not as if people can’t say “No.” Hearing “no” SHOULD be the worst thing that can happen after you ask for something. Asking should not be followed by being pilloried.

  • Gabriel Komisar

    I always thought that asking for something meant that ,”Yes” and “No” were suitable answers.
    Ex. “May I have a handjob?”

    “Alright then.”
    Whereas with begging you are demanding something from someone.
    Ex. “Dammit Charles, I need a handjob!”
    “Oh, if you insist.”

  • Marianna Tsvitov

    when you ask for something, you respect the other person’s freedom to
    say no, and are ok with whatever answer they give you. That being said,
    you don’t have to sink down to begging, in order to ask in a way that is
    very imposing.

  • Ryan_Anas

    Wow, I always knew you would write a book! I am very excited that the day is here!! I am also excited to offer my outlook on today’s question. I think the main difference between begging and asking is that when you beg for someone, there is an implication of shame should the person refuse to help. A begging dog comes to mind. They look up, they whine, sometimes they scratch at your leg. The message, feed me or I am going to be so sad. See how sad I already am that you get food am I not getting that food. Of course, I give a little food to the dog because the dog is dog.

    When humans beg, there is the implication that if you do not chose to help, it is a personal affront to the individual. When humans ask, it’s more like, hey I need this thing, but if you don’t have it, or don not want to give it, that’s cool, that’s cool. Can’t blame me for trying. I guess the overall message is a beggar takes it personally when they do not receive help, and will evoke feelings of shame in the person being asked to help them. A person who asks does not. They just ask. Hey i need this, do you want to give it to me. Yes! Awesome. No? Cool, have a good one.

    Ah, shame. If asking is the game, shame is surely the playing field. To ask for something will evoke feelings of shame. It shouldn’t. No one life form on earth would be here if not for the bio-net created by them all. Relying on each other is the very essence of living. But when we ask for something, shame happens. Not because we need something, but because we have all not given something we all know we needed to. Be it a dollar to a street performer because money was really tight, or a phone call to a friend cause we just couldn’t find the strength, it’s there. I makes the asking hard, and it hardens people to the ones who ask. But it should never be mined and transmuted into a tool. Because such darkness can only create a weapon.

    And that is my answer. I don’t feel that every person ever labeled a “beggar” has used shame to manipulate people into helping them, but when the word is used in a derogatory fashion, I think this is the reason. Happy wordsmithing to you! I love you I believe in you break a leg and hold your pensword high to the heavens xx

    <3 Ry

  • Joshua Hostetter

    Coming into this a few hours late and haven’t read all of the responses, so if someone has already said this I apologize. The only difference in asking and begging is the connotation of the word and the person being approached. I think typically people consider those less fortunate to be begging. Nobody looks at a homeless person and thinks they’re asking for money. The homeless man (or woman) is almost always said to be begging no matter who you ask.
    On the flip side of the equation, Assume a good friend of yours, on the same or higher economic level, came to you and said he needed a liver donated because his was dying. You wouldn’t associate that with begging until he started to debase himself to appeal to your pity. The less respectable he becomes, the more pitiable he becomes, the more he is perceived as begging instead of asking.

    • lentower

      summary – self respect is the difference ?!?

      • Joshua Hostetter

        There is no difference to the person doing the asking/begging. It’s in the person looking at it.

  • alex andra

    There’s no begging without asking,so ask for what you want, cause if you really want something,never be ashamed to ask for it. Sorry because my serbian-english it’s not grammatically correct,the point is clear.

  • Lady GS

    Asking is open ended, and in the process you open yourself up to new ideas and new methods, and asking is two sided, a give and take of connecting your needs and curiosity with someone else’s generosity and knowledge. Begging is one sided, a means to an end, the “mommy mommy mommy pleeeease can i have this cookie”, it puts your need into tunnel vision, the only means to one end. Asking has many outcomes. Begging expects one.

  • Manickmanda

    Dignity? When you are in a position to ask, you have dignity. When you have to beg, you are stripped of any dignity you once had.

  • Eric James

    Nothing to fear. A book is only a long form song, in free form. Singing to the question now…Begging betrays need, instantly, compulsively, kinetically, with few options. Asking requires decision making about choices in slow-mo.

  • Agata

    Asking is a normal, we asking about sth every day, begging is stronger, begging is dasperate, begging always make me think of something sad, its never means good things.

  • grantsmum

    to ask means to me you have options, to beg means you have run out of them x

  • Deb


    Well, how I see it is this:

    Asking is making it clear that assistance is optional, and that there will be no hard feelings should the person be unable (or unwilling) to help out. Begging is nagging, it’s guilt-tripping, it’s being unwilling to take no for an answer.

    I know that those in authority who view requests from the street as begging would see things differently, but they can go ahead and answer their own question. This is my answer!

  • Alana

    Asking is an invitation. Begging is a demand.

  • Zachary Kruskal

    If one person begs the other for money or food that’s probably as far as the relationship will go. They’ve boiled down an interaction that could have been much more to a one way transaction. There is no judgement in begging. Begging is being rejected countless times.
    Asking is done between people closer than strangers. Asking is trusting.
    These are just my fragments on this subject.

  • E.Porter

    You only beg for something when then other person has all the power and you have none.

  • Coppelia

    When I think in “begging”, I can see a picture in my mind: a person literaly hanging by the two hands from the speech bubble containing their request. Asking has just to do with expressing that “speech bubble”.

  • kevintkeith

    $1.2 million

  • Tochard

    You ask for help, you beg for forgiveness, both of which leave you holding your breath.

  • Liza

    in both cases, you know the answer you want. even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. if you ask something, you know what you want to hear. So the difference between asking and begging, is your level of despair.

  • Miss Bri Saussy


  • martina zandonella

    I’m a non-native speaker so I might get it wrong, but for me the difference would be in hierarchy: asking is equal-level, begging rather bottom-up.

  • Caroline Stine

    What is the difference between asking and begging?

    This is the question of my life. I work in theatre. I work with kids. I spend my life asking for help and finding I won’t get any until I beg. Every show I make, every audition we have, every different artistic decision I make walks the fine line between asking and begging.

    Asking is a grown-up, refined, quiet thing to do. I’ve found that most people ignore it.

    Begging is desperation. Begging is what happens when you’ve hit the eleventh hour and don’t have enough hands or bodies left to make the impossible happen. Begging is the cry in the night. Begging tends to, for me, get more results.

    Sometimes I wonder if they want me to beg. If they ignore asking because it doesn’t seem dire enough, and maybe it doesn’t make them feel important enough, needed enough. Begging proves that I am not all-powerful and have fragile, mortal failings. And I need other people’s help. NOW.

    Maybe after 16 years of running my own company I’ve become bitter. Or maybe I haven’t found the right way to ask, the way that will make everyone I work with know that it doesn’t happen without them. Or maybe this is the constant grind of art.

    I had a Russian teacher who said to me, “Make sure you will DIE if you do not do this, because otherwise it won’t be worth the sacrifice.” She was right. And that fine line between asking and begging is one of the hardest parts.

    • Liz

      I’ve found a similar pattern when trying to raise money and find resources for various charities. I think you might have hit on something with people needing to feel powerful. I also think that the background noise of most people’s lives is so all consuming (it seems we are all walking round with a million distractions in our minds) that you need to put strong emotion into a request before it is able to cut through all that & make people take notice. It strikes me that there is something similar going on in books & movies too – they have to contain extreme situations or emotions to make an impact & be successful.

  • Molilah

    Asking is when you still have choices. Begging is when you have none.

  • Jim Brown

    I think part of the difference between asking and begging is that when you ask for help or something, you generally are asking someone that you already know or some some sort of tangential relationship with (e.g., we both work for the same company/like the same artist/like Dr. Who). When you are begging, you accost anyone who happens along.

  • Dave

    Begging comes from weakness, and relies on the person that is asked to feel sorry for the asker. Often the beggar has no other options and nothtng to offer in return.

    Asking is a way to cooperate and the person that is asked has options and doesn’t feel guilty for saying “no”. The asker has other options.

  • ilia

    Asking is still something about trading something -even it is unmaterial what is given in return- while begging is just univoval. As an example most of ONGs that work with poor people o protecting animals doesn`t beg for help, they ask money and you receive some gift in exchange -even if it is at a high price- you pay it because you know that you are helping someone… it is based on the theory of reciprocity (social psychology) instead begging mean that you are asking something but you aren`t given something in return or you don`t think you are capable to give something in return. Most of the people in western society doesn`t like to help beggars because they like to ask for something. not every society work under the same rules in certain places people ask for favor to neighborgs all the time because they have a implicit code of reciprocity (cultural anthropology).. well I guess that’s all.. goodbye and good luck with your book!

  • Holly

    Asking is an invitation. Begging is an implied obligation.

  • ilia

    I’m sorry.. I made some grammar mistakes..please forgive me

  • Danamaria

    asking is when you can accept an alternative answer other than yes. Begging is when anything but yes isn’t good enough.

  • Mat

    Asking is “Hey, Dad, will you help me and Birdie move to another city where I have an offer for a better job, so we don’t have to worry about food and stuff?” when I’m determined to get there with or without his help.

    Begging is “Daddy, please, I need to do this, please PLEASE help us with this, Daddy if you love me at all help us get out of here, this place is killing me.” when all my other options fall through.

  • Lee T

    Whoa! Tough question! I think the difference actually has more to do with the object of the request than the requester. Asking is making a request that most likely will be willingly offered by the object of the request. Begging is an emotionally-based attempt to pressure or manipulate the other into giving the requester what he or she wants.

  • Panagiotis Keramefs

    When you’re asking for something you are in a priviledged position, it’s like you’re demanding something, either you ask for it nicely or not. When someone beggs for something, is somehow inferior, he is at the mercy. That’s why we say “I’m begging for love”, it is not a demand, it’s a humble request I think.

  • Carri Kashner Guida

    True acceptance of the possibility that no is an answer.

  • Shelley Koon

    Begging feels more like “do this for me because I can’t do it” as opposed to asking which is “I don’t have the expertise right now to do this but would like to learn from you to be able to stand on my own in the future”.

  • Eva

    All begging is asking. Not all asking is begging.

  • Nina

    Asking is consent, asking is foreplay, it is showing someone that you need them to want to do this with you. Begging is taking silence as a yes, begging is early ejaculation, it is putting your own needs above the others and not caring if they want to be a part. Now this is not to say that begging is always bad and asking is always good. Begging is selfish but selfishness is not inherently bad. Selfishness is a form of neediness. Both asking and begging are needy things. Neediness is human and flawed but becomes art and beauty when the need becomes a question, when the need becomes a hand reaching out for help.

  • Rachael Pixie

    Asking: one asks for things all the time. I asked my co-worker to forward my calls. I asked my friend if she wanted to take a walk. I asked my boyfriend if he felt like having spaghetti for dinner. Casual asking. We do it all the time. Even smaller moments are acts of asking: “excuse me, do you have any aspirin in stock?” while at the store. It may sound like begging if you have a migraine, but I’ve not yet gotten to that. Asking is something we all do, all the time, sometimes without thought. Sometimes with great thought. Sometimes, with hesitation. But it is a normal part of life. Many times, asking is without expectation. And on the other side, asking can be used to delay response. We learn this as children, asking our mother for something, only to be told, “ask your father.” And his answer? “Ask your mother.” Asking can be frustrating. Ask someone for something, or to do something, and in return, perhaps they will have to ask someone else. Sometimes, this is a legitimate thing. Sometimes, it’s a way of shifting blame. We all ask. We ask casually, we ask seriously. And I’d wager that most of us do not go a day without asking something, be it to gain an understanding of something, to obtain something, or to have someone do something for us. Or, to do something for someone else. “May I help you?” or “What can I do?” And so much of this is in the phrasing, the intent, and the way the asking is done. Shrugging and saying, “how could she ask me something like that?” Or “I know she asked for this, but what was she really asking for?” We ask questions when we don’t know the answer. We ask when we do. And we ask when we don’t want to know. Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves. Asking by and large fuels our interactions in this society.

    My co-worker just asked me what I am writing. I said, “a longer than I expected post about the differences between asking and begging. Because there’s this singer, you might like her, but anyway, she asked me to. So I am.”

    As the old saying goes, “There’s no harm in asking.” That’s mostly true. Unless you, for example, ask a heavy woman when the baby that she’s not pregnant with is due. There may be some harm in asking that one.

    On to begging. Begging is a whole other thing, and yet it’s not. Perhaps, most succinctly, begging is extreme asking. (Imagine if we referred to begging as “extreme asking”? There would be less shame associated with it – “Oh that guy extreme asking for change on the corner? He’s awesome. He’s actually the most extreme asker in the state! You gotta see this!” But I jumped ahead. I didn’t get to the shame part yet.)

    While I largely described asking as a non-emotional act, begging is tied to emotions. Strong emotions. People don’t beg easily. It involves somewhat putting aside your pride, stepping to the side of your ego, and opening up to someone in a way that leaves you vulnerable. You don’t beg for an aspirin, or beg someone to want spaghetti for dinner. You beg when all options are exhausted, when it is a last chance and a saving grace. Or you beg from pure emotions. You beg for your life in a desperate situation. You beg for a meal when you are starving. You beg a love not to leave, even as they’re walking out the door. You beg God, the universe, and benevolent space monsters to spare the life of your dying mother. You beg someone to stop hurting themselves, be it with drink, with words, or with weapons.

    And you never beg lightly, perhaps outside of children’s tantrums, begging for a candy bar by the checkout in the supermarket. As a child, that candy bar seems monumentally important, worthy of such a display. In a way, it’s innocent and beautiful – this child has yet to learn shame for their emotional displays, and has yet to learn of the myriad reasons that one would legitimately beg for something as time progresses. And in such a short time on this planet, scale is not yet established, and immediacy of the moment, true presence, is all that can be comprehended. As an adult, as you beg, you know you have let someone see your flaws. Your worst. Your weaknesses. Your uncensored emotions. Your soul. And we’re scared of that.

    …Unless we’re not. Sometimes, we’re so desperate, we cease to care. We go back to the child who doesn’t know, and jet past it, to someone who knows and doesn’t care either out of simple lack of a reason to, or because there is no other option. The man “begging” for change, or food, or to be treated with human respect… he is there. He begs because he must. He asks with urgency because there is no other way. He isn’t allowed to feel the hesitation or to stop himself, because his very survival is at stake. The person begging the loved on to please, please not leave… tear-soaked and sobbing, is also there. Because in love, it often feels as if survival is at stake, and so, we are capable of begging.

    To ask is easy. What’s the harm in asking? What’s the worst they can say? No? And we move on.
    To beg is difficult. What’s the harm in begging? What’s the worst they can say? No? And we’re devastated.

    It’s entirely emotional. Unless it isn’t.

  • Marie-Hélène De Cannière

    Asking is something you do once, and only once. With an open mind and open heart towards the response.
    Begging is putting yourself in the apparent position of a victim, with but one goal: get what you want. You thus act like a victim, but somehow you are a dictator, a manipulator. Only one response will stop you begging: the one YOU have in mind.
    Paradoxically, hence, asking is daring to be fragile to the utmost extreme. While begging is finding comfort in behaving like you have been or could be hurt to the utmost extreme.
    Asking is a proof of Inner Power.
    Begging is proof of Strength.
    This last one, I should maybe explain: being powerful, to me, is absolutely different from being strong. A powerful person knows the art of being fragile. A strong person keeps him/herself straight based on will, reason, force… I have been strong for decades. I discovered Power hidden deep down in truthful love of the self and from there, of the others…

    Powerful people Ask. Strong people Beg.

    You are free to say either yes or no or anything in between to someone who asks.
    You are never free in what you say to someone who begs.
    Until you become powerful, and free yourself of the guilt towards beggars…

    Love your Project, Amanda, loved your TedTalk. I don’t know about music, listened to some of yours, but hey, to me, you are a Beautiful Person. With the music. Good luck on your Book Journey! Enjoy the Ride…

  • Jamie Metcalfe

    It depends on the situation. It’s circumstantial. Asking can be begging, but begging cannot always be asking. It’s much deeper, more immediate and more intimate. Asking implies questioning, where begging implies dire need for what is asked for. There is nothing wrong with either.

    We beg our lovers to stay and we ask them what we can do to keep them around. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s completely ugly, sometimes it’s completely beautiful. When someone is selfless and helps you in your time of need it feels less like begging, and more like a genuine human connection.

    Begging can be looked down upon, asking; not so much. Begging is beneath most people. But most cannot achieve all their goals by themselves.

  • lentower

    How long did the TED talk take to develop?
    How little else did you HAVE to do?

    Books, like TED talks, are different than blogs.
    Let the book have the time it needs.
    Most likely different than the time it takes to write 9 blogs.

    And it might end up more than 50,000 words. ; – }

  • JustifiedBagel

    Asking comes from a place of being a cooperative, social being; begging comes from a place of not feeling like you are enough, have enough, or are strong enough. Any kind of asking tends to feel like begging to me, though, which I think is where the fear of asking comes from.

  • Joanne Sprott

    Asking wears a smile and gives a shrug. Begging wears a frown and takes a tug.

  • John

    I ask you. I ask you to ask me to ask you. But I don’t beg you. Don’t beg you to beg me to beg you.

  • Jann McKenzie

    Asking is searching for an answer. Begging is searching for a cure. xoxo

  • Liz

    I guess the answer will be different for everyone, but for me asking describes someone making a request while seeming happy to accept either a yes or no in response, while begging would be someone who makes it clear that a negative response will affect them in an unfavourable way.

    Begging has connotations of laying on a guilt-trip to get what you want. It might either be a genuine cry for help from someone who’s exhausted all other options or a calculated manipulation for optimum gain.

    Of course, this all comes down to perception (as most things do!)

  • bookwyrm1025

    The the difference is perspective. If they don’t like you, you’re fucking begging. If they like you, you’re asking.

  • CausticPill

    The difference between asking and begging is one of respect and need. Asking requires you to put aside your own needs and wants in deference and respect to the other individuals needs and wants. Begging is a repeated declaration of selfishness in which you do not care enough about the individual to consider their wants or needs or they do not care enough about yours. Asking is connection. Begging is disconnection.

  • Alex

    Begging is repetitive asking, with increasing desperation.

  • disqus_L5gwqOJ7vP

    in both cases you require help. the helper probably reacts to the beggar with pity. it may also feel more like a charity when helping the beggar.

  • Nikos Dunno

    Begging is asking. Asking isn’t begging. Asking comes from a place of desire. Begging comes from a place of need. Asking requires at least two people, one talking and one/many listening. Begging works fine with just one talker, and most of the times many non-listeners. Asking may give you answers. Begging makes it clear that you’re not interested in other people’s answers, you’re already requesting from them to help you in the way you want. Asking needs courage. Begging needs desperation. Asking is a choice. Begging is a last resort. Asking is equality. Begging is seperation. Asking includes fear of what you might hear coming back at you. Begging includes fear of getting nothing back. Begging may get you what you want. Asking may get you what you want, and possibly what you didn’t know you wanted!

  • Sarah Yomba Shoshone

    ASKING means that One keeps a level of their personal integrity. The recognition of Individuation being present is SO important…the process by which the wholeness of the individual is established through the integration of consciousness and the collective unconscious. We can ask when recognize ourselves and the details that have made us who we are. If one is grateful for the positive contributions others have given us, conscious and unconscious, asking becomes much easier. In this case, WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES. There is reciprocity present. We have wealth beyond riches to give and to receive.

    BEGGING is desperation. It is scraping by without energy to give back. Begging is necessary when relationships are not strong, nurtured or when One does not receive or give support from community. Begging happens when relationships and Self gets stretched too thin. Self nurturing along every step of the journey has not been sustained. I believe that One may find begging as an option when One has nothing left and nothing to loose. This is not meant to down play the pain and suffering of someone who feels the need to beg. The divorce from support is very serious and can be devastating. Sometimes it also can be quite a journey to find a community that will support us. Be it a radical queer 2 spirit, punk rock community or a conservative community. If One can not find that community that nurtures, One may be more susceptible to flailing, staying afloat and begging.

    This is a sad thing.

    All in all it is important to stay healthy in mind, body, spirit, tribe/community and family. In this way, we can ask for support, because we are not just taking, we are healthy enough to give back.

  • Serenbyw

    To me, begging is just intense asking. It means you truly want or need something, or you think you do, or you pretend you do. I don’t see begging as a negative thing, though the reasons behind it can make it negative. The reasons and your mindset matter. Asking for charity is not always begging, and begging is not always asking for charity, and sometimes it is. I’ve asked for money on the street, but passersby would have called me a beggar. And it wouldn’t have mattered, really, I probably don’t share their values anyway.

  • Jeff Elmore

    Begging is the last ditch desperate effort after you have asked your heart out.

    • Mrs. Lena Hoff

      you are so right, but let me add a thought of mine: if you have to beg, you havent asked the right one, because this person aint positive about what you asked, and even if you convince them to help you, they still have questioned if it is the right thing to do. so if you have to beg, you need to think about the fact that the person you begged might not be worth helping you. and in the end that means that this person does not respect you that much that they will help you without having doubts about what they help you for. what do you think?

  • betsi krisniski

    When you ask, it is a matter of respect: not only because you respect that person, but you respect yourself enough to converse with them on the same level, mano-a-mano. When you beg, you are saying to the provider, “look, I am below you, give me some of what you have.”

  • temporaryhero

    Asking: Making a request. Dat’s it.
    Begging: Asking, but including an emotionally blackmailing component to the question.

  • Blaire R

    The way I see it, begging is the more desperate form of asking. The first time you make a request, it’s asking: it might be polite or demanding, but it’s still just asking. When you have to ask again – and again and again and again – that’s begging. It’s proof that you are so desperate to accomplish a goal that you’re willing to keep asking. Like you said, people don’t like to ask. It’s uncomfortable, it’s somewhat self-demeaning (sometimes), it’s humbling. It’s also an act of submission to the person you’re begging: if you ask once, you’re saying that person is useful; if you beg, you’re telling the person that you need them enough to give them some amount of power over you.

  • Peri White

    Asking and begging are two different adjectives for the same action.

    The meanings of those adjectives vary depending on the situation, emotion and need of the individual asking or being asked, begging or being begged.

    I think that media and society have influenced us to have negative feelings towards “begging” as apposed to “asking”.

  • David Kinsel

    Asking is proactive, partnership, not letting go of personal responsibility but needing help to stay in control. Begging is expecting someone else to take control.

  • Heather

    asking is when you loan $5 to a friend or family member, begging is when you look down upon a stranger asking for a dime. In perspective, it makes at least me feel a bit shitty that I think of it like that.

  • nogara

    With asking I am on the same level like you and you are a partner for me in my eyes. With begging I lift you over myself and I wait for the resolution from you and maybe it really dependsd on you.

  • Brittany Taylor

    The difference between asking and begging, in my opinion is this:

    -Asking is simpler, and generally has less of a motive. It is a question, and the asker wishes to hear an answer, regardless of what said answer is. Theres not as much pressure with asking. You want to know something, or perhaps want an opinion. Its more lighthearted.

    -Begging, however, is asking -for- something. Something specific. Something desperate. Something you perceive you need and are willing to set all pride aside to get it. To ask for something. (…and for nothing in return a lot of times, aside from undying gratitude. I personally think that when you get to the point of begging it is simply because you don’t have anything to offer back for that which you need.)

  • Ste

    I think there are several differences and similarities between asking and begging depending on the context and extent or lack of requirement.
    I think some of the complexity stems from the multiple meanings and definitions of ask and of beg.
    Ask a question / Begs the question
    Asking for something / Begging for something

    Asking has always seemed more in the casual or superficial side. Basic info. Borrow a pencil or something else readily available that would not cost the other person much effort, inconvenience, or cause any harm or put anyone at risk.

    Begging has more weight. The situation is more dire than “what’s the time?” The need more pressing or urgent. Calling in a favor. Owing.

    There’s an imbalance of power with begging.

    I suspect that some of the overlap comes from the limits of we humans. There are but a few ways to inquire or request or ask or beg, whether it be vocal or written, between the person who has and the person who has not (assuming a direct person to person exchange; the person who has not is the one to somehow inform or cause awareness in the person who has).

    I think it’s also worthwhile to mention an other kind of animal: dogs beg.

  • Holly

    I don’t know if my message posted so I’ll write it again.

    I see the difference as being a difference in equality. Asking occurs between equals, begging is a power exchange between a superior and an inferior.

    When you ask, you ask as an equal with the same rights and expectations as the person you are asking.

    When you beg, you are acknowledging inferiority to the person you are begging from. You give them a position above you and make yourself less.

  • Rachel Ely

    A homeless man sits on the street, his back resting against the marble facade of some commercial or governmental building. One hand holds a sign explaining his situation, or perhaps the collar of an equally homeless dog, or maybe just a beer wrapped in brown paper, while the other hand is held aloft, a silent supplication to those walking past.

    That, to my way of thinking, is begging. There’s no engagement, no relationship(however tenuous), between the man sitting on the street and the man or woman walking by who may or may not drop change or the occasional bill into that outstretched hand. The homeless man is doing nothing more than existing for his ‘paycheck’.

    Asking assumes involvement. Asking is telling someone coming up to me at a gas station and telling me that he and his wife just need a couple of dollars for gas to get them to point B, and can I help? Asking is an artist in a park doing what artists do, and even if they don’t have a hat out to accept payment for the art that they’ve let loose in that park, they’re still asking for your attention.

    Asking is please, and thank you. Begging is give it to me now.

  • Guest

    I think asking allows you to be more vulnerable because you usually do it to people you know and trust, whereas begging is a more anonymous often more pushy. It is not often that you beg your friends, or ask of completely strangers – even if those lines in your position are blurred because you don’t treat your fans (or even the people on the street in your statue days, or so it seems) as strangers.

    And good luck on the book!

  • Matthew Kirshenblatt

    First of all, I am definitely getting this book when it comes out. Second, this seems to be an insane year for doing insanely epic projects when you generally don’t have time. I know I’m immersing myself in that same kind of equally parts symmetrical and frenzied creative energies. I wish you the best of luck, break a few pencils and keys, and with Anthony and Neil and countless you will do what needs to be done. I’m going to take the third part of what I was going to say–addressing your question on raised palms–and make another post. :)

  • Jori Lunsford-Konrad

    Please talk to my son, he has lived the same way for the past five years. you may even know him from the Seattle streets, his street name is GAZ. He also wants to write a book.

  • Catato

    The level of desperation involved.

  • Mrs. Lena Hoff

    first of all, i love the idea to actually read a book which you wrote. i think asking for help is the bravest thing you can do in your life. asking for help ain’t easy, especially if you really need someones help.

    the difference between asking and begging is:
    if you beg somebody for something you need to convince the one to do something. if you ask somebody to do something and the person does so because they like you, they do it because they want to, so this means they are totally behind your back from the first second on you told them why or for what you need their help. if you have to beg for something, the person is actually not the right one to help you, because even if they say ‘yeah, sure you convinced me’, they weren’t behind your back all the time, they weren’t positive about it, they questioned it and thats not a good way to start something. if you have to beg, it’s not the right person you’ve asked.

  • LilithSativa

    When a person makes a request they know that whatever the answer is they will be ok with it, they have to be ok with it. When a person begs they already have the “Yes” pre-programmed in their ears. When they hear a no, then there is an emotional response that is far more intense, and quite often not very nice.

  • Emily Smith

    Asking is to desire a legitimate answer, while begging is to depend on one particular answer.

  • Nikki

    Asking is hoping that you’ll get the response and what you need. Begging is when you’ve lost all hope and the fundamentals and support aren’t there.

  • Emily Smith

    What is odd about the two, asking and begging, they are essentially the same, however, the beggar feels not shame in revealing what is truly desired, while the one who asks tends to feel some injury to ones sense of pride which may be why they are more open to answers that don’t necessarily meet what they wanted to hear for an answer. So….The beggar has no pride or sense of self, yet embraces his true desires/motivations, while the person who just simply asks has reserved pride of self, yet is not willing to truly reveal their desires/motivations.

  • Matthew Kirshenblatt

    What is the difference between begging and asking?

    It’s probably not too original to say make the distinction that both begging and asking are two entirely different dynamics between people. In fact, they are very different perspectives or paradigms that can be mistaken for each other.

    Begging is a paradigm of hierarchies: of basically a binary or divide between someone who believes they have no power and someone who believes–or whom society believes–does have power. And by power, I also mean money and influence. Someone who begs believes they are lacking something–or in the material sense of food or shelter–they really are lacking something. To beg often has this connotation of desperation, of “weakness” and this certain ingrained acknowledgement of their potential, but uncertain, benefactor being “better” than they are. As a result, someone who begs can be seen as acknowledging that disparity between them and the other person: that they are somehow “lesser” but that other person has all the power to make them more. There can be a certain level of subservience and pleading and an idea that the other person is the one that gives them the influence. It’s a purely give and take relationship: where the beggar feels as though they owe their benefactor if the latter decides to give them what they want.

    And then you have asking. For a little more background, I was a special education student. I have a learning disability that sometimes requires me to need further clarification of instructions and such more than some other people. When you are in Special Ed., you learn that asking for extra help is not only all right and acceptable: it is essential to your growth. In the case of a learning disability, it can also be construed as having an alternate way of learning or perceiving the world around you. As such, traditional structures–perhaps like begging or something akin to that–do not always help you. You learn that asking is essential and even healthy to do.

    For me, asking is different from begging–and I admit I have been influenced by your TED Talk in this attempt at a definition–in that you are attempting to relate to another human being as an equal. By asking for help, you are not revealing “weakness,” but a vulnerability that becomes honesty become strength for admitting that you have that vulnerability. Moreover, asking builds new relationships and the potential for new resources: or providing more impetus for pre-existing ones. Ideally, it is a very reciprocal relationship: where you get the resources and influence that you need and you “pay it forward”: you accomplish your goal and return the fruits of it to the person that helps you. It’s similar to how some people look at applications such as Kickstarter. And you yourself once mentioned that Kickstarters are essentially platforms where creative people can ask for help and relate to their audience and fans as people when doing so.

    Whereas the act or the paradigm of begging seems to dehumanize or objectify people into numbers and potentially create uneven relationships between beggar and benefactor, asking can potentially humanize you and the people you are asking for help: and everyone can potentially learn something and win out from it. If the asking is refused, then it’s really fair enough and you move on to ask someone else who might help you as opposed to the “win or lose” paradigm of begging.

    I’m sure I could have summarized all of this into a sentence or two but basically: begging operates on the idea that you can get something that you don’t have, whereas asking is the potential to undertake something that you believe you do have and also the ability to make new and mutual relationships for it. And I need to follow my own advice. I hope this helps you, Amanda Fucking Palmer.

  • Matthew Kirshenblatt

    Or if you’d like: begging is the idea of one party having all the power and the other lacking and craving it, while asking is the mindset of both parties having power and potential and mutually agreeing on sharing it.

  • Daniel McGregor

    For me the difference between asking and begging lies in it’s expression. When I ask for something I am expressing an interest in what I desire. And the thing I receive from my inquiry can vary but it is mostly positive in the reactions it causes. It is a better way of verbally interacting with one another.

    Begging is in it’s expression quite submissive and has a tendency to put people off. Some people react dismissive others puzzled and some aggressive. Begging is in terms of communication very one note in regards to interaction.

  • abbichicken

    I think it’s about the level of need. Asking is hopeful, optimistic, curious. Begging is needful, essential, emotional, even desperate.

  • Rockafied

    Asking is dependent on the other person and there feelings about the question or situation. When asking a question you are willing to accept whatever answer may come your way, and it is often based on curiosity or the desire to gain knowledge. Begging is asking a question, sometimes the same one repeatedly, with desire for only one answer. Usually the asker is oblivious or uncaring about any other responses they may receive.

  • Jane Elliot

    asking is making a request once, begging is making the request over and over.

  • Marc Hönninger

    I think some people use the begging to get to people, but they don’t realize that they scare people away and some of them will just do them a favor and then run away. As when you ask, people will come by their own, stay loyal and true.

  • madlycan

    depnds on what you mean by the terms… asking has a better reputation. it’s more polite, less of a bother to the one asked maybe. it depends on the situation. begging often is more desperate. begging more often gets justifications and explanations added to it. begging is close to pleading…..

  • Tesla Focareta

    Asking is having enough confidence and self-respect to make your needs known in a civilized manner. Asking shows mutual respect for both your needs and those of the other person.

    Begging is placing your self-worth and value in somebody else’s hands, and looking to them for validation. Begging shows a lack of respect for both yourself and others.

    So glad you decided to write the book! People have such strong reactions to you because you show them what is possible. That inspires some, and scares the shit out of others.

  • oddjester

    Asking for help means that you are allowing the person you are asking to say yes or to say no. Now personally when someone asks me for help and I give it, I don’t expect anything back. When I ask for help I make sure to be able to help that person in the future if they need it.

    When you beg for help you are desperate. You need that help and you are powerless without it. You may not be able to do anything for the giver, or you may still able to give something in return now or in the future. The thing is that you are putting yourself on a level in which you are expecting someone to say yes but you are showing them why they should say yes.

    The kickstarter is an interesting beastie because I do believe you are asking because anyone can say yes or no and there was no element of desperation. However, every person got something in return for saying yes. In fact they could even choose what they really truly wanted and see if they were able to pay that price for it. You were in fact selling merchandise just like a label would. I think the main thing you were asking each of us for was faith. We paid for the merchandise and we had faith that we would like the cd and like the merchandise that came to us. So each fan made the choice to believe or not to believe (or they believed but had no money). I believed and gave the amount I could. In the case of your kickstarter my faith was well placed. I got everything I paid for. I love that album. It was amazing. Years from now when I am old and dying that cd will still have meaning to me and will be something I want to hear.
    The tour was amazing. I was one of the musicians who volunteered and then got paid. I purposefully spent most of that money at the merchandise booth. (If it wasn’t for medical bills it would have all been spent there). I would happily sign up to play again and would be fine if we were not paid. If I ever had money that I could do so with I would in fact pay you to let me do that again. The way I saw that experience was that I got the opportunity to be on stage with someone I admire. I got to be part of that concert. With the hell that has occurred in my life since that concert I am that much more glad to have that memory of that experience. You were an amazing person to meet. Thank you for letting all of us experience that.

    I’m sorry that the project lost money. I don’t see it as a failure though. I really truly adore that album. The songs matter to me. They are well made and something to be proud of.

    My grandfather spent most of his life as a composer and arranger of music. He had hundreds of published pieces for bands and orchestra. He had opportunities to move and write for movies or direct for famous bands/late night shows but he chose not to do so. He wanted a different life for his family. He could have been famous but he didn’t really want that. Instead he taught band for
    highschool and college and he wrote pieces that he wanted to write. Some of the pieces were published and some of them weren’t. The thing is that he took pride in all of them and he loved writing each one. Some of the ones that weren’t published at that time we are sending off and publishing now after his death. He didn’t make all the money he could have but I will always consider him a success. His pieces are still selling even now because they are good. He loved
    his life. He made an impact on the people around him.

    The thing about music and art is that you can’t judge either as a success by the amount of money it makes. You put out a cd that touched me. It wasn’t a cd of radio friendly fluff. It had meaning. The experience I had with the concert impacted my life. I don’t care that it lost money. In my
    mind you set out to make an amazing cd and musical experience and you more than succeeded.

    Sorry to get off topic but there you go.

  • Anna

    There is no difference to the asker, or the beggar, except scientifically, physically, mentally, magically. Asking is like lemons, begging is like smashing the lemons with a mallet and rubbing the remnants into your very soul.

    But moreover, the difference is found in the respondent. To refuse an ask is an explosion of normality, to refuse a beg is to be as callous as a snail made entirely of sandpaper.

  • Tiffany Danelle

    Asking is the act of putting yourself out there with no regrets to achieve some benefit. Begging is the action best described as putting your pride in your pocket due to desperation and an intense need or want of some kind.

  • hans Andreas R.

    To ask is a genuine act, made by somebody with a self-consciousness, knowing that he shows his most vulnerable side. To beg is a selfish act, because you think you have to do it that way, or imposed by others that you have to do it that way.
    In our world, in or society there isn’t much asking anymore, but so much begging, because we live in dominating, dictating society.
    asking is from the heart, begging is true the brain.

  • Caitley

    The difference between begging and asking boils down to power dynamics and the type of transaction being implied. The person who asks is in control: “this is what you can do for me”, usually something specific. For example, asking for donations, asking to support a Kickstarter, etc. The person who begs is not in control: “I need this, please give this to me”, usually something nebulous. The classic example of begging is beggars (not surprisingly) who ask for money or food but with no promise of a return or giving something in return.

    This brings me to my next point, that asking is a mutual transaction, though it does not necessarily mean both sides benefit (there might be a third-party, too), whereas begging is one-sided. Asking implies that whoever gives will get something in return, or someone will benefit, but not at the giver’s expense. Begging, on the other hand, is only for the benefit of the beg-er, and usually at the giver’s expense. An artist asks for money: “I’d like to support myself with the work I’ve done or will do”. Charities ask for money or food: “We want to support others in the community”. Someone begs for spare change: “Can I have a dollar to get a snack?” Children beg their parents for toys: “Can I have the doll?”

    There’s no set defined line between the two, however. What about churches asking for donations to support the church? You could say that they are selfishly begging, but someone donating is likely part of the church and benefits from sermons, etc. It’s easy to conflate the two. It has more to do with intention and social context than any preconceived formula of the difference between begging and asking. Which is why a lot of people probably accuse you (AFP) of begging when you ask for donations. It can be seen as selfishly trying to support yourself; but we all know that you are trying to support your art, which is embodied in you. If you were doing it for someone else, no one would think you’re begging.

    TL;DR: Begging is selfish or self-serving. Asking is not.

  • Chris McKenna

    Asking is where you have somewhere to go if the answer is no.
    Begging is where you don’t.

  • Rachel Rose Hope Helgeson

    What is the difference between asking and begging?

    Well, typically I’ll start off by asking for something of someone, which gives them the option of giving me what I want, or not giving me what I want. And sometimes I’ll ask for something that I really want, or even need, and there’s still the possibility that the person I’m asking will say no. I think when you’re willing to accept “no” for an answer, that’s asking. If you initially start by “asking” but know it’s for something you absolutely must have (whether it’s tangible or not), that becomes begging. Or rather, when you’re denied it becomes begging. Because for me, if I feel I need it I won’t back down. And sometimes I can quickly lose all politeness and class. Then again most people get angry when they feel they’re denied their rights or needs, don’t they? I don’t know. I guess I think asking is more civil, between two mature, reasonable adults. Begging is where it gets intense and no one is happy.

  • NecessaryQuaint

    In general, they are the same thing. It is mostly based on how the people might behave, and how others might see it what makes the different.

    I’d say that asking means to go to another person, or to noone in particular for help or aid of some sort, but without imposing anyone to aid you. You do ask expecting an answer though. But it feels more like an invitation.

    Asking does in part mean to recognize ‘I can’t do this on my own’ ‘I don’t know how’ ‘ I know how, but I don’t have all the tools’…etc. And because of that for many it also implies trust. Because many times we are scared of it. Because if it makes us vulnerable, some might feel it shows us as being weaker.

    But that fear in part might make asking feel like begging to the one doing it.

    And begging, in a lot of situations, can be seen as something dishonoring by society, or at least by some parts of it. But then some people might also have that point of view towards asking.

    Begging is a more difficult one. There’s a negative connotation to it. The person being begged to ends in a situation of ‘power’. Because the aid in this case seems to be more urgent, But at the same time, the person begging is impossing an obligation into the other person in a lot of cases. This probably doesn’t happen with every case, but there’s also the feel underneath of ‘You have to help me because i’m in need and you have how to help me’ there is a higher pressure, wether the ‘you have how to help me’ is actually real or not. There might be emotional manipulation put into it.

    The situation is put on the hands of the other person, it depends on them and not in the person begging to solve it.

    I really do feel though, begging mostly just asking, with more urgency, need or desperation for something. The fact it might load the receiver with an obligation is mostly just based on the fact that people resorts to begging, once all the other options had been already tried and failed. Maybe even because it is just too late to ask.

    If we weren’t so scared to be hurt, and if we weren’t so scared to be judged, and so qwuick to judge others and ourselves. The idea of begging would probably lose its menaing. Because there’d not be any need for it.

  • Simon Key

    We own a little Independent bookshop in North London called the Big Green Bookshop. We opened it a few years ago, because the chain bookstore in the area closed down (we were the managers of that store) and it meant that this much neglected area of London would be without a bookshop.

    No, we thought. This can’t happen. So we started a blog “Open a Bookshop, What could possibly Go Wrong”, which chronicled our efforts to open our own shop. This got picked up by the local community (and a few more national and international folks) and following this we had a huge amount of support from complete strangers on our journey to try and open this darned bookshop.

    To cut a long story short, we borrowed a load of cash from the bank and opened up the shop in 2008.

    It’s awesome. We’ve tried to listen to our customers and be the bookshop that they wanted. We became a community space, putting on monthly, comedy nights, a boardgame club, knitting clubs, songwriters workshops aswell as author visits and signings etc.

    Anyway, about 2 years ago things got a bit sticky. We had about 10 months left to pay off the bank, but we just didn’t seem to be getting enough people through the door. We didn’t quite know why, but we knew we couldn’t survive another 10 months. So we ASKED our customers for help.

    Something amazing happened, which you can read about here.
    It changed everything.
    We love our shop and we love our community and friends for helping it survive.
    It’s important to be honest and I think this proves why.

  • Hanno Smit

    Simple, asking makes you want to give because – you WANT, you LOVE, and you CARE. Begging makes you need to give because you feel GUILTY and OBLIGATED. Its almost like that spanking you got for bad behaviour v.s. the lollipop you got when you were good. The outcome is similar but the associations are polar opposites.

  • salamander

    if you are asking you are hoping. if you are begging you are expecting.

    • Eva Patterson

      Could it not also be the other way around?

  • Anna

    The difference between asking and begging only exists in the mind of the person being asked. If someone comes up to you and requests something you are happy to give, they are asking. If they request something you are unwilling to give, they are begging.

    We say that people are begging when we find their requests unreasonable. I think it’s really that simple.

  • Emily Freshour

    I don’t think the difference in asking or begging lies in the desperation of the asker or even the need for what is being requested.

    One asks for a thing.
    One begs for a “yes”.

  • Nikki Vine

    It’s all about respect and control. Asking shows respect to whom you’re asking as well as respect for yourself and the use of control to guide the situation. Begging is an intense loss of control. It’s a plot to wear a person down until they inevitably give in and it shows no respect for the individual.

  • Talia Hammen

    Asking in my experience is more like “Hey are you free later? I need a ride somewhere.” It’s casual not do or die. I need it but the world wont end if I dont get what I’m asking for. Begging is “I have to go to the hospital I need you to please come now.” There’s urgency, vulnerability and usually panic.

  • Trudi Nelson

    To me, the differences are:
    a.) implied payback through equivalent favors or monetary value at a later date.
    whether you think it is good for me, or I ought to have what I am
    asking for (in most parts of the world anyone can ask for a glass of
    water rather than beg for it, I hope?)
    c.) the energy exchange between asker and asked (via long relationship OR instant connection)
    d.) and also, what everyone else said. Especially that asking allows for an easy “no” answer.

  • g

    I think asking and begging have the same intention, that neither is more desperate, but the way in which they are expressed differs. Asks are worded and concrete, but begs are emotional. A dog begs for scraps (he stares at you with his big round eyes and your heart melts). A dog asks for scraps (he has gained the power of speech and requests half of your sandwich). I do not have the courage to ask for help because that would require speaking aloud my weakness, but I beg for help silently and ineffectively.

  • Eva Patterson

    Begging is more powerful than asking because when begging you are most likely requesting a favor which is vital for your well-being and requires more benevolence from the giver than something asked for. Asking can also be something you do out of politeness, e. g. “May I pet your chinchilla?”, whereas begging articulates raw need, in whatever form necessary to obtain the desired thing.

  • Maddy D Moose

    I think the difference is that asking is hard, you were correct, but begging can be harder. It takes every amount of pride you have, and more, to need to beg for something you need. Asking is different, asking can be that hard, but it doesn’t swallow the whole of your pride.

  • melissathehuman

    Begging implies need, whereas asking implies want. If you beg for something, it is assumed that you need the object, or else. If you ask for something, it is assumed that you will be able to complete your task some other way, but the object would be very helpful and appreciated.

  • Jennifer Louise Lee

    I’m seeing a lot of comments that imply that begging must carry a deeper need than simply asking. I disagree. I don’t think the difference between asking and begging lies in the question itself – I believe it lies with the person performing the action.

    I, personally, will never, ever fucking beg – for ANYTHING. Asking for help is hard enough, and whatever situation I am in that prompts a need to ask for help will never warrant throwing away my dignity, as well.

    Does my unwillingness to beg mean my issue must not be “desperate” enough? Clearly not. It’s a matter of self-preservation. Self-respect. If I am in desperate need of help, I am likely to already feel pretty down on myself – I simply refuse to add to my own feelings of worthlessness.

    Furthermore, begging is inherently manipulative. It is meant to play on the heartstrings of the other person. I don’t like being a party to attempting to strip others of their free will. And if my simple request for help yields a “no,” I find it unlikely that begging will accomplish much of anything other than perpetuate self-hatred on my part, and guilt on the other person’s.

    The world needs more respect in it – for ourselves, and for others. What it absolutely does not need is more negative energy.

  • SLY

    When you ask a question you are seeking an answer you do not know. It could be radical or what you already presumed to be the answer, but still, you must ask the question because you do not definitively know the answer.

    When you beg, you already have a preconceived notion of what the answer could be, and most likely it is the answer you want.

    When you ask a question you allow for cushion. Maybe I will get the answer I was expecting? Maybe they will have no idea either, but I still have to ask.

    When you beg you’re on your hands and knees pleading for the answer you want to hear.

    Asking is for the curious.
    Begging is for the desperate. Those who know the answer, but still need reassurance from others. That’s why begging is for beggars because beggars will go up to every different human expecting the answer they want, and when they answer like every other human they went up to they will not stop until that one human being answers in the manner they expect.

    • Jennifer Louise Lee

      Are you aware of the fact that in your multitude of responses, you are contradicting yourself? >>

  • Emma Sharpe

    begging involves evoking and then manipulating a persons emotions to get something, asking uses the beliefs and emotions already there and has more free will involved

  • Julie Parker

    Attitude and perspective. Expectation, entitlement…
    Asking is an admittance of vulnerability and request for help.
    Begging is more of a willful act – placing your burden (which everyone else is also facing in one way or another) onto others.

    • Jennifer Louise Lee

      Very well stated, thank you!

  • Courtney

    The difference is desperation.

  • esmertina

    I’m sitting with 5 colleagues, 3 of whom are visiting from India. They do not know you and they are not fans. Here is what they say:

    Mike says: “When you ask for something, you’ll be OK if you don’t get it. But if you’re begging for something and you don’t get it, there goes your day.”

    Balaaji says: “Asking is for what I can get, and if not I can get an alternate. Begging is desperate and for shame.”

    Bala says: “Asking means I need that thing and I will go to people who are known to me. Begging is desperate and can be to unknown people also.”

    Then Mike said, “Can I go again?” And added: “Asking is for humans. Begging is for dogs.”

    Palani says: “Asking means the thing is available. If I ask for this water, the water is something I can actually get. Begging means it might not be possible to have that thing. The person might get it, might not get it, but they will try and see.”

    Ernest says: “The difference is in the emotional affect of the person performing the action. Begging means you believe that you can guilt the person into giving you what you want. Asking implies there is a transaction between the two of you.”

    My own answer is that asking implies community and collaboration. You might be saying “can I borrow $10,” but really you’re saying, like “hey, we’re a team!” And then there are all those warm fuzzy team feelings. Begging is just taking. There’s no team, and no warm fuzzies.

    We are all looking forward to future questions :).

  • Vallie In Portland

    Truly the only difference between asking and begging is perception. Asking is a simple element of human communication, where as begging implies humility. The same question can be seen as asking or begging depending on its delivery and receipt. I live in a metropolitan area with many homeless people. I very often am asked for spare change. I very often will provide, when I have it available. One such occasion, I was sitting at a stop waiting for a train. An older gentleman came and sat next to me. For a few minutes we chatted, and he did his best to brighten my day and make me laugh. When he saw my train approaching, he asked me if I could spare some change for him. I gave him all the spare change I had available, and I did so gladly. In that moment, I didn’t perceive him as someone begging. I saw him as a human being with whom I’d had a pleasant interaction who asked me a question. His delivery of the question made it different from all the other times I’d been asked the same question. The only real difference was how I perceived that interaction.

  • Annabanana

    I read lots of good theoretical descriptions of the difference here so I’d just like to add a practical example.
    I was going all the way from Austria to Spain by train and had planned to catch and overnight train somewhere in Switzerland but missed it due to a delay. So I was stuck at the train station in Geneva late at night with the next train leaving at 6 am the next morning. Also had a super heavy backpack, a laptop with important data that I hadn’t taken any copies for and so on. All the cheaper hotels in town had already closed for the night, the only ones still open were about 300 euros a night and I got tired of wandering around with my luggage so I decided to just sit at the station, holding on to my luggage in case I fell asleep.

    At 2 am the station was closed and I was out in the cold.
    Sitting at a bus stop, I started talking to an American girl who lived in a village nearby. When her bus pulled up, I explained my situation to her. She said she lived sort of far and I might miss my train the next day. I said I didn’t mind, there were other trains later. Up to this point, I think I was still asking for help. She said she didn’t have a spare bed, just a very uncomfortable couch, I said I woudn’t mind that either. Again, still asking (even though starting to feel I was pushing her). When she said she wasn’t sure if her roommates woudn’t mind her inviting a stranger to the house, I knew I was about to cross the line from asking to begging and stopped insisting. (Knowing that, since she seemed a nice person, she’d think of me when settling down in her warm room – instant karma :-) )
    So I returned to one of the super expensive hotels and asked the receptionist if I could sit in the lobby until the morning. He said it wasn’t allowed. Pointing out how cold it was outside would have been begging. Instead I tried asking for other (unlikely) things, like if I could get a considerable discount if I used one of the rooms to just lie down on the bedcover so it wouldn’t have to be remade in the morning or by lying on the floor with my sleeping bag so it would just need to be vacuumed. I knew he wasn’t going to say yes but I wanted to show him I was pretty desperate but still not ready to beg.
    Long story short, I spent the night in a sort of hut with ticket machines that a homeless guy who had stuck something in the door generously shared with me and two teenage girls who had missed their bus home. It was an interesting night after all.
    Not sure if I managed to get my point across though ;-)

    • Annabanana

      Or and we didn’t have to ask or beg the homeless guy. He saw us and asked if we were cold and if we’d like to come in.

  • carla hall

    A teen and regularly beaten by my boyfriend, I asked him to never lay a hand on me again (and again and again and again and again). To school, I wore bruises on my body, visible for all to see, and begged for help without a sound, but no one heard. Begging is about having no power or no thing so anything/everything might mean something. Asking is about having some level of self-awareness or enough knowledge to articulate your need or desire, regardless of the probability. Begging is about being completely naked, raw, vulnerable. Asking comes clothed, partially or fully, and offers some pretense of protection. Begging is true and ugly. Asking is false and pretty.

    • Jennifer Louise Lee

      Your last two sentences are completely ludicrous. Asking is false and pretty? In what manner?

      I am sorry for what you went through. But we can’t expect people to just know our need without communicating it to them. Asking, articulating your need, is certainly not false, and rarely is the expression of a need for help “pretty.”

      Asking is vulnerability…and it is strength.

  • T4lee

    Asking means to me that one has let go of what the answer might be.Begging is we might be stuck (for good or not so good reasons)in the problem not being able to see too clearly.Both things are ok because if we listen we will know better next time.The book thing?….Perfect dear one.Love to you & yours xoxo

  • charlie brown

    I think the difference is that asking implies that it’s either a want or a need of something but begging expresses the need for something without returning the favour.

    • charlie brown

      I imagine ‘asking’ as a child obediently wanting a cookie and ‘begging’ as a child with tears on his face crying and yelling at his mum for the same purpose.

  • Kostly

    Asking is providing someone information about your needs. Begging is the expectation that that information will oblige someone to aid you with your needs

  • RStinn

    When a person is begging, they’re completely concerned with themselves. They’re not focused on the other person, they’re focused on what they want the other person to do for them. Asking, however, is more about the person being asked. When someone asks something from another person, they’ll accept any answer the person gives them. The asker wouldn’t want the one being asked to do anything they don’t want to.

  • WitchHazel515

    Asking is swallowing your pride and having the gall to seek help in some way that you need to further yourself, maybe you need money, or a place to stay, or to borrow something, or help, or any of a plethora of things people ask for. When you ask you’re inviting someone to help out in whatever way they may be able to. When you ask you’re grateful for what you get in return.

    Begging is taking advantage of people’s willingness to help. It may have started out as asking, but the beggar will note that they can get whatever they want out of people and so they will use that knowledge to drain people of their resources. A beggar is not grateful, a beggar gets mad when someone refuses to help, whether it’s because they can’t or because they won’t.

    • Jennifer Louise Lee

      Seriously, with the contradictions. ><

    • Will Catlin-Hallett

      I don’t agree. There is no loss of pride in asking. What about asking to borrow a pen, or asking someone to marry you?
      Even in your examples, there is no pride lost in saying “Can I crash at your place for the night?”

      Begging does not take advantage of people. But many people refuse to give to beggars our of fear that they will take advantage. In truth, most beggars are just grateful, because they are in a desperate situation and even a little bit can help.

  • Mark

    I guess it’s the degree of desperation.

  • nicka

    Asking is an intellectual exercise; its genesis is reason. Asking is a conscious, deliberate and thoughtful act.

    Begging is an emotional (re)action; its genesis more visceral. Begging is a spontaneous, unhinged and panicked act. Begging is like picking so hard at your soul that a piece falls off, and you hold it out, palm up, as your consideration for a tortuous and twisted bargain.

    Much love,

    • TheEpigrammicPoultry

      I would really disagree with the idea that begging is by nature an inherently “spontaneous, unhinged and panicked act”.

      Not to detract from the likely desperation and sincere need that begging often stems from, in reality most people who have been begging on the streets for enough time know the intricacies of how to do it, where to beg, how to ask, how to present oneself.

      Also, not to say that begging isn’t often very difficult, painful, or shame-inducing, but again I think the representation of it as inherently so is false.

      G. x

  • McFluffkins

    I do not beg-

    I am proud.

    I am determined,

    To the
    point of being hateful,

    That I need no one and nothing.

    I do not beg-

    I refuse to need.

    I do not beg-

    I refuse to want.

    I ask only when “no” is an acceptable answer.

    If I am tempted to beg

    I save everyone the trouble

    And tell myself “no.”

    If I am tempted to beg

    I sleep on sidewalks.

    I drink from restroom taps.

    I eat the air.

    If I close my eyes knowing that they might not open again,

    Then I close them knowing that I have failed

    And that these things happen.

    But sometimes I am tired.

    Sometimes I know that the person I am tempted to beg

    Loves me enough to let me beg.

    And when “yes” is an acceptable answer,

    Sometimes I beg.

    • Trudi Nelson

      You just shifted my reality, McFluffkins.

      • McFluffkins


    • Ponto

      That’s it. I don’t know how to ask and I don’t feel like I have the right to beg.

    • Juniper Blue


    • einradritter

      This is really amazing! I briefly thought about writing a poem to roughly that effect (i.e. I never beg, BUT…), but I could not have done it this well! It really speaks from my soul with words that I could not have found myself… Is there any place where one might turn to further peruse your literary finesse?

      • McFluffkins

        Aha.. thank you for your kind words! I am honestly not much of a writer, but every now and again I throw something up at


    • Pietruszka

      Thanks for your words:)

  • Kate Ertmann

    When asking for something, you – the asker – are still in control.
    When begging, you’ve given it up and are at the other person’s mercy.

  • Whoa, Molly!

    Begging implies desperation, but they are basically the same thing.

  • Will Catlin-Hallett

    Asking comes from a place of strength, where it doesn’t really matter what the answer is.
    Begging comes from a place of desperation, where your future is dependent on getting a particular outcome. However, you can be in a desperate situation but still “ask” from a place of strength; it’s a state of mind, I believe.

    However, they are not always recognised for what they are. There is the actual asking/begging (by the asker). And then there is the perceived asking/begging (by the asked). These do not necessarily correlate. It depends on the state of mind of both parties.

    Some people perceive all requests as begging and so avoid them, particularly those terrified by beggars. And yet they are the people most in need. I suspect it is mostly fear of being taken in and made a fool of; suspicion that they are not as desperate as they make out. Although it’s a pretty poor thought that people avoid helping others just in case they end up looking bad…

    There is also the fear or ending up in the same place, as though desperation is contagious. “There but for the grace of god…”

  • Louise

    When you ask, you’re giving someone the chance to make a decision to help you based on whatever facts you present and their feelings towards you and the proposal at the time. Begging starts with a request but implies additional emotional coercion where you’re implying that if they refuse they are actually contributing to whatever issue you were trying to resolve with the request in the first place.

    I would say both can be made from a place of desperation but with asking you’re not transferring responsibility, however I’m not necessarily implying malice in begging, sometimes it is just down to an individual’s ability to cope.

    It is the difference between saying, “Any chance you could lend me the money for dinner tonight please? I’m a bit short this week.” and “Could you please buy me dinner? It would mean so much to me, if you don’t I won’t get to eat tonight!”

    Personally I’d much rather be given the opportunity to help someone than to be left feeling, ‘If they’d only asked me!’ but we all want the option to say no when we really can’t help, rather than being made to feel bad about it.

    There’s also the reciprocal element. If you ask for help I think a lot of the time there is an implied return. You’ll give them back the money they leant you, you’ll give them a copy of your book when it’s published, you’ll help them out in similar circumstances further down the road, you’ll listen when they need someone to talk to. Begging is much more one sided, you want, you need, you deserve and you will always be the one in that position because no one is in a worse position than you… not true of course, but that is probably the way the request comes over.

    Going for the obvious example, I ordered a CD before its release date on the strength of the previous album and what I knew about the artist.I pledged my money ahead of time because I got a message telling me I could,and asking me if I’d like to. The terms were clear to both parties, and yes there was an element of risk because I couldn’t be sure exactly what I would be getting, but the choice was mine … no I’m not talking about Kickstarter, (though I did that too,) I meant Amazon pre-orders. No one calls that begging, because it’s not. It’s requesting money up front for
    something that will be provided later, the guarantee for service being based on previous experience.

    I admit Kickstarter does have a more emotional content than a retailer, the stakes are higher because if they don’t get the backing the product won’t be made, but I’ve never seen a pitch where the artist is trying to make you feel guilty if you don’t back them, what they want are people who
    can share their dream, support and give them validation if you like. But they’re not asking for a free hand out because at the end of the day, they want to give something back to you.

    And again I’ve ended up writing an essay instead of the quick response I intended, because whatever anyone says about Amanda Palmer she makes people think, and we so desperately need that in today’s society. So whatever the outcome, thank you Amanda, I look forward to reading your book.

  • Ange D

    Asking implies that you are asking a question and the answer has an impact between two choices. Begging implies desperation and there is no choice, you beg because there is a urgent desperate need, asking is important but a positive answer is not vital.

    Asking may dent a persons pride

    Begging means a persons pride is totally gone.

    Just my initial thoughts to the question.

  • Sylvia

    Begging is when the person being asked of feels guilty if they say no. Could be due to your circumstances, the way you ask, or their own mindset.

  • Stormy J Allen

    Asking can be casual; it means you come from a position of stability, where you will not be harmed or lose anything if your request isn’t filled.

    One begs for an imperative need. Pride must certainly be set aside and it makes one incredibly vulnerable to have to beg.

  • Molly Black

    This has recently come up in my life so I’m living through it and can give you some interesting input.

    We’ve never met, but we used to run in the same circles, you’re a few years behind me though, so we never crossed paths. I’m an acquaintance of Jamy Ian Swiss, which is why I’m bothering to write this here and throw it in your comments section in hopes you’ll take a ten minute break to touch base with me – because I’m currently in the position where asking can turn to begging and the only difference is the perception of those around you.

    That doesn’t feel clear, so let me see if I can elaborate appropriately: A miser sees any charity request as begging, or maybe “more polite” begging, whilst a more generous type views them as requests, or asking politely and it is mostly when seeing a person living on the street or in sub-humane conditions they think the word “beggar.”

    Anyways, please contact me…Hopefully that’s asking and not begging (or begging isn’t a bad thing to you).

  • Trudi Nelson

    This is too interesting to let go. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ideas surrounding this one. I’ve always been fairly generous, but tend to feel resentful when asked for things that I consider “mine.” Like I could buy someone something, no big deal about the expense, but it has to be my idea. I could give away my computer, or bike or any other thing that I value for more than monetary reasons, but if someone asks for these things of mine, even to borrow them, it creates distance between us. Because … I worked so hard to get the things? …. I don’t trust another person to take care of them correctly? …. my things are extensions of my self until I’ve let go of them?

    Begging is simpler. When people are begging, they’re strangers, aren’t they? To me it’s much easier to say no to begging. All a person has to do to get something from me is befriend me, and you will get my pennies by the handful, without even asking, because, like I said, I’d rather it be my idea so I don’t have to start avoiding you. Beg, though, and I’ll say no, because I won’t be controlled by you, dammit.

    Making connections is hard work. Harder work than working, I think. And asking requires some kind of connection, doesn’t it? A connection that could be disrupted by the asking. So then one wonders if it’s easier just to work harder at getting what you were going to ask for instead of asking for it. But what if all that you want, really, is a closer connection? That you can’t get to by just hoping it will happen. Not usually.

  • Rina Len

    I agree with some other responses that I’ve seen: asking implies that you know that answer could be no and that’s ok, while begging comes with pressure for a yes answer by using guilt as leverage.

  • Morticia

    My first association was dignity. If you ask for something you are usually equal/ on the same hight like the reqested person. If you beg for something you are often very much in need and probably full of despair and this makes you even more vulnerably.

  • lentower
    • esmertina

      Wow, from there it looks like asking is an interrogation technique, while begging is prayerful!

  • Kaycie Nelson

    Asking is making a request. Begging is asking multiple times after already being told what you didn’t want to hear.

  • Bas Zwiers

    Asking seems to come from a place of strength. I know what I want, what I need, what I crave and I dare to ask you for is, because I trust you, I lay my destiny in your hands. Begging seems random, I have no clue, no idea, just I just ask anyone for anything, but in a way with out the same connection of vulnerability.
    ‘A Friend is someone whom let’s you help’ (think that is a U2 song)

  • Noah Kleiman

    Asking is an appeal for help from others. Begging is an appeal for help from others made by someone who is experiencing desperation, fear, need, or powerlessness.

    Both are Ok things to do. People can be very fearful about asking, in part because they confuse it with begging. It helps to remember that you’re asking people to join you in supporting something you believe in. It feels good to be asked and it feels good to give.

    CrowdFunding works on the same principles as Charitable Fundraising. Consider getting a copy of Fundraising for Social Change, by Kim Klein. She’s an expert on this subject.

  • Susan B

    I think it can be about power. Someone who has to beg doesn’t have it, and someone can ask as a peer, perhaps without loss of dignity.

  • Michael Brost

    Asking implies a relationship between recipient and recipitee, whether one of momentary trust or longer history; begging needs naught but play upon sympathy, compassion and hoped good will. We trust our community with our time spent working, asking for due compensation for hours worked. We beg for those things that are beyond our reach. Whether it be coin for those with little but thin hope, or for the health of loved ones from a higher power or hoped upon universal will. Begging takes from both the one begged and the beggar, asking gives to both sides, if not equally at least to a degree that both agree upon.

  • artvendetta

    begging is implying desperation you’ve asked once you’ve asked twice. now you need it and there is no shame left

  • nothingsmonstered

    Shame. Shame is the difference between asking and begging.

    Taxonomy of begging: 1) Where other people shame you for asking. 2) Where you shame yourself for asking.

  • Nathaly Tatsch

    Asking is when you’re a kid and want something from the market. Begging is when you’re a mom trying to make your son stop crying in the market.

  • Lisa

    Oh, good question! I think asking involves accepting that there will be many different answers, including no. Begging generally involves laying on a hefty helping of guilt for any answer but yes.

  • cherryfairy

    I believe they are the same. Think about it you ask someone for 20 bucks cause you really need it, inside your head your begging for help. You hope they won’t say no and might even think of a way to reword what you asked for just so they will do it. Don’t get me wrong your not on your hands and knees kissing the persons feet but mentally you are. Can I get another question? See what I did there!

  • Cat

    I simply cannot express how excited I am about this. I have been reading your blog for years and years and everytime I spend a whole night sitting and reading, I think to myself – God damn I wish she’d write a book.

    And so it is.

  • Sindre Sandvik

    Asking is a personal conversation between two (or more) people in where all parties involved, conversing and those asking are polite and not imposing, pressuring (in any form, verbal, visual or otherwise) Asking also implies that the person/party approaches those he/she/they think are interested in whatever is asked…. begging is not personal, it is not a conversation, it is a monologue in where the one in need indiscriminately approaches people regardless, and through either pressuring them by making them feel uncomfortable (social blackmail ?) and thus give out of shame for their own wealth; whether it is monetary or other wealth (social capital) or other exploitations.

    I have many thoughts on this but this is as eloquently as I can put it at 2am-ish….

  • cat

    the way a smoker asks a smoker for a cigarette.. the way I ask a fellow smoker for a cigarette because my shift was long or I was skint or I just saw my opportunity for a nicotine fix… that’s the thin end of asking but it’s not begging, and nor is begging some dirty uncouth thing, it’s the uncut jagged version of asking, it’s asking without politeness, it’s asking with all my naked vulnerabilities hanging out like sores, it’s exhausted asking, it has it’s own strengths and it’s own weaknesses.. it’s own awareness

  • emilyr

    Asking is when you have a choice ask at all. You beg when there is no other option and desperation is looming. The former always seems to afford much more respect.

  • Lee Edward McIlmoyle

    Asking for help is what I think I’m doing. Begging seems to be what I’m actually doing, or at least, that would seem to be the net result, because I rarely get the help I ask for. I often say, ‘Desperation is the world’s worst cologne’. It’s a quote from a movie or something, I’ve forgotten which. In truth, it breaks my heart a little more every day, because I realize I am on the outside looking in, and nobody seems to know I’m here, no matter how sincere or clever or charming I mistakenly think I am.

    Truthfully, I don’t know what the difference is, any more. I wish I did.

  • Sean Leonard

    The only difference is judgement.

  • The Nasty Wench

    Asking is a simple request ………… may be asking for someone’s time, skills, resources, possessions, money, etc………….Begging………desperation overrides ego, the asking has been escalated with an urgency…….the consequences of “no” are much more dire…….one might ask to borrow a book, for a ride to the mall, to have the garbage taken out, pick up milk and bread on your way home…………one might beg for money for their child’s prescription, one might beg a deity for a reprieve from a terminal illness, a starving person may beg for food, one might beg a firefighter to save a family member……………the difference between asking and begging……is the consequences of no………….

  • ZenJenn

    (In advance, I’m sorry for this giant word vomit that
    asks more questions than it answers)

    That…is a very tough question.

    In some ways I feel the answer could be as simple as
    want and need

    Asking = Want
    Begging = Need

    But, like everything, there are too many grey areas to
    be sure. The mindset between begging and asking, at least for me, has always
    been glaringly different. When I beg it’s because I have no other choice, I’ve
    been backed into a corner and the only way out is to rely on another person’s
    good will, and if that means falling to my knees, groveling, giving up every last
    shred of pride then I will.

    When I ask it’s because I want, I walk into that
    situation knowing that I could walk out, that not getting what I am asking for
    won’t be the end. When I ask I factor in the probably of failure, allow that to
    be an option, and take it in as much stride as I can if I am rejected.

    Perhaps the answer is the amount of passiveness we

    When I see people walk up and down street corners with
    signs, I don’t see it as begging, I see it as asking. However if one of those
    people were to come up to my car, knock on the window and plead to me for
    something, I would see it as begging.

    Maybe the difference between asking and begging is the
    need to feel as if we’re in control of our lives and our choices. Taking myself
    out of the position of the one asking/begging to the one being asked/begged, my
    point of view changes entirely.

    Suddenly I’m on the other side of the equation, I am in my car
    watching people pass me by, and I have a choice if I want to reach out and give
    them that dollar I’m saving for a bottle of water, and If I decide not to make
    that choice, perhaps I’ll feel guilt. But only for an instant or so after I
    drive away.

    But if one of those people were to knock on my window,
    look me in the eyes and hold up their sign to me, my guilt would be stronger,
    but in turn I would resent them. Even though I’m still in control of the
    situation, even though I still have the choice between keeping my dollar or
    giving it, the feeling of being manipulated would still be there.

    If I give the dollar to the person knocking at my
    window, I’d be upset with them, and myself.

    If I give the person walking up and down the street the
    dollar, I’d feel gratified.

    Is it really as simple as the actions we/others take
    that draw the line? Is the difference
    between asking and begging as simple as holding up a sign, as opposed to
    knocking on a window? Is it all perception?

    How do those who hold up the signs feel? Or those who
    knock on windows? Do they see what they’re doing as begging or asking?

    Your one question sparks a dozen more, and creates a
    conversation that delves into the very foundation of each individuals ideals
    and psychosis. That’s one hell of a discussion, and one I think we all could write
    book length replies to. Truthfully, I don’t think there is a universal answer
    to your question, only what each person perceives it to be.

  • Nicole

    All humans want, and all humans need. While both are truly in the eye of the beholder, and in my opinion both one in the same, the general masses generally separate the two.

    Asking falls into the wanting category. “I want this and I would like you to help me achieve it. If you can’t, or don’t want to, that is totally cool and thank you for your time. I am grateful to you.” Wanting is a more personal, emotional connection and exchange. You are trying to express your desire to another human being and make them understand exactly why it is so important to you. It is an equal exchange of respect. “I respect you enough to ask for help, even if you say no, and you respect me enough to help if you are willing and able.”

    Needing brings to mind the act of begging. ” I really need this and I need you to help me. If you can’t or refuse, I will not survive.” Begging is a much more disconnected, almost shameful exchange. The beggar often feels guilty for even asking, and the giver often refuses because they feel that the beggar is being shameless. Often when help is given, it is merely out of pity and not in the intent to honestly help.

  • Priscilla

    I believe that begging is when everything you asked for is no longer working. Everyone ask about something. But begging? Begging require guts.

  • PhaedraHPS

    My late husband was never afraid to ask (and sometimes complain) when we were in need, and more than once was called a beggar. But asking ( saved our butts more than once.

    I’ve had to teach myself to ask. Soldiering on by myself is more my style. But, as the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And the incredible generosity of others–more than once from people I didn’t even know–has over and over again convinced me that there is so much beauty and kindness in this strange universe. When my husband was dying, I couldn’t have kept a roof over our heads if it wasn’t for asking and getting help from friends and strangers alike. And now I’m ill, too, but help has been given.

    If you don’t ask, how do people know there is need?

  • RandomGit

    Asking is a request for assistance with no implied or agreed compensation for the assistance, no obligation to assist and no reprimand if refused. Begging is similar but comes with emotional blackmail.

  • figmentj

    Asking is trusting the other person to answer authentically with self-awareness about what they have to give you, and trusting yourself to handle a rejection. Begging is taking ownership of their answer by appealing to their emotions and using them to create a sense of obligation, because you’re so desperate for a yes that no is no longer an option.

  • Krissy Whasserface

    Asking consensual, begging is an assault.

    P.S. I would read anything you wrote, even if it was on a napkin and written in ketchup.

  • aavoz

    The first place my brain went was to suggest that there is no dignity in begging,
    which immediately struck me as overly critical. I realize I’m thinking of a
    time when I “begged”, begged someone to change their mind, to stay,
    to give me more. When I look back at that moment, I feel like I had abandoned
    my self-respect, and it didn’t get me what I wanted. Begging isn’t inherently
    “bad”, but I think it can make you FEEL bad. I agree with others that it comes
    down to power inequality, and a sense of desperation.

    I think “asking” has a negative connotation only when it is accompanied by a
    sense of entitlement.

    P.S. Amanda, I just read your poem for the first time because I didn’t discover you
    until recently, when I read in an interview that Neil wrote Ocean for his wife
    and got curious. I just wanted to tell you that I was very moved. It has been
    so much fun discovering you and I am hopeful to see you in CA in the future. I’m
    begging you ;)

  • christineobx

    I agree with the previous commenters who have said something in the vein of “Asking anticipates reciprocity and begging does not”…but… I wonder if the very fact that we have two words for this is based in oppression. Those who consider another person a beggar are acting as oppressors. Those who consider themselves beggars suffer from internalized oppression. When we ask we give ourselves permission to be consciously interdependent (which is a threat to power). When we grant, we acknowledge the other person’s worth not despite their neediness but because we recognize our own incompleteness without their potential future (or previous) assistance. If we remove the negative connotation of asking we not only empower ourselves but also empower the whole collective to ask for what it needs to actualize the future we envision. Those who seek to wield power over others might find this threatening…they might call us “beggars”.

  • Michael_C

    If you’d begged for an answer you wouldn’t be getting all of these thoughtful comments.

  • Lisa Jeffs


  • Ardency

    My boyfriend just put it pretty succinctly. You ask for something that you want, while you beg for something that you need.

  • Desiree M.M.

    I think the answer to both of these really lies in the expectations you go with before-hand and followed through with your reaction.
    Asking (although you could have a preconceived idea of the answer) requires you to not have a strong attachment to the answer.
    “Hey, can you give me a hand?” “Sure” “Awesome!”
    “Hey, can you give me a hand?” “No, not right now.” “Okay, that’s cool.”
    “Hey, can you give me a hand?” “Fuck off!” “…whatever, asshole.”
    All of these would be asks.

    Begging means you have a strong attachment to whatever the answer is.
    “Hey, I really really need your help!” “Sure, what is it?” “Oh thank you, you are a life saver!”
    “Hey, I really really need your help!” “Sorry, no can do.” “Please, this is so important to me.”
    “Hey, I really really need your help!” “Fuck off!” “What the fuck, you fucking cunt?! How the fuck could you say that to me, asshole!”

  • Dude

    I have to put this in the context of relationships. What is the difference between asking to be loved and begging to be loved?

    When you ask someone to love you. You are asking them to accept your imperfections, your moods and the things about you that make people sing whole sale. You are asking them to keep you in their life, and love you as is. In the end though, you still care about the other person. You care about their emotions, their opinion, wants and needs.

    For music, it is the equivalent of spending time talking to your fans. It is creating an album with thought and care.

    Begging is crass. It is the expectation of Love without caring about the the wants/needs of the other person. It is “I need to be loved, you are here, so love me.”

    For music, it is the guy on the street handing you a CD & telling you that its only two bucks, or the guy in NY who hassles you to contribute when you stop for a second to listen.

  • Sarah Flanagan

    Begging carries a feeling of desperation and being stuck with your circumstances; begging transfers all burden and places guilt. Asking, on the other hand, is a voluntary sharing of the burden by the person being asked. There is a sense of pride and self-worth, of bettering yourself, and that you’re be alright on your own, but help would make things easier and be greatly appreciated.

  • Sara Ballard

    The difference between asking and begging lies completely in the mind of the person on the receiving end of the question. Any person who is a parent, or who has parents, knows this.

  • UltraVelvet

    WOW! How exciting, you’re writing a book! That’s awesome! Now, to the question – not having read any other responses yet, my first gut reaction is : level of desperation. Asking is seeking input or opinions, the asker is not under as much pressure than if you’re using the word ‘beg’ – that implies that the questioner is desperate and feels in greater need.

    Best of luck with the book! Look forward to pitching in on questions.

  • Darren Robinson

    “Ask and you shall receive”
    “Beggars can’t be choosers”
    When I was thinking on how to address your question these two statements came to mind. Is there a difference in the outcome? I’m not sure, but there seems to be a difference in how it is perceived and in the intent. I know I’ve asked and I know I’ve begged before; when I was a kid, and a teen, and beyond, I know I’ve asked too. Perhaps it depends on the individual and if
    there is a sense of debasement involved?
    Question for you; on this post did you ask for freed back or
    begged for feedback? Did you ask or beg for payment of “Theater Is Evil”? I only heard asking. As the 8ft Bride, when someone didn’t take the
    flower and you added that longing stare was that begging?
    So is it in the delivery of the line, a performance aspect? Or is it a sense of
    detachment? I know I’ve told myself there are something’s I will not beg for, but I wouldn’t have a problem asking for; dates for instance, or sex for that matter.
    Power. Is it a balance or imbalance of personal or emotional power? Which party has or is given the power. When asking it feels closer to a mutual exchange. When begging one party seems to give away all their power to the other party almost in an effort to bribe them; “I’ll make
    you feel you have power over me, so you will feel obliged to give me something to pay for that feeling”.
    Well that’s a rough draft of my mental rambles, take it or
    leave it.
    Best wishes on this project and “Good show” for the rest.

  • Rick Starr

    From a male perspective asking often implies an uncomfortable vulnerability while begging implies helplessness and failure.

    • Rick Starr

      AFP’s account of her busking/performance art experiences offer a very different, more joyous but also somewhat terrifying perspective. Or perhaps the terrifying part was stuck to my shoe when I came in.

  • fallen_woman

    Animals beg, humans ask. Put another way: “Nothing is good or ill, but thinking makes it so.” One of my favorites from HAMLET by that one Shakesy guy.

    It’s a matter of dignity and therefore of shame. Someone sitting on a curb with a sign requesting change for a hamburger because they haven’t eaten in two days is considered diminished from their supposed in-born human dignity. They don’t have the agency to feed themselves so they have to ask a stranger to hand over some of theirs. Where does the shame fall though? Who should be ashamed that it came to this point?

    Why is it a shame that someone might pester people in a parking lot for spare change but not a shame that you would build a pitch to ask money-big-wigs to publish your book or produce and album? The only real difference is the technical details of how the request is made and the circumstances under which it’s received.

    Begging implies pathos, an emotional manipulation. I think I’m pretty ordinary in that, I don’t like to be stopped in what I’m doing by someone with a sob story about their EBT card getting denied and their kid is hungry and the bus won’t come for another hour, can help by some chips? But then the kid starts crying and what the hell else can I do but dig up a couple dollars? I feel *totally* manipulated, even on those days when I can spare a couple dollars.

    Asking implies a mature understanding of the situation and exactly what’s needed to realize a goal. It can be cast as a mutually beneficial objective or it can just be a bold request for help. Remember, a job offer is a request for your services, even if you’ve been working like crazy to get that job. When I would babysit my niece and she was younger she would struggle with her homework and get frustrated that she couldn’t do it. But I told her not worry about asking me for help. That it was the grown up thing to do – and that I wasn’t going to do her homework for her! Every now and then she still asks me what a word means or how to figure out a math problem and it pleases me to be able to help.

    Adults fumble this one all the time and it’s pretty frustrating when you care about them. My dad is 86 now and has a lot of trouble getting around; he frequently forgets to eat and on really bad days needs help getting to the toilet. He’s deeply prideful and keenly feels the indignity of having me ask him what he’s eaten today and reminding him to eat some fruit or veggies, not just cookies. He won’t, won’t, won’t ask me to prepare him anything. Will fucking not. He’ll starve, he’ll grow weak, he’ll be in pain, but he won’t ask anyone to help him. It’s not asking/begging thing, it’s basic pride and having been able to take care of himself – and me and my siblings – for years. Turning around and needing us just doesn’t add up as far as he is concerned.

    Why do people get on your case? You answered that one best in your TED talk, I think. It’s a model they’re not used to. They’re used to – you make a pitch, you go to the established money people (producers, etc), the common people make a transaction with the label only once the music is produced and they purchase it. The something-for-something model you’re using is not the one they’re used to and it freaks them out.

    • Rebecca Kinman

      Awesome reply. Love it.

  • Anneliese Margaret

    Begging offers nothing in return.

  • Rebecca Kinman

    Begging: an invitation for someone to feel sorry for you, thus superior, more advantaged, and stronger. The implication that the begee (person being begged) should feel guilty or heartless if they do not provide the beggar with that for which they are begging.

    Asking: a proposal of an exchange between equals with no expectations, no heirarchy, and no baggage. A sophisticated, evolved and courageous way of initiating the reception of that which is deserved. Askers are thankful for the opportunity to ask, even if the answer is no. True givers enjoy being asked to give, because it helps them fulfill their need to give. Asking and giving are two sides of a beautiful, beautiful coin. xo

  • Imraith Dos Santos

    Begging is an act designed to make the benefactor feel guilty if she does not respond with a yes. Asking offers the benefactor a choice of answers.

  • Adam kirstein

    Asking is a plain thing, like you said, it’s fucking easy. And that’s probably why it’s so over looked. Asking is so simple and common that we don’t even do it. Begging, at least in my opinion, brings to the table more humanity. Like you said in your Ted talk about when you were doing the 8 foot bride; the ” I see you, thank you, nobody ever sees me, thank you”. There’s a deeper connection going on when begging. The begging brings out a reliance on one another, more so than with asking. Askin almost seems privileged, where as begging is more absolute and vulnerable, and is completely reliant on the answer. It also brings out a trueness in the person being begged to. I live in Washington and I was sitting at the ferry terminal with my mom and a homeless man was going around to everyone holding out his hand and saying frantically and a little impatiently ” will you buy me food” and every single person he went up to shelled up, grimace faced and said no, even though there was a subway an McDonald’s withing walking distance. It’s understandable that people say no, there’s various reasons, but it just made me wonder how highly these people think of themselves, including me. I didn’t buy him food cause I’m broke. But him begging for food just made it obvious through his complete desperation, how ugly we are, to just look at a man who’s thinner than my twig body, disoriented, just wanting food. I don’t think it would have happened had it been asking. He was begging. Like, mega begging. He was megging

  • Elly

    Begging lacks dignity, there is an imbalance of power. When you beg someone you are unequal to them. When you ask someone you are two people on equal footing, you’re chances of getting what you want feel greater and the consequences of not getting what you want feel lighter. Asking is to assume that someone is good enough at heart to give you something you want, begging is assuming that they need to feel powerful or better than you to give you what you want.

  • Adam kirstein

    Asking is a plain thing, like you said, it’s fucking easy. And that’s probably why it’s so over looked. Asking is so simple and common that we don’t even do it. Begging, at least in my opinion, brings to the table more humanity. Like you said in your Ted talk about when you were doing the 8 foot bride; the ” I see you, thank you, nobody ever sees me, thank you”. There’s a deeper connection going on when begging. The begging brings out a reliance on one another, more so than with asking. Askin almost seems privileged, where as begging is more absolute and vulnerable, and is completely reliant on the answer. It also brings out a trueness in the person being begged to. I live in Washington and I was sitting at the ferry terminal with my mom and a homeless man was going around to everyone holding out his hand and saying frantically and a little impatiently ” will you buy me food” and every single person he went up to shelled up, grimace faced and said no, even though there was a subway an McDonald’s withing walking distance. It’s understandable that people say no, there’s various reasons, but it just made me wonder how highly these people think of themselves, including me. I didn’t buy him food cause I’m broke. But him begging for food just made it obvious through his complete desperation, how ugly we are, to just look at a man who’s thinner than my twig body, disoriented, just wanting food. I don’t think it would have happened had it been asking. He was begging. Like, mega begging. He was megging

  • Ria Fla Mingo

    Begging, for me, suggests an emotional engagement both on the part of the one begging (many people have mentioned a sense of desperation, but certainly there is a sense experience of some sort driving the interaction), and also in the person being appealed to who might respond with sympathy, compassion suggesting giving or alternatively with judgement,disgust, dismissal suggesting rejection of appeal. Either way the response is predicated on the emotional response. There is a power differential as well between the appellant & responder. I can’t think of an example where the person begging is in a more powerful position Asking by comparison, seems to be a much more cognitive & emotionally unencumbered interaction.

    • Ria Fla Mingo

      More succintly: Begging appeals to one’s humanity, Asking appeals to one’s availability.

  • gothicgunslinger

    Asking comes from needing something genuine – help because you’re scared, or confused, or hurting. You are not looking to take advantage of the helper; you just need a connection, a teacher, a friend. Begging comes from wanting something and not caring how you get it. There is something dishonest about it, somehow, even if it is just disregard for the person who would be helping you. But there is an unspoken chance the beggar will take advantage of the helper’s kindness.

    That’s just my gut reaction. Interestingly, I avoid asking for help for fear it will be seen as begging – that the person being asked might misinterpret my intention and consider me disrespectful or a freeloader.

    (And on a completely unrelated note, congrats on the book deal!! I’m a writer myself and I think you will do amazing things with the book medium.)

  • Serena Hatano

    For me the difference between asking and begging is dependent on how open the asker (or beggar) is to the response they may or may not receive. You can ask a question hoping for one answer in particular. You often won’t get that answer but you’ll accept it and move on (hopefully).
    When you’re begging you can only see that one answer that you desire. Sometimes you’re hope overwhelms you and you become unable to see any other answer, can’t even begin to understand why the answer you want isn’t going to happen. It can overwhelm you to the point that it becomes an obsession and deludes all your thought processes. Depending on who you’re begging and what you’re begging for, it can slowly creep into every aspect of your life, all trying to figure out how to make that answer and outcome happen, because once it does everything will be perfect, or so you assume.
    Similarly if you’re begging and you do finally get the answer you want it can reverse back on you. You may begin to wonder if the only reason you got that answer is because you wouldn’t relent. Does that mean then that you are a pitiful person that ranks around the level of a hungry child in the streets, people giving you the scraps you ask for just to shut you up. Not exactly a pleasant position to end up in. Getting what you “wanted” and having it turn to poison once in your possession.
    Asking tends not to have as much possibility for self-destruction. You may similarly end up with an answer you didn’t want and be upset by it, but by asking you entered into the situation knowing and accepting all possible outcomes. And again possibly get the answer you wanted and it turning sour on you, but once again because you entered the state with openness it doesn’t leave the same measure for extreme hurt available to you.
    That’s everything I had to say I think, hope it makes sense and possibly helps!

  • Mr Raven

    I’d say that the difference is all a question of social equality.

    A request for assistance from another proposes a casual, yet beneficial exchange between proud equals. Begging is an act of desperation when other avenues have been exhausted; a fuller giving of oneself to emphasise subordinate status and the appropriate reliance upon any suggestion of mercy.

  • Lucy

    So my partner and I had a bit of a conversation about this, so here is the relevant stuff.

    here is what my partner says on the matter:

    i think it’s how you’re made to feel when you ask.
    if they don’t want to help then it’s like begging
    and if they help willingly then it feels like asking

    but here’s my favourite part of our conversation:

    he: begging is desperation,
    asking is not o.O i think
    me: huh. what if you’re
    always desperate?
    he: :( then iunno :( Wouldn’t it be always begging?
    me: yeah, i figure so
    when you love someone, doesn’t it always sound like you’re
    begging them for that something?
    he: ummm. Iunno. Maybe.
    but maybe begging isn’t necessarily a bad thing

    and lastly, here’s me and my little opinion on the matter:

    i guess
    that people can make it begging or asking
    i mean
    the connotations of the one and the other have already been
    made (recognized, rather, here, in this comments)
    and ultimately, it’s the decision of the person whose
    acceptance is required
    that makes it asking or begging
    it’s how they feel when you ask/beg
    that’s a big part of what makes it begging or asking
    and that being said
    other people, people who don’t understand you and your work,
    they make it sound like begging
    but friends don’t believe in begging
    i think
    when you care about someone
    when they’re part of your life, and you of theirs
    it’s not begging
    it’s asking
    it’s asking the people you know and love and trust
    to help you out
    and everyone needs help
    that’s the best part of this time period; people aren’t
    afraid of sharing themselves, of playing roles in other people’s lives, and to
    ask for it, to ask to be part of your life, and for help, and to help.
    only the people who matter ask and are asked.

    Thank you for asking the hard questions <3

  • Vampdaddy

    Asking comes from a place of strength. Begging comes from a place of fear.

  • Victoria Rae Sook

    You ask when you feel that the person actually might help you. You ask friends, family, other loved ones, or people who you think might believe in you or your cause. You beg when you need something and you do not know where else to go. You beg someone who you don’t actually think will do it, but you are desperate enough to try. Begging will usually seem more annoying to the askee, but is actually desperately sad for the asker to have to do. So I guess the true difference is in the amount of love vs the amount of pain in the question.

  • wm. jones

    The difference between asking and begging:
    Honesty. Vulnerability. Show your cards.
    Full house. Two of a kind.
    I gots no cards.
    This is what I want. This is my question, give me an answer.
    NO, this is my need. Please feed me. Please fill me.
    Please don’t let me die.
    Tell me the truth.
    NO. SHOW me the truth.
    Press your lipless love against my lies
    and break me to particles at your leisure.
    All I ask is a question.
    What I beg is an answer.

  • m

    look at the origins of words…where they evolved from…other variations in other languages. in spite of gut instincts about meanings, we can overlook certain ‘power structures’ or dynamics in a familiar language. there is a difference and there isn’t a difference between ask and beg…i’m sure it can be argued both ways. what is the difference?

    ask –
beg –


i was sort of curious about the french parallel of ask vs. beg…demander (to ask) and mendier (to beg)…demand, mandate, ‘ask for as a right’ VS. mendier, mendicant, menda “fault, physical defect”, mendacious…they’re antithetical because one is moral, righteous, divine and the other is anything but. they’re DOING the same thing, but BEING a certain person determines the level of morality in the action. it seems the only difference stems from personal dynamics, person on person judgment. someone who believes you have to ‘work’ for a living using a narrow definition of what it means to work and live might tend to see asking as begging…

    we all ask. the incapable beg…or something to that effect…determined by the body politic.

  • Louise Austin

    good question….i am thinking ‘is that why i find asking for help so hard, do i feel like i’m begging?’….still thinking/feeling

  • Tamara

    Asking is making a no-strings-attached request. You know like the “can’t hurt to ask” frame of mind. Begging is a desperate appeal. But then I think there’s different types of askers. Some people ask in the manner I first mentioned while others ask with expectation and when their expectation isn’t met reveal their true selves as demanding.

  • Michael Sperry

    Begging has a high guilt-factor, if the recipient says no.
    Asking gives the recipient the option of saying no, with less guilt.

  • GinnyB

    Begging implies a sense of desperation. As though the request is worth more than all else. Asking feels more like just making your particular need known to someone who may be able to provide assistance.

  • Lee

    Its perception and all about the person and how they ask/beg….. and how it’s perceived by the listener. It’s all perception and self worth.

    If the person is asking for an apple because they are starving and require the apple to live another day and the asking is obviously out of desperation = begging.

    If the person is asking for an apple because they are starving and require the apple to live another day but there are no tones of desperation in their voice = asking.

  • hyenamoon

    When I think about asking vs begging, I’m swamped by the many
    variations of each that exist. Here’s my first impression as to the difference.

    Asking means making a part of yourself exposed and
    vulnerable. It means gracefully accepting whatever response you wind up
    with, good or bad. Even when it’s minor, I often feel like asking is still exposing myself slightly.

    Begging means asking for
    something that you insist you get. If you don’t get what you’re begging
    for, it means you refuse (either consciously or subsconsciously) to
    understand that you’re not going to get it. If you do get what you want,
    you’re not likely to appreciate it. The empathy is missing from
    the interaction. You’re concerned about yourself, all focused in,
    and not focused out.

  • aramisathei

    For me it’s all about the approach.
    Asking seems polite, while begging seems disrespectful (it’s the more aggressive, shameless cousin of asking that only comes around to collect gifts during the holidays)

  • Heather

    We assess the validity of another’s level of emotional attachment to their cause in proportion to our own capacity for empathy for their situation. As our empathy expands, our power exchanges become even and shame dissolves for both parties, whether asked with detachment or heavy attachment.

  • kym clapham

    Asking and begging are easily distinguished by the feeling that is generated within those ‘asked’. Asking allows choice (and the psychological mechanisms that then work to support the choice), whereas begging gives only 2 options – giving in (passive) or not (& guilt!). When someone begs for something they are immediately creating a social hierarchy, a negative experience for both involved.
    Exploring ‘how’ to ask and how to maximise the respondants feeling of self driven choice in a positive response would be interesting.

  • Erik J. Avalon

    You ask when you could use something, you’d like something, and it would be nice to get that something, but you can just as easily live without it. You beg when you’re desperate, you need that something, you have to have that something or you are in serious danger of pain, suffering, and anguish that you don’t want to face (read: SHOULD NOT have to face). The circumstances don’t matter; begging doesn’t make you less of a person or make your request less valid. It makes your request more valid, probably. It should also make nice people want to help you more, and they won’t even have to think about it. Begging brings out the true faces of the people you encounter. Will they help if they can, will they apologize if they can’t, or will they simply ignore you as if you are not there? I’ll admit I’ve done all three of those things.

  • disqus_uQyWBMNLJ4

    Inflection and tone of voice.

  • Michele Mitchell

    Asking implies you come from a place of power. Begging that you come from a place of subjugation.


    not reading below, so that my answer is totally mine…
    i do a lot of ‘asking’ but i often feel like i am ‘begging’ because of the reactions i get. what i am doing is requesting that someone, who usually doesnt know me or my cause, believe in me and trust me enough to give to me what i am requesting, so that i can pass it on to the recipient of my cause.
    requesting for a good cause, be it orphans, clean water, food for the homeless, etc., when you are not said recipient, is ‘asking’. if you are said recipient, then you might be ‘begging’.
    i have yet to ‘beg’ in reality. i think that some people who do ‘beg’ probably really need what they are begging for;but there are many who dont really need it, they are just too lazy or selfish to get it the way the giver got it. i have seen a starving blind man beg for food and i have seen a teenager beg for cigs. that is the real difference between asking and begging.


  • Juniper Blue

    DIGNITY … I think that often it is the perception of the person who is being asked that that can change the dynamic. If the person being asked perceives the situation as an opportunity to share with another person who is seen as their equal (regardless of their station in life), the experience and exchange is mutually beneficial. The asking and “give and take” can be very natural and perpetual like a gently turning wheel that moves us collectively forward. However, if the person who is asked thinks little of the person asking, the experience may quickly shift to one that is degrading and dehumanizing … as opposed to HUMANIZING. The ability to form an interdependent bond is diminished. Over time, the person asking may come to feel that they have no value and may be transformed into a “beggar.” When a person loses a sense of dignity and self-respect it becomes increasingly difficult for that person to participate in any emotional, physical, spiritual, energetic, or monetary exchange. We essentially “lose” this person as they “lose” themselves. Ultimately, we as a society suffer as much as the individual who is marginalized. Their shining light is darkened and this inevitably darkens our one shared path. If that person is not restored, over time, it is as if the stars in the sky begin to fall … one at a time. What is the saying: We are only as strong as our weakest link.

    • Juniper Blue

      I was homeless for 3 years after a serious injury … I was living in my truck and often went without food. I never had to “beg” but I did have to learn how to ask for help. Fortunately, for me … there were people in my life who were willing to help (when I finally allowed them to.) Years later, it is now my turn to multiply all of that kindness in every way possible.

      • Juniper Blue

        One final branch of thought … when a child cannot ask (because their basic needs are repeatedly denied) they will rarely grow up to become a “beggar” … they may become a “thief” if they are able to direct their anger outwardly, but generally, a child who is deprived of basic needs does not even feel worthy enough to steal. The child who is met with a “No, this is not for you” repeatedly when they ask respectfully for reasonable things, is most likely to become a person with so much shame that they never reach out to ask for anything at all.
        I started as a “stone” like this, a little child who was shamed for wanting the most simple things, a girl who grew to feel that her life was one that could be taken and that all that she had, her body, her time, her work, he heart should be given because it was a selfish thing to want to keep herself. A child like this must fight to find her way back into her body and must learn to have wants again.
        We must take great care when we encounter people who live as stones … we must especially take great care to raise children with kindness and love so that they learn how to ask for what they need. There is no shame in asking respectfully for the world to be a place of “give and take” … and so, I am asking each of you to listen and know your own worth and to value the worth of others … the person beside you and the person across the sea.

  • Kimberly Kroznuski

    Begging is what mainstreamers do. Begging is when people rely on others without offering anything in return. Begging is knowing that, “Thank you,” may suffice, but they don’t say it anyway.
    Asking is saying, “Please,” but not getting on your knees for it (in either sense of the phrase). Asking is being mindful and pleasant, but knowing your limits.

  • sushicookies

    The one who asks comes from a place of courage (and fear cuz you can’t have courage without it)
    Asking implies that the request has some value and if the request is granted, both sides see their part of that value.

    Begging comes from despair and resignation.
    The beggar has already conceded any self worth (his own value). The very act of begging took that away. It’s not about value at all, it’s only about needs of the beggar.

    The distinction is the different reactions of the recipients.
    It feels completely different when you’re asked or begged, no?

  • Katie Farris

    In my opinion, asking is about putting a piece of yourself out into the world and gaining pieces back from those who respond. It’s collaborative, it’s creates a connection. Asking for help is, essentially, forming a bond and sharing with one another to create something new rather it be a new idea, outlook, piece of art, or way of life. Begging differs in that it is strictly selfish. It doesn’t ask for anyone’s advice or donation for selfless reasons or truly take them into consideration. There are no ties formed between others, only a give and take between strangers for personal gain alone.

  • Christine H

    I think that asking is being respectful to both yourself and the person that you are asking.

    In asking, you say to yourself, “I need/want this [thing]. I know that I cannot get it on my own. I deserve at least a chance to have it. Despite my weakness, I am a person who is worth being heard and if someone helps me, I will be grateful for what I receive.”
    In asking, you say to the askee, “I trust you enough to show you my needs, and respect you enough to know that you may not be able to meet them. I believe that you, as a fellow person, will sympathize with me even if you do not give me the answer that I want.”
    Unfortunately the sympathy is not always there, and those who ask are sometimes not respected in return, but I think that the hope of making a connection despite a negative answer is part of the respect involved in asking.

    Begging, on the other hand, is a debasing act.
    I don’t think that begging involves any amount of reflection, nor acknowledgment of one’s worth or weakness. In begging, you simply say, “I lack something. You are a means for me to get what I want and that is the extent of our relationship.”

    Of course, this internal dialogue usually doesn’t happen in the moment. Rather, it depends on the relationship that the asker already has with themselves, the askee, and with the world around them. I am a person whose pride often outweighs her true self-respect, and reasons to avoid asking are all too easy to find.

    “Asking for [thing] makes me look stupid.”
    “[Thing] means less if I did not get it on my own.”
    “If I deserved [thing], I would have it already.”
    and my personal albatross,
    “I am annoying people by asking them for [thing].”

    *Potential [things]: A few dollars, a toy guinea-pig, love, a TempurPedic pillow, a loan to start my business, assistance in finding the soy sauce at the grocery store

  • Sabrina

    The power dynamic of the individuals involved. In BEGGGING there is a rift; an imbalance of power. The ‘asker’ feels an underlying desperation for their request to be honored. Or the ‘askee’ may judge the request and ‘asker’ with disdain. In ASKING the ‘asker’ does not NEED their request fulfilled – they are not burdened by anxiety regarding the resolution. The ‘askee’ has appreciation for the request and/or the ‘asker’. This brings a balance of power and a positive perspective on the ‘transaction’.

  • Laura

    My first instinct is to say that the difference between asking and begging is the difference between taking an active or passive role, respectively, in an exchange. Asking creates a direct connection between people or groups in order to have one person or group’s needs met. Begging is making a general request, putting yourself at the whim of someone’s charity.will.”

  • SweetRPea

    I have to say, I am a big fan of yours and general supporter to the extent that I am able. But, I am also a fan and supporter of a LOT of other independent artists. This is just a general observation from JUST ONE FAN (me) on how things have been going for me with our relationship these past few years…fan to artist: it’s too much. I’m completely overwhelmed. Now you’re here, now you’re there, new project here, new project there…now there are paintings, tee shirts, tarot cards, Kickstarters for this, Kickstarters for that….it’s too much, girl! For me, at least. And, this is just from my own outside experience as a fan. I can’t even BEGIN to imagine what it must be like from the inside for you.

    What I enjoy most about you as an artist is your art. And, I really don’t want to confine that just to songwriting…I know you have a swifter output than most. But for me, part of what makes an artist and their art enjoyable is anticipation. Waiting for their next album to come out…savoring the album once I get it. Looking forward to catching them live if/when they are near my area. This is ONLY my preference and perhaps you can’t even function this way, but I would SO LOVE for you to just SLOW DOWN and BE YOU and MAKE ART and LIVE….release an album every few years….tour a bunch…maybe a few projects here and there. But, this EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE thing is really wearing me out. I only post this because it comes from a sincere and caring place. I really am feeling AFP fatigue lately and I really don’t want to be. I started feeling this in the past year or so when you had one album come out after another, but then I think the tarot project, even though it is very cool and received a lot of funding on Kickstarter, kind of pushed me over the edge. I’m just burnt out. I’ve had enough. I need a break. I am going to focus on other artists. Maybe in a few years by the time your book is finished, I’ll come back to check out your stuff and see where you are at. I really want to continue to be successful and I can see that you enjoy a TON of support, but as a fan and supporter, I just need to receive your output at a less hectic pace. Hope you’ll take this with the love it is intended. I still love you. Rock on, Girl. xoxooxo

    • McFluffkins

      I can’t help but feel that this comment is like complaining to a chef because they’ve set out a buffet when you only wanted some coffee with dessert, instead of simply taking what you like and stopping there.

      • SweetRPea

        Nope, it’s feedback. Kind, thoughtful, well-considered, well-written feedback delivered carefully and with heart. If it does not come across that way to you, perhaps you are not reading it right.

        • McFluffkins

          As was mine to you, though I might not be so bold as to assume that you did not read correctly.

          • esmertina

            FWIW, I didn’t read it as a complaint. And I can relate to it, although not with Amanda specifically (I still have plenty of Amanda bandwidth) but with support for independent artists in general. Because they are ALL asking. And they should, and it’s cool, but it does get overwhelming when you follow and support a whole slew of them.

            I have had to become more selective. I can keep up with half a slew, tops.

  • Daniela Ravenous

    Hey Amanda… I’ve been thinking about this sort of topics since there is a debate going on in my country, Ecuador, not exactly on art… but about the difference between asking and begging… maybe you have read something about the Yasuni National Park, is in the South American Rainforest… our president decided to start the oil drilling soon, in spite of the fact that the area was supposed to be a protected natural reserve. The main argument of our president to do so is to say that the world gave us their back, not donating enough money to keep the initiative going (Yasuni ITT). Some people say that Ecuador asked for help with something that should be a responsability for the whole world since the rainforest is important for the whole planet, and some other people say that we don’t need to be begging from other countries. In this case I think that the failure of the project was because it presented itself like a demand since the beginning instead of a fair exchange of benefits.

    I use to talk about the problem of music and money with a fellow friend musician (I’m a musician too), and how hard is to survive on this country being an artist, almost impossible, to make a living with music. Or at least is what most of us were trained to believe. Most, maybe 99% of the musicians have a day job and ended up letting the music to become a hobbie or an unattainable and unrealistic passion. The greatest “achievement” for independent musicians here has been massive festivals (for 5 thousand people maximun) which take place each year, supported by the government (with big stages and great equipment), where people don’t have to pay to attend. Free festivals are becoming the norm because people don’t want to pay 2, 5 or 10 dollars to see local bands play live gigs. People neither buy a CD from local bands. The situation it’s really sad to be honest… but I think, maybe being cruel, that musicians have gained their results.

    So I saw your TED talk (I’m also a fan of yours since 2004) and thought A LOT about the situation here… most bands beg for attention, some make a lot of promotion, take a lot of pictures, make
    videos (some professional ones), give interviews, play here and there, in the city, in other cities, they even go to Colombia or Peru or Brasil and even Europe (paying themselves their tickets and expenses)… for basically nothing in return. And most of these local bands have years and years being like this. They basically love to be noticed, love to feel untouchable on big stages and say “we have played in Brasil (for free)”, but I think they are not really GIVING it all. A true and honest essence in their work, that’s why people don’t feel like “buying” them. They beg, a lot, all the time and they never ask and there is no exchange.

    I had the “AHA!” moment when you said… “let’s make people want to pay for music…”
    Nobody can be loved for everybody of course. There’s always a bright side and a dark side.
    But when an artist find “their crowd” is because he/she have given something really authentic with which other people can truly identify with.

    Begging is to force things and situations, being unnaturally dependant on external forces, to abandon the responsibility. Asking is something that flows with who want to participate, to propose new things and take charge of the course of our lives.

  • angelsab

    Begging has a focus on the money, while asking leaves the focus on the art.

  • Daniela Ravenous

    Oh! and I forgot to attach this Ted talk it’s about “The power of vulnerability”… I think it has a lot to do with the fear for asking…

    Much love to you Amanda :)

  • MorgaineSwann

    To me, the difference is need. Asking is simple – you can take no for an answer. Begging is when you’re really invested in the outcome – you can’t take a no, no matter what. BTW, I discovered you from the Tarot tribute deck on Kickstarter. I asked some FB friends about you and they linked me to amazing videos. Now I’m a fan.

  • BlueberryMIRACLE

    Dear Amanda (and everybody else :)

    I just had a chance to actually read the blog post connected with the asking/begging image and I’m amending my earlier, briefer answer.

    Right now Vanessa and I are hosting the truly fucking amazing and wonderful trio-plus-puppy behind Pie It Forward (formerly OccuPIE) on our farm for a couple of nights.

    They’re traveling around the country spreading kindness and generosity… through pie.

    This journey was inspired by a metaphor Sarah, the Chief Weirdo Do-Gooder, made in a conversation during the 2012 election cycle and it’s gorgeous — I did a very brief blog post about it here:

    Free pie is awesome. Free pie makes a lot of people happy. This is one of those seriously heartwarming tales that you hear about and you go aww, and you feel better knowing that out there somewhere is a little house built on the back of a truck traveling around with kind and generous pie makers stopping in towns making and giving away pie because our society needs to remember about generosity and kindness.

    The reason I bring this into the conversation — the reason I’m sitting here at the farmhouse kitchen table tapping away at my iphone while everyone else hangs out around a campfire amidst crickets and treefrogs and a perfect summer night — is because they (like me) are asking people on a regular basis to participate in this mission of awesomeness that has such a lovely effect on so many people’s days and sparks such valuable, wonderful conversations and awarenesses.

    And they’re barely barely scraping by.

    Their journey is funded entirely through donations.

    They’ve been asking people to chip in (through their paypal donate thingie, which is here: ) to help them buy flour and eggs and fruit and butter and the things that make the pies they’re making and giving away, and places to park the pie wagon safely, and occasional hot showers and stuff.

    You’d think that people would be all over this, and keeping the pie wagon stocked with flour and butter and sugar and gas wouldn’t be the kind of issue that leaves them stranded more than once for days on end.

    But it is. They have been.

    So on the one hand you have this awesome thing happening that oodles of people say they’re gun-ho about and want to support and see continue.

    And then on the other hand you have… well, insert cricket sound here (and not the actual gorgeous cricket sound I’m surrounded by, but the horrible vacuum of unanswered erquests. Acta non verba, people. Acta non motherfucking verba.)

    I’m not speaking *for* her, but I get the impression that Sarah is still in the healthy energy of “ask” versus the energy of “begging”, which is a place ask can plummet into when it happens over and over without what feels like adequate participation from another party/parties.

    Now, there’s the whole big thing about “suffering comes from expectation” and all, but there’s a thing that happens to a repetitive ask that can get really sticky on both sides.

    I’m impressed by the grace with which Sarah continues her ask. I’m delighted by my ability to respond to part of the ask, with space and showers and laundry and what I’m able to share in the moment.

    The experience–combined with another this week (of my partner and I being chosen as Huffington Post’s Go-Givers of the Week for the gift economy food forest we’re establishing instead of crumpling under the weight of a personal crisis: ) — have helped bring my “ask” back up out of a place that was starting to feel like begging.

    I’m working on this Big Important and Beautiful Project that I know — without question, in my marrow, absolutely without a doubt 100% sure *know* — will not only have an immense positive impact on the community but also serve as a much-needed ray of light in the inky-black landscape of our food system.

    This charming and delightful laid-back “agricultural burningman” for lack of a better term that we’re creating has the potential, quite literally, to change farming and possibly part of the food system in hugemajorimportant ways.

    People I talk to about it are gung-ho, yay, they say, yes, they say, omg the world needs this so much, they say, and many people step up and participate in whatever ways they are able (which isn’t simply money) but even more say a related lovely thing, and then squirrels or black holes or sharksplode or something happens and… crickets.

    Before our HuffPo piece on monday, my months-long ask for people to participate — by chipping in a few bucks, by joining in as fundraisers, or even just clicking the “support” button which, like fundraising with us is *free* and really freaking easy — was slipping into a place that felt less like ask and more like begging.

    So many people have joined in, and I am immensely grateful and buoyed by their belief in and support of this vision, but the volume and repetition of the ask has been the emotional equivalent of taking a lemon zester to my knuckles and it has left me raw and opened me up to rejection and ridicule in ways that are…. new to me. Yes. It began to feel like begging.

    Begging feels very different from ask. (And awkwardly, there’s not really a hard edge to it, so you can tell immediately where the begging border is and stand well back.)

    An ask, I think, has more of an element of an invitation to it. There is a feeling of mutual respect and openness.

    An ask is an open blue sky.

    The openness isn’t so much there in the territory of begging.

    In the territory of begging, it’s like there are walls all around you.

    Begging is a box with nail tips poking in. And the only way out of the box filled with sharp involves the action of someone in front — and above — you doing something that they might or might not feel like doing. You feel like you have less say in the situation. There’s an almost nonconsensual power exchange going on.

    Maybe nonconsensual isn’t the right word. Or maybe it is, and it’s possibly applicable to both people. I don’t know for sure, I’m not an expert on this, but begging leaves at least one person feeling *bad*

    Asking can leave one or more people feeling uncomfortable, but I don’t think asking involves anyone feeling *bad*

    Begging most definitely involves desperation. And I think it often involves an unanswered but imoprtant-to-you ask.

    Begging seems to involve judgement — again, possibly on both ends. It’s more like you’re holding a thing up to be judged worthy or not by an external source as opposed to an internal source. Maybe that’s it.

    Again, I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t ramble this much if this weren’t possibly helpful in the book process, but Amanda, if you’re reading this, your ask-related bravery and persistence has been enormously influential — and beneficial — for me more than once.

    One of your asks transformed a hugely unpleasant experience into something totally fucking awesome, and I am grateful beyond measure to have been able to respond with a yes.

    When your kickstarter campaign launched last year and you tweeted for support, my partner and I had about nine dollars between us.

    We were just emerging from the shattered possibility of a big important thing having been taken care of and okay and suddenly shit was Not Okay again, and I was too broke to fill up the fucking car and all the conscious decisions I’d been making over the past several years no longer looked like they were inching me towards the fulfillment of lifelong dreams, they looked, immediately prior to that ask, like stupid fucking mistakes.

    Big, stupid fucking mistakes made by someone whose “adult” card should have been revoked long ago and the guys with clipboards were on their way any minute to tell me the jig was up and I could no longer be allowed to run my life my way because clearly I was no good at it.

    It was a dark fucking moment in my personal history. Not the darkest by a long shot but dark enough to be really fucking unpleasant.

    When I saw the kickstarter-related tweet and discovered that I could contribute a dollar, something shifted. I contributed my dollar and instantly I wasn’t an overly optimistic idealist who couldn’t fill the gas tank, I was a motherfucking patron of the arts.

    It sounds simple when I flatten it into words but it was *not* a simple experience. It was, literally, life-changing. That heavy gray crust of desperation was instantly rinsed away, and from my newly rejuvenated mental space I was able to move forward in directions I hadn’t noticed existed before.

    Things *felt* figure-outable, and of course they were. As long as you’re still breathing, everything is.

    This brings me back to the thing about an ask feeling more like an invitation. Participation versus rescue.

    That’s it right there. Participation versus rescue.

    This distinction may have been made several times (my apologies for the repetition if they have, my one bar of phone service makes comments kind of slow to load so I don’t always read them but then again perhaps the repetition is useful.

    Participation versus rescue *is* very much in the mind/heart/vibe of the asker, I think, and sets the tone for the engagement of the other parties involved in the situation.

    There’s possibly a connection between the whole buddhist suffering from attachment tangled up in begging, and the suffering is such an optional experience, born in the mind of the asker. A repeated “no” does not transform a repeated ask into begging, only a shift in the mental/emotional space of the person making the request can do that.

    How to gracefully stay in the ask versus the begging I haven’t figured out yet, but I’m working on it.

    Thank you for asking.

  • Nichola Deadman

    OK, so here’s my thoroughly ineloquent take on this. Probably not going to say anything that hasn’t already been said but hey.

    At the deepest level, I think that this question is really about how we ourselves see the world from situation to situation. I started thinking about connotations and the images of begging: a dog with its eye on the dinner table. A kid nagging a parent for a new toy. A homeless person with no money and nowhere to sleep and no fridge to put his (no) food in, asking for some change. Someone begging a lover not to leave. Depending on your background, your feelings, your issues, every single one of those situations has myriad implications, reactions that may not be shared by the person next to you. Some people look at a homeless person and say, “What a bum, what a lazy asshole, why doesn’t he get a job?”, while others are better able to empathise about what it must be like to be trapped in a situation like that – “There but for the grace of god go I” – or through religious or moral avenues have been taught that they have a duty to help those in need. And then, depending on the level of empathy as informed by past experience, the giver does whatever and moves on.

    From the point of view of the one doing the begging… again, it’s all down to the situation, but it is focussed on getting the single object that would improve your situation. The object is the focus; it doesn’t matter how you get it. In that moment all that matters is your need and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. A few people in this thread have pointed out that begging requires debasing yourself but sometimes it involves a fair amount of emotional manipulation, emphasising pathetic qualities to invoke a reaction in potential givers. Perhaps in a stronger situation, the same people would coerce rather than beg, but for whatever reason in that situation they feel they have to take a position of appealing directly for what they need.

    So then I thought about asking. An artist/ entrepreneur asking for funding on Kickstarter. An employee asking the boss for a raise. Asking someone to marry you. In each of these situations you could beg, but there’s a sense that begging would be unseemly, whereas I feel that in the previous set of examples you couldn’t really substitute asking. (I can’t imagine a dog going, “Hey man, I’m pretty full of those pellets but if you’re done with that steak I’d love to see how that marinade came out.”) When asking, we’re creating a sort of contract between the asker and the listener, backed with reasoning and actively offering some sort of quid pro quo, however nebulous and indefinable.

    I think that that last part is why the line between asking and begging gets blurry and the two are so often conflated: you might say that giving to someone who’s begging gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, as does, say, donating $1 to an artist’s new album on Kickstarter (no reward but gratitude). But that depends again on the giver’s reaction, not the person to whom they gave their money. The intangible reward of charity to the giver is a feeling of goodness or a sense of civic duty (I’m not entering into a discussion of its deeper morality, just the immediate reward). The rewards of giving to someone who’s asking are more likely to be sharing in whatever your contribution has helped them to produce – be it an experience, a CD, a private concert, the privilege of getting a cool product before it goes into mass production (or out of business), or just the sense of being able to watch as a project you helped bring to life takes off. For instance, I have never yet seen a Kickstarter project I would classify as begging: none of them seem to say, “Save me! If I don’t finance this album/ 3D printer/ Lomography lens I’m going to end up on the streets!” At worst, the album doesn’t get made or the item doesn’t get manufactured and distributed. It seems terribly ironic that the USA, with its souped-up history of “entrepreneurship” also produces the nastiest critics of a platform that allows entrepreneurs the chance to sell their products to people who (and this is the critical point) REALLY WANT TO BUY INTO IT.

    So to conclude, I haven’t said anything that hasn’t also been mentioned by others. You can define asking and you can define begging however you like, but at the end of the day both words imply a relationship of exchange, and the final label really boils down to perception.

  • Martin Selle Schriftsteller

    begging: you pull people on their shirts, etc. asking: you just speak.. :))

  • Andy

    You beg for charity and you ask for solidarity. It’s about power.

  • Poppy

    Asking feels like power, discovering community, opening to possibilities, a sunflower, transparency. It’s easier (for me) to say yes to asking because I naturally want to help others and see them succeed. I suppose it feels like the asker has a plan – has expended energy to come up with a grand scheme, and is inviting me to be a part of their movie. And if I don’t want to be, they are confident that there will be plenty of others who would love to be in it. It would be exciting for me to help them. Enhance my life as well. I want to connect with you. Dynamic.

    Begging feels like a stinky black sock, shameful, passive coercion, needy and sticky, unclean manipulation, mystery (what is your real story?)(do I trust what you’re saying?). Although I naturally want to help, begging turns me off. How can I help you when you don’t see any possibilities for yourself? Where is your creative power? it feels like too big of a hole for me to fill. You don’t just want me to have a bit part in your movie, you need me to write, produce, and direct your movie. Hopeless. Stuck in your sad story. Helping you feels like an energy drain to me. You don’t really want to connect with me – just to use me. Paralyzed.

  • Shane

    Simple those begging pretend to need those asking truly do.

  • Chris Tilley

    I think the difference is a sense of urgency, Asking is a subtle type of a request where as begging becomes more urgent. Most of the posts are very precise in illustrating this in that begging is far more dramatic in the necessity of the request becoming more urgent,

  • Lia Turner

    Asking implies mutuality

  • Michael

    the similarity: both is about giving and receiving. But the difference lies in the approach.

    From the receiving point of view:
    begging needs desperation. if you don’t get what you beg for, the desparation might grow. begging is about getting what you need. you might feel thankful after you’ve received what you begged for. but the transaction ends with you receiving. it does not really matter who you received from. you are just thankful that you now have what you’ve begged for.

    asking needs a will to connect. if you don’t get what you ask for, you might reflect your way of asking, because you did not connect. asking is about getting what you want. you might feel thankful after you’ve received what you asked for. and that moment of giving and receiving sticks to you. you might feel the will to give something back. a smile perhaps. a from your bottom of your heart wish that the giver shall be blessed for the rest of his or her life. you feel thankful that this someone gave what you wanted.

    from the giving point of view:
    if someone begged and you give, you might feel obligated to give. you might hope, that you mistook this begging for asking. you don’t really want to give. but you give anyway, because you might think that giving is the right way of living; if we all just gave a little mor a little more often,… the world would be a better place!

    if someone asked and you give, you might want to give more. you know, without any doubt, that this was asking. and you might want to know the story behind the asker but you know, that it would be rude to intrude the asker to tell your his or her story. and it does not really matter anyway, because you know – with absolute certainty – you gave for a good cause.

    most people are afraid of asking because they are afraid that their asking will be mistaken for begging. most people who beg think they do not have any other option.

  • Alexander Haselbacher

    I asked myself this question and ended up begging for an answer.

    That built up much more pressure making it impossible to find one.
    So I asked myself to be a bit more patient and ended up begging for more patience.
    Which built up even more pressure and made it impossible for me to be patient at all.
    So I just told myself to fuck off and that made it all disappear and that was when I realised that begging is probably always a bad idea because it pisses people off while asking doesn’t.

  • Phoenix_pirate

    I feel like asking is about the multiple. It is me asking you; and maybe you, and you, and you…. There is a give and take, multiple roads, multiple answers. I ask expecting an answer, you may ask something back, the conversation can grow. Begging is frequently one-way, limited. “Please can someone [you]… ” and silence. Or pretend silence. The head-shake, the “not today,” the “maybe later.” “yes” “no” end of conversation.

  • Kerry Jones

    Begging innately and immediately lowers the self-worth of the person, and is now requesting something out of NEED. Asking maintains or raises self-respect (people give you more respect for being honest and open) and is saying “no” is an acceptable answer, too.

  • Tiger

    asking is on eye level, at least from the mindset, i think.. begging – idk.. it implicates that the beggar is in the particular subject below the person being begged.

  • Azzie

    Begging is making a request without regard to the other person’s feelings and needs. It reeks of desperation and emotion, “Please give this another chance, I know you could be good for me, I know you’re right for me.” Begging is holding onto to something that doesn’t exist for the other person. Asking is communicating with someone on the same level as you.

  • Juliette Hell

    Begging is like you need the answer in order to survive, or not fall in a more desperate situation. Asking is when you know the answer will make you grow, or produce something valuable, and probably valuable not only for you. It is a promise to yourself that you will be able some day to give this person you ask something in return.
    The one is to avoid going down, the other is to help going up.
    And the difference is probably in the self-confidence of the asking one and the respect of the asked one.

  • Olga B

    Begging implies you have no choice and desperately need the help you would rather cope without. If you beg, then usually as a last resort, because you must. It’s so deeply uncomfortble because you’re at the mercy of someone else. Whereas when you ask, you have presumably weighed the pros and cons, and have decided that to ask for help is the right choice and worth the risk. You choose to ask, you beg when there is no other option.

  • Maria

    asking is making a request whereby you are on equal grounds with those who hear you
    begging is stripping yourself naked, and trusting them not to hurt you

  • Meegan Cloughley

    The difference is tone of voice….you can say the exact same words with a different tone of voice, and I guess body language and it will mean 2 different things

  • Rut Blomqvist

    Some comments here have called begging something that does not allow people to turn a request down. True, begging can be used as a puppy-eyed, childish rhetorical strategy, playing on people’s empathy and wielding a dishonest influence. As an honest act, though, and not merely a rhetoric that you use for getting a favour from someone you know, begging is powerless. (So I guess what I’m saying is that you can play powerless to get sympathy, but that’s not the “essence” of what begging itself means.)

    We’re talking about begging and
    asking as two opposed things, sort of, but maybe we need to add one more
    term to the equation: demanding. Demanding and begging are then the opposed terms. People who demand something don’t allow you to turn them down because they are in a position of power that means that they can make you give them what they want; people who beg make a similarly absolute request but from a radically different, powerless position. Asking is then the in-between thing, the way that equals deal with each other. Asking doesn’t entail hierarchy. Asking paves the way for cooperation.

  • JRThurner

    Asking relies on kindness.
    Begging relies on guilt.

  • Nirvy

    I’m living in Kenya where begging comes with a pathetic face. Little kids begging for a living with the pathetic vibe amped WAY UP. When I tease them to ask straight and drop the pathetic act, there is an initially wary glance. Often, they light up with a smile at being engaged. My favorite beggar story happened in India. A very plump 50-60 year old Indian women would pat her large belly with a huge smile and ask for food.

  • Cara

    To me, asking is empowering – it takes a lot of guts, strength and the ability to show your vulnerability to let people know you need some help, regardless what it is. Asking is something positive. Begging is the opposite.

    Begging is negative. Begging shows your weakness and it victimizes you.

    When you ask you are still in control of your situation, but when you beg, it either shows you are not in control of the situation, or it shows greed and laziness.

  • Jones

    Asking comes from a position of empowerment. Begging comes from a position of enslavement.

    Semiotic and symbiotic. One is compassionate, the other political.

  • Rebecca

    The difference between asking and begging is Panic.

  • iFr4g

    Asking means you “want” something, begging means you “need” something, there is a fine line between the two and they are often confused.

    • iFr4g

      Just to outline, as it appears that some people here are (from my interpretation) confusing begging with only poor/homeless people. Anyone can “ask” and anyone can “beg” regardless of their situation.

  • Ruan Peat

    Asking is when the transfer is between two people, I ask for help and feel they can ask me, begging is when you have no link and no feedback, when you just want or need and the return is nil, which is why we love you and your rantings, we feel we can ask you and you can ask us, the feed is two way, the link is there. the link doesn’t have to be good though hence your haters, mind you any one who has to hate someone to feel better about them selves is not worth the energy. Don’t like, don’t read, don’t watch, don’t interact, cut the link, walk away, byeee (don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out)
    BTW Neil’s talk in Inverness was amazing, he is such a great guy, he also makes you feel like you can ask and not beg (mind you to get my book signed I would have begged :-) but even after hours he made my daughter and I feel special)
    Good luck with the Book and feel free to ask any time :-)

    • iFr4g

      I have a question, what if the link was between you and a company? For example you are fundraising for a charity, you write to a load of companies looking to get donations (merchandise/monetary) justifying your cause, you have “no link” to any of them you are just sending an email to a generic email address. Are you begging in this instance? Chances are that majority of the companies/sports teams/organisations will not reply (feedback). Personally I see it as you are “asking” for donations rather than “begging” for donations.

      • Ruan Peat

        Ah no that is where the thing becomes more in the mind of the person (and potentially stalkerish) I get asked for donations and if I feel I have a link to that cause or group I donate if not then I class it as begging, If I have to ask on behalf of a group or thing or event, then yes I am begging and have to hope some of the poeple who read it feel a link back to me/my group My kids at school rasied over 32k for a charity trip to Belize, they wrote many many begging letters and found loads of help for the asking! and many who never replied. Even begging has a place.

  • syn

    asking=>direction…begging=>going with the flow ?

  • Tyler


  • dawnb

    Maybe there isn’t a difference? Maybe the only difference is our own perceptions on whether we want to give or help or not? If we want to help, we think people are asking, if we aren’t interested in helping we see it as begging, maybe so we don’t have to deal with guilt about not wanting to help, and can shift that feeling back onto the person doing the asking. It’s a shame it isn’t always okay to ask, and a shame it isn’t always okay just to say no. If it was kept that simple maybe ‘begging’ (seen in a negative sense) wouldn’t exist.

  • Harrison Fudge

    Asking is done with a smile, begging with a scowl.

  • Laura

    To me, asking is when you’re on the same level as the people you are asking, where as with begging, the beggers either put themselves lower than you, or the people who theyre begging see themselves to be higher.

  • Will Catlin-Hallett

    This isn’t just an issue of money.

    Consider the difference between asking someone to marry you and begging someone to marry you.

    • Will Catlin-Hallett

      Begging is a result of desperation, and a loss of strength. Sometimes it can be a refusal to accept things the way they are (eg the person you love doesn’t love you), sometimes it is a pure result of the way things are (eg you do not have any food).

  • hanelele

    By asking you are putting yourself and the other into more-or-less equal positions. you have a right to ask and they have a right to say no if they know it is how they see the situation. by begging you put yourself in a lower position but leaving all the responsibility to the other, you take that free will to say no from them without feeling as a disgusting person.

  • Dixie

    Your blog made me think about a lot of things I’ve been facing in my life over the past two years as well, more than usual. I’d like to add my voice to the faceless chorus of people thanking you. :) I don’t know if I have a good answer to your question, but the idea (especially in the context of a close relationship) has been fresh in my mind.

    The difference between asking and begging is fear. The person who asks isn’t afraid of a “no” answer. The person who begs is terrified.

  • Jessica Cowan

    Asking is open to a yes or a no, begging attempts to leave you with not option but to say yes or feel guilty.

  • Mat Ward

    Asking implies a degree of respect for the person you are asking for something from. You respect their ability to give you answers, or to lift heavy objects, or to bake interesting cakes in the shape of body parts, or to take photos without squealing, or to do whatever it is you are asking of them.
    Asking is as much about the other party as it is about yourself. It’s a relationship.

    Begging is all about yourself and shows no interest or concern for the other party.

  • Brent Stenson

    Begging implies dependence and a sense of powerlessness. While asking on the other hand can come from strength and mutual understanding.

  • Xanthe Ferguson

    When you ask for something, it’s because you trust people enough to give. When you beg, it’s because you’re trying to force people into supplying.

  • Steven Webley

    Asking is an appeal to your benevolence. Begging is an appeal to your conscience.

  • Lukas Mayo

    There’s no difference. The person you’re asking can decide if you’re begging or asking. E.g. A homeless man asks for money? People will say he’s a beggar, so they feel less guilty about ignoring him.

  • Sorqaqtani Beki

    to rephrase what others are saying – the difference is shame. asking puts no shame on the asker for asking or the askee, regardless of their response.
    begging is shameful – the beggar is ashamed, the beggee shames the beggar by complying with the request, and is shamed by denying it.

    begging is closer to demanding, asking is closer to requesting, because of begging’s added shame baggage.

  • Daisy

    When you ask, you bargin. You need something, and offer something in return. You need help, and want help and you go out there with that need, that desire to find or create something new and you seek assistance from like minded, knowledgeable people who want to give you something in return. When you beg, you demand. You need something, but have nothing. If you have nothing to give, why would people have any reason to want to help you? There is no exchange, no request, and no thanks. There is no credibility in demanding. Asking is respectful.

  • Matches Malone

    I’m going with, I ask you to help me out, and you have the option to say no, and I accept that, however, if I ask you repeatedly, and don’t offer anything in return, it becomes begging.

    I know of someone who was standing on a street corner, making over $400 a day with their handout, and this is how they ‘earned’ a living. It was suggested to me in these hard times, to do the same thing. I can’t bring myself to do that. There is a line I won’t cross, maybe to the detriment of my family, I don’t know.

    If I were to type anymore, it would become my own blog post. :D Hope you do well with this.

  • olof

    Asking always felt like begging, and pride got in the way, whereas helping others was often a source of pleasure. Getting to be a part of someone else’s dream for a moment and taking small pride in helping making it happen….
    Then I got an idea and threw myself into it, only to realise I was missing a lot of skills to get anywhere. At that time asking for help somehow came naturally. It was easy, I wasn’t asking for me so much as asking people to help me make my project come true, and as I was in love with my project, passionate and full of enthusiasm, the amount of help I received was absolutely mind blowing.

    I didn’t even really realise I was doing what scared me the most (asking for help and being vulnerable and less independant).

    So passion makes asking for help feel less selfish, or vulnerable.
    And practice, when you realise most people say yes and want to join when it is not about babysitting or cleaning or moving houses, but something interesting. And when you ralise, living in a community and depending on others is actually liberating and makes you feel more safe than being independent.

    It is still sometimes hard to ask for the simplest little things, as we learn that in a society that pushes individualism, being dependent and asking from the community is something we haven’t practiced in a couple of generations… something like that

  • Ian Schoneman

    Hi, guys. Long time listener, first time caller.

    The difference to me is that begging involves a high level of social manipulation. “If you don’t give me money, you’re a horrible person” is what they would have you think.

    As someone who regularly works with the public, I’ve heard every sob story you can imagine and probably a few more. I can tell you for a fact that there is a 90% chance, if not higher, that that person who just told you the saddest story in the world for that fiver, absolutely waited until you left and spent it all on booze. Sometimes they even laugh to me about how easy it was.

    Due to this repeated experience, I now have little love for those in desperate situations. I’ve been in a few myself, a few were fairly serious and I had no clue how I was going to get there. Absolutely none of them turned me into a derelict asshole who lied through my teeth to make people feel bad if they didn’t give me their money.

    As a result of my experience, I no longer bat an eye when I chase these people off my property. I now realize that, by doing so, I am ushering them in a direction that will eventually force them to fix their own lives, instead of sitting around expecting every single person they come into contact with to do it for them.

    As I gaze up at the short essay I accidentally just wrote, I realize I may feel stronger about this than I previously realized. Apologies all around if this is considered off topic or an overshare.

    • esmertina

      No apologies necessary, that’s exactly how it should work! :)

  • DJG

    It kind of depends on tone. If you’re asking for something, there isn’t necessarily a need or desperation. When you’re begging for something there tends to be a higher stake, or more desperation. Plus with begging there tends to be a bigger fear of the word no versus just asking something which can be a bit more nonchalant.

  • Anna

    Asking feeds off respect, whereas begging feeds off pity.

  • rachel

    Asking comes from a place of need and directed at those you love. Saying ‘no’ is a viable option, but you’d never say that (within reason) to someone you love. It is sharing what someone tangibly needs, with something you have.

    Begging, too, comes from a place of need but it is directed indiscriminately and it I is based on guilt, not love. You give to a beggar because some voice somewhere says you are an asshole if you don’t.
    It isn’t sharing, you are guilt’s hostage… it is guilt with a gun to your head.

  • Frances Guevara

    You beg because you cannot take “no” for an answer. I see begging as a loss of hope. Desperation. Self-pity.

    While to ask means you can still stand on your own two feet if ever you’ve been given a “no” as an answer.

  • Wes

    Begging seems weak but asking seems like are strong to know when you need help

  • Keara

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASKING AND BEGGING? It’s very interesting some people make the distinction between asking and begging.

    How is it different? Is it begging because you do it in a demeaning way, that is, you make yourself an object of pity, maybe sensationalising the situation in order to gain the thing you need?

    As opposed to asking – is that something like stating your case with dignity – the facts and the consequences – and not, for example, using emotive arguments / phrases?

    I want to be really clear on this distinction, everybody who feels there is one!

    Let’s say that I want to get into the store but the door is too heavy. Perhaps, M hands are full. Maybe I am chaneglled in some way that makes it diffcult or perhaps impossible to achieve results on my own. Simplicity,I need help.

    I could smile at the next person entering the store and say “Excuse me, I wonder if you’d mind opening the door for me……thank you”, or I could stubborn and prideful and wait for someone to ask what the matter is and offer their help.

    Either method will get me into the store, but the first method allows me to keep my dignity and to achieve desired results faster.

    If you’re “matter of fact” about your impairment/ or needs, then people will respond likewise, and see you as an equal. If you play for sympathy, then you’ll get sympathy, but people will see you as inferior.” You can only play the victum card for so long before it gets tiresome.

    Asking is the ability to trust the good in people & begging is distrust in them as a whole to be kind.

  • Maggie May

    There is absolutely no difference. Asking OR begging implies that you
    want/need something from someone else in order to further your own goals,
    whether it be for artwork or merely as a homeless person panhandling.
    Period. There is no difference. To have people constantly support your
    creative whims financially is BLEGGING, no matter how you try to justify
    what you are doing. I agree with one post that suggested you might want
    to step back and create slowly, go away for a very long while and
    listen to your muse instead of asking/blegging/begging for everyone
    else’s opinion, money, help. You are burning people out with your
    constant half-baked projects. A real artist is alone with their muse. By
    constantly being out there trying to do a bazillion things at once, you
    need to focus on ONE thing only, otherwise you are only diluting
    everything you create by spreading yourself too thin and everything

  • Astrid

    asking = same hight, same level (doesn’t matter how small or famous you are, inside you have the ‘same hight’)

    begging = different leves (either lower or higher, but also lower ‘level’ often is a ‘powerful’ one)

    asking = showing respekt to the other, and giving something back (not monetary or physically, only just in act of asking you give)

    asking = listening

    begging = ‘greeding’

    asking is connecting to others, listening to them and respecting their input – and giving them by asking.

  • Lylah

    asking is when you don’t need something but you want it. Asking is before the question is answered. Begging is when you really need it and the person says no and you continue begging and pleading with them afterwards in hopes that they will change their mind.

  • Lesberado

    Many see a difference in asking and begging in the intention of the person that asks or beg. That isn’t always obvious to the receiver.

  • Lauana Fidêncio

    Well, first of all, a thousand apologies for the english google translator! I do not speak
    english, sorry! But, I love you so much, dear Amanda! His music is one of the
    most impressive things I’ve ever heard.

    But as the difference between asking for begging? For me, I think in general is summarized
    as follows:

    Asking: It is an act of courage, trespass, winning his pride and pounce towards each
    other, to exchange, to obtain protection or something that you can not admit
    themselves, or just to share something that exists in another person and we
    know what is important to us! In summary: reaching out waiting.

    Begging: In general, begging is more an act of desperation, or more drastic action
    recognition need urgent help, you need to be saved immediately. In brief drop
    to his knees and put another under obligation to save you or leave you lost.

  • Elana Carleton

    I have so many thoughts inspired by your question, “What is the difference between asking and begging?” To do either of these things requires strength. Without judging which takes the greater strength, I would say the following: To ask for something requires a strong enough sense of self that you’re comfortable being seen as not having what you’re asking for, whether it’s an answer to a question or a request for assistance. To beg for something requires the strength needed to expose your deepest vulnerability. When you beg you permit the world to see the raw complexity of what it is to be human, to be alive. You expose the truth of our essential needs and of what it means to find yourself not being able to meet those essential needs without the active and immediate help of others. I’ll go further and answer a question you didn’t ask, “What is the same about asking and begging?” When someone asks or begs it serves to remind us just how connected we are to one another. We’re all individuals, but none of us lives or survives alone.

  • Michael

    Begging comes with some emotional reward or suffering in the act of the giver. If someone refuses a beggar they may feel any range of emotions from sadness that they can’t help to, as I have witnessed, pleasure in seeing someone less fortunate suffer. The latter is horrible of course. If they decide to give they may feel good that they could help but still may feel some pain in seeing someone less fortunate.

    Asking allows the recipient of the request to simply make a decision free from any emotional baggage. No harm, no foul. I knew you were asking for money and I didn’t give you any because I couldn’t afford it at the time. But I never felt badly about it. If I could’ve helped you I would have been rewarded with a great feeling that I played a small part to allow you to create your art. As if the reward was for both of us. I see beggars every day and it only causes me some pain because I can’t help them.

    Whatever you are doing, you are doing the right thing.Keep it up!



    ps I only recently became a huge fan. Fuck the haters! Sorry, but that is how I feel.

  • BloodFistIslandMan

    Pride? Power? Perspective?
    Who gives a shit.
    The only question that matters is: Which one works?

  • Elasticlad

    Asking is equality, begging is inequity.

  • circusteer

    You ask for change. The homeless man begs for it.

  • A Rich

    Begging: you are if not desperately, at least heavily dependent upon the other person’s acquiescence. Asking: you do not require the help, but it would be beneficial. Unsure if this is textbook definition but that’s the FEEL of them to me. My credentials: I’m an empath? =)
    Btw, loving this, Amanda. I’m sure you’ve heard it but here’s some more – we need this, and you are making a HUGE positive impact on the future. We’re on your side, Lady. XOXOXO Ambernikki

  • Mr Alex

    Asking is an appeal to the rational part of the targeted individual and implies a kind of community between the asker and the asked.

    Begging is an appeal to the emotional part of the targeted individual and implies an inequality between the beggar and the one begged from.

    Other comments have addressed these ideas so this is an agreement; I’m not claiming a new concept.

  • printbegone

    I’m not sure exactly how to define these words, but I know I have a very different reaction to the two of them. I will almost always give people whatever they ask for if I can provide it and I kind of feel an obligation to do so, but begging feels wrong and makes me much more likely to refuse.

    It’s weird since begging usual implies some level of desperation too. You’d think I’d want to help those people more since they seem to need it more. Generally has the opposite effect on me though.

  • anelis

    I feel that asking and begging is exactly the same thing. The only thing that gives “begging” a bad connotation is the fact that we live in a capitalist society that defines each and every one of us based on our monetary value. When we are judged by how much we can produce we can’t allow a term like “asking” exist as something devoid of any consequences and/or moral judgement. That is why, I believe, we created the term “begging” as a form of double-speak, so that we can have a word like “asking” but with a negative/derogatory meaning attached to it. That is what makes them different. Begging is fused with shame, it implies that he who begs must be ashamed for asking for help. And onto that word we have saddled all our constructed notions about a persons worth and dignity. Someone who simply asks is a capable hard working person who just needs some help, but someone who beggs is a disgusting lazy bum.

    I think the problem is that we still use these words to talk about similar things while trying to find other ways of communicating within the capitalist society that we live in. The best way is to dispose of it’s vocabulary, especially when it has become obsolete. You ask when you need something and you beg when you need something too. There shouldn’t be a need for a distinction. A person asking for help is a person asking for help. Making them feel ashamed in order to distance ourselves and feel superior -or even not ashamed ourselves- for not helping isn’t something that is helpful towards anyone.

  • Jessica T

    When you ask you might be a little uncertain of the reception, but, generally, resigned to either a “yes” or a “no”. You’re vulnerable and a little scared, but you get to retain that pride. In asking you can reveal as much you like or as little as absolutely necessary. You retain that choice. If you get a “no” you can still walk away.

    Begging, usually means the answer is “no” and you have to convince them otherwise. They aren’t going to provide what you need unless you strip yourself down, remove all of that oh-so-important pride and show them how much this really matters. Hoping that it will make a difference. That removing those last barriers would change things. If you still get a “no”, you’re crawling.

  • Smalldifference

    Asking & begging?

    This blog shows an example of begging. It’s all about your sense of why you would want to write a book.

    Asking would contain why the book would add value to their lives.

    Begging is about self. Asking is about the well being of another.

    Not why you inspire snarky memes.

    • Steph

      For most of us if we’re here we already know why it would add value to our lives.

  • Piper Shepherd

    Asking is less intimidating to the other party, whereas begging is more intimidating for both parties. Asking being the less stressful of the two, allows for questions and answers to be altered/interpreted differently. Begging is more on a single track to get something.

  • S.E. Hicks

    Asking is intentional; you have a plan and asking is, possibly, the solution to your problem it may be hard but you know what you have to do). Begging is knee-jerk; like being punched in the gut, your emotional/mental/spiritual muscles clench at the blow of a problem and the solution is as precious as air (and the need becomes more desperate if the [help] is withheld from us). And we all need air to survive. Begging can be degrading, embarrassing, the last resort as far as many are concerned, but it is basic and necessary. Whereas asking is voluntary.

  • Tess

    This might have already been stated somewhere, but sometimes I look at begging as how the other person views me. If I’m asking for a couple of dollars from my Mom, I know that if she can she will always help me. If I’m asking for a couple of dollars from my Grandfather, however, I’m opening myself up to ridicule: “Why do you never save any money?” “Why don’t you have a better job?” “You should have gone to college with the money you don’t have.” — the list goes on.

    Begging can be vulnerable, but I think it depends on the context of which you’re doing so; begging doesn’t necessarily equal to weakness.

  • wendryn

    I think asking is something done between relative equals and it isn’t generally desperate. Begging has an edge of desperation and there’s a power imbalance there; if you’re begging, the other person has power over you.

  • Bex Harper

    Co-incidentally, I just emailed you about my book project which might interest you. Have a look and let me know!

  • Kenny Jay Kindrick

    When one asks for help, their conviction shines through. The asker will succeed in their quest regardless of the answer. Asking for aid gives the person asked the opportunity to be a part of the asker’s quest or the opportunity to continue on their way.

    Begging for help implies that the beggar cannot succeed on their own merit, and that refusal is tantamount to betrayal.

    The beggar pines, “I will fail without assistance,” while the asker offers, “would you like to help me build something?”

  • Gammelor Goodenow

    This is not what I rationally think is the difference, this is what my gut believes and the way I live my life–

    Asking is when I approach diffidently and say that perhaps you would like to do or give a little such-and-such sometime, maybe.. Begging is when I ask you a second time in the same halting, diffident manner. Sheer desperation is when I say that I think I might need a little help now, please. If it’s not too much trouble.

  • Megan

    Asking is simple and mature and hard. It’s assuming an equal field between the asker and the asked, and then admitting to a need. Begging is different, over the top, and can be ironic or romanticized, and implies that the asker is subordinate, a child to an adult.

  • bAmPUNK

    Asking relies on community and compassion; begging relies on pity and desperation. They seem to be based solely on time constraints and one’s connection with the audience.

  • Bridgette

    Begging implies a desperation. Begging is what follows when asking fails.

  • hallelujah_hippo

    I feel like the difference is based on respectability politics. I feel like in US society ‘asking’ for something is seen as okay and acceptable and understandable while ‘begging’ is seen as shameful, desperate and presumptuous. I think which word is used depends wholly on the person telling the story and the amount of value they have for the asker/begger’s life and worth as a human. People they find worthy are ‘just asking for help,’ people they find unworthy are ‘begging for handouts.’

    I don’t think there’s any fundamental difference in the action, I think the difference is almost always based on the perceived humanity of the asker/begger in the eyes of the person to whom they are appealing.

  • Liz M

    Depends on who is hearing the question at times.
    If they like you – it’s asking
    If they don’t like you – it’s begging

  • Sarah

    No difference- it’s just the term “begging” was created and given a negative connotation to make asking seem like a bad thing. The desperate poor with nothing who “beg” are the ones society tries to make us hate.

  • Merlinda Little

    asking is being ready for a yes or a no. begging is getting a no and not respecting it.

  • Thamis

    Asking is polling driven by interest, begging is emphatic hopeless asking.

  • Mark Walsh

    Begging implies desperate and no alternative. Ramifications if not responded to. Asking implies a request that if not fulfilled has less impact.

  • bkkat

    Begging has an urgency that asking does not.

  • Mark Walsh

    Asking is blue, a curved edge, a soft toy, thursday. Begging is silver, pointed edge, a hard stone, Monday.

    • Blue

      the best explanation for me.

  • Figment

    Riddle me This!
    -Can you offer a barter & still be begging?

    -a stage with a rock-star in-return for back-up instrumentalists?
    -50 cents for a cigarette?
    -i’ll do you, if you do me?

    I have a Bum for a room-mate. After making a bundle off of his “buy a smoke from ya’?” routine, I eventually grew tired of this novelty. Sure, he paid for my laundry in a thousand quarters – but I don’t Need his quarters. I have my own.

  • Christen Kimbell

    I wonder sometimes if people feel like they can be so awful to you because they themselves do not get heard as loudly as you do. This whole comment board confirms that. You’re asking them their opinion. I see very little snark here today. I’m not sure if this makes me happy or sad right now.

  • Barbie Stoeckle

    Begging is Asking’s bratty little sister.

  • Pauline Da Conceiçao

    Hmm, so : asking, putting your problem/want out there, letting people know around you ‘hey, I need this, you’re so welcome to help if you want, no hard feelings if you don’t ‘
    Begging, it’s the pressure.
    So I’d say the difference is in the relationship, one of those two lets the possibility of equality between the person who asks for something and the people they ask something for to happen, the other…not ?

    It’s so difficult trying to think and argue in a language that’s not my native one. Argh. (It’s difficult determining if my sentences make sense half of the time, period.)

    On another note, witch or genius, you’re a breath of fresh air. I was thinking about how you’re one of those people actually out of the metaphorical box, just being themselves, whatever the f**** this is, and how I admire the way you managed to turn out kind of beautiful.
    …And then BAM, got a notice of your new blog.

    You’re a beautiful human being, ma’am. That’s what I really like, I
    couldn’t care less about your being the antechrist or Einstein.

    (And I care that your voice gives me bloody goosebumps in the best way, but that’s just another story entirely.)

  • Barbie Stoeckle

    I’ve asked when I’ve wanted to beg before. Never the reverse. Why? Because begging occurs when dignity need not be a factor, when the need is greater than pride. I try to wear dignity like a second skin. I try, I fail, I stand up and try again.

  • Janelle

    Asking is much more low-key, whereas begging comes out of desperation–though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Elsa Brown

    Asking is a business venture, begging is when you have nothing left to lose.

  • Andrew Logan

    Asking is about choice. It is a pleasure to do something that someone has asked you to do and you want to do. It is, or should be, no problem to refuse something asked for.
    When you are being subjected to begging you are being put under pressure. “You need to give me (whatever) or I will suffer (whatever).” It is unpleasant. There is little credit or joy in acceeding to begging. It relieves some pressure or even some threat.
    But if someone asks you for something? It is or feels personal. There is some trust implied in the person being asked – because if you are asked you can refuse. Ask and give? There is a contract, a communication, a connection.
    Beg and give? Get me out of here. Don’t want to see you again and be reminded of the whole begging thing.
    Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be necessary to beg. If that is all you have left. If you are in need. But it is still not pleasant to be on the receiving end, no matter how necessary it was for the beggar.
    Love and Peace.
    (Sorry if this has come through twice – I chose the option to comment as myself and my comment disappeared!)

  • Tonia Marie Harris

    Asking is throwing a pebble in the water and sticking around to watch the ripples.
    Begging is like trying to drink the ocean with a Styrofoam cup.
    Asking is knowing within yourself that you’re providing something(a work or art, a story, a glimpse into your inner self, a service or product), and has a certain grace.
    Begging is the moment when you step back to realize you’ve been greedy, and took what you could get without waiting to see if you fulfilled your promise(s).
    You know you’re asking when, as you said, it’s really fucking hard.
    No amazing story here, but a short, simple one: I watched your TED talk and finally turned my story over to beta readers. I felt like a kick-ass warrior. Thanks for that. xox

  • Kirsten Petersen

    Off-topic I guess, but I want to say I am glad you are writing a book. You asked what you have been doing. Here is what I see: you are smart, and funny, and compassionate, and bursting with ideas, and you have been sharing those ideas with the rest of us. Please don’t stop. I mean, unless you have to. I found you and your writing and your TED talks because of Neil, who I first discovered with Sandman many years ago, and rediscovered with his blog and twitter recently. It’s so incredibly weird and cool to have celebrity artists writing candid journal entries for the world to see. I was amazed by how approachable Neil had decided to be. And you have knocked it up a notch! The result is that a generation of people are coming to see famous writers and artists as people, not demigods who we could never hope to emulate. I won’t say you aren’t extraordinary people because you clearly are. Certainly you have the energy of ten people and your life is full of amazing stories. That you are sharing these, and people can comment and you can respond, and it is all recorded for someone to stumble upon later is just so cool. Also, you are a feminist and that kicks ass.

  • Aimee Jenifer Collins

    I LOVE this question for so many reasons. My immediate favorite response was:

    Begging is asking without the intent of hearing no. Sort of like stealing is like borrowing with no intention of returning.

    But then it brought up a different question for me–if the intent is not hearing no, then what is the difference between telling and begging outside of the gramatical format that it’s placed in?

  • VanessaD

    Asking is giving the person opposite to you equal options without emotional or moral pressure, you’re connecting on an equal level, while begging has a more existential tone and may feel like a thread out of desperation.

    Asking requires strength. When you’re begging you are just desperate and you have nothing left to lose. Asking means standing up for something, for an idea, or simply for yourself and therefore giving the reasons of your asking credit and value.

    I think that for us human beings asking, when it’s about perceived power ( like asking for respect) is easier than asking, when it is about perceived weakness (like asking for help) when it’s basically the same thing, though many feel the latter is like begging. But there is a difference between saying: “I have a problem, could you help me out maybe?” And “I have a problem, please you need to help me now or I will suffer and now it’s your responsibility!”

  • Becky Spotts

    To ask is to consider another persons response and feelings, to beg is to only want for yourself.

  • Claire Targaryen

    Asking strikes me as being cleaner. You have nothing to lose by asking; the answer is going to be yes or no, and you’re open to accepting it either way. You have taken that chance. By asking, you acknowledge on a fundamental level that the other party has a choice – that their decision stands regardless of whether or not you like it.

    Begging is, at least in my book, morally dubious. The act of begging requires a kind of emotive manipulation – to beg successfully, you must convince other people that they owe you, and that you are entitled to whatever it is you’re begging for, which probably isn’t going to be the case.

  • John Shepherd

    Asking = Wanting = Independence

    Begging = Needing = Reliance

  • Cheesedoodle

    I think the great divide between asking and begging is the point at which we have lost our pride.

  • Alicia Rose

    Begging is desperate: it’s more needing than wanting. It’s messy. Asking is wanting, but not needing it as much.

  • Jes Schroeder

    Begging to me, has always implied weakness, or an inability to function on one’s own. When I was younger this became a very harsh story for me, as neither of my folks were very responsible with their own money. We danced along the poverty line for years, the main supporters of my house actually being my grandparents. Regardless of the multitudes of jobs that they worked, between three people who were never in the greatest of health and day-to-day living, we’d come up short and have to come to my grandparents for money to keep us fed through the next paycheck. In their good moments, this was asking my grandparents for help. In my grandmother’s worse moments (and my parents, too), this was begging for it. My father would become so depressed leading up to these times that we had to ask for money, he wouldn’t get out of bed.

    This kind of feeling….this kind of sensation has always been difficult for me. Because the two were used so interchangeably in my life (and rarely in a positive manner, always had to be self-sufficient, etc) I struggle with it now, with branching out, asking people for help, wether it’s something simple or my current situation, two years out of college and struggling to keep it together because not even minimum wage-slave jobs are looking at my resume. Networking has always been a daunting task because asking for a reference…opening that initial communication…has been shoved so far up into my brain as begging that it hurts. Even getting it out in the open, letting people know I’m struggling feels inherently like begging: no one wants to see it.

    Sorry. I know this is a lot. It was hard for me to get it out.

  • BerlinGirl

    I think you’re more empowered when you’re asking. Begging implies despair, and that’s not a good place to be in. Also, if you beg there seems to be no other way out. Do/give me this…or else…
    What you beg for seems essential, it’s about survival. Asking sounds like you’re on firmer ground. You’ll survive even if the answer is No. Which brings us to emotional blackmail. If someone begs sth. of you, you feel compelled to give it to them. You feel you don’t have a choice. If someone asks something of you, you feel you’ve got an option, which makes you more willing to comply. Asking feels more constructive. The person asking has an idea which they want to build on. Whatever you give them will move them forward whereas the beggar remains on the same spot.

  • Crissie Kennington

    The difference is the veil between the two points of standing proudly to being brought to your knees, thinning as just one simple, yet crucial element is lost. Hope.

  • Kenny Watt

    When you ask you are doing it from a position of faith or trust. There is a contract that at the very let you can expect to be heard. Begging is when necessity has replaced your faith with desperation and fear.

  • Rab Townsend

    If you ask, you want. If you beg, you want.
    Perhaps the difference is WHAT you want.

    If you ask “what is your name?” you want knowledge of a name.
    If you beg “please, tell me your name,” you want knowledge of a name that is being withheld.

    Also note, that in this case, the begging isn’t a question. It’s a plaintive command.

    So, the difference isn’t necessarily the domain of the one who wants, so much as it is the one who is in a position to give.

    With something like money, people are more likely to withhold it, because they value it (perhaps overmuch). With something like affection – normally, that doesn’t need to be asked for, but if it is withheld, we are prone to beg. We only ask for what we expect will – or might – be freely given.

    You ask for help, because kind people will give it to you freely.
    You beg for help when there is an expectation that people will not want to help you.

    It seems implicit that a homeless person with a sign asking for money is begging, merely because they want something most people are not willing to part with: money. Or more upsetting: any consideration at all.

    But when it comes down to it, real begging happens when you met resistance after asking.

    Real begging shouldn’t happen. There should be no resistance to giving.

  • Chey

    Asking is a two-way interaction, a conversation. It requires a moment of intimacy, acknowledgement on both parts. It implies equality on some level- it’s between peers.

    Begging tends to happen when one of the partners has all the power, the transaction is most likely one-sided. There can be intimacy brought about by begging, but generally it requires less human interaction to be carried out. The giver can drop the coin and continue on, and choose not to acknowledge the asker’s humanity.

  • tweedbleed

    You beg for something you need; you ask for something you want.

    • Deb

      This is my favorite response so far.

  • kabe

    People who expect someone to say yes, ask. People who expect everyone to say no, beg.

  • Liv

    Asking is building a bridge between yourself and another person or people and allowing them to walk across to you. Begging is telling someone to build a bridge for you to get to them.

  • Carina Tous

    Asking can be the art of believing that someone will be willing to help you. Begging can be the belief that no one is willing to help you, and still having that strange sharp hope that maybe someone will anyways.

  • Larstod

    Begging is when every fibre of your being is desperate for another chance, another day, another second. Begging is when you feel the world crumble underneath your feet and you have nothing to hold onto but the questionable hope of another human. Begging is feeling so empty inside that you have no choice of anything else. Begging is lonely.

    Asking is hopeful. Asking is wanting something but you’re so unsure whether you should have it or not that you need someone else’s permission. Asking is trusting someone or something else for anything and everything. Asking is proposing for everything and every reason in the world. Asking is that spark of light in every child’s eye when they learn something new. Asking is respect and nobility and love.

    Begging is a need. Asking is a want.

  • Tom Steiger

    Asking implies similar status and presumed future reciprocation. Begging implies disparate status and no reciprocation because the beggar doesn’t have anything you would want.

  • Madi Tutu

    What’s the difference between asking and begging?
    a whole or broken heart.
    when youre confident, you ask questions ever so freely wanting to know just to know.
    when you’re broken, you dont know what to do, where to go, who to turn to, you ask blindly and wildly for help and you dont know where to start, and doing such, you confuse who youre begging, and they take pity on your broken soul

  • Tom Steiger

    At first glance there appear to be two connotations to begging. The first implies abject, passive destitution, like the beggar in the street. But the second is an exhortation by a presumed equal. Basically using the leverage of your relationship to convince you to do something you normally wouldn’t: “C’mon! I’m begging you over here!” But the common thread in both of these definitions is desperation. Begging is a means of last resort, whereas asking is something that you do up front, after all, it never hurts to ask, right? Hence I would say that asking morphs into begging as desperation increases.

  • Vera Franco

    asking comes from a free and honouring place: you ask and you truly honour the person’s decision of a yes or no, hopefully without any judgement. Begging draws on a draining feeling of guilt, or emotional tension that makes it ever so slightly implicit that there’s a wrong somewhere, either in the worldview of the beggar or of the subject of the beggar, or of the system.

  • Sarah Bates

    This discussion has given me a realisation that almost all of my relationships are build on begging… Them begging me for their needs being met, me begging them for my needs being met… It’s all desperation and I’m fuelling it by begging back. There’s no asking happening here… It’s as if no one around me, including myself, actually expects anyone to give us our needs, so we feel we have to take take take. Instead of ask. Instead of… Give. I’ve been living in such a desperate world.

    So I guess my definition of begging is… Taking. Because even if you don’t get what you’re begging for, you still take something away from the person. And asking is giving. Because even if you don’t get what you asked for you’ve given that person something… You’ve given them the idea that they have something of worth that someone else wants. If you ask someone its expecting a win/win. If you beg… It’s asking the other person to loose so you can win.

    A lesson for my heart… I want to start asking from now on… And start giving others the message that asking is better than begging.

    Thankyou x

  • Christina Jade

    Begging is for when you have no other options and nothing left to lose.

  • Prenna

    I think the difference between asking and begging is one thing: Desperation. If the situation isn’t desperate you can ask for something and, while it may be something you really want, it’s not the end of the world if your request is not granted. When the situation is desperate you have no choice but to beg because, if your request is denied, disaster will ensue.

    Hmm….now I’m thinking of the old Burroughs quote: ““Desperation is the raw material of drastic change.”

    • Juniper Blue

      Love your added quote … something to think about. Revolution?

      • Prenna

        The whole quote is actually:
        “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape. ”

        It always gets me thinking. My favourite form of revolution is a revolution of the Self.

  • Mhoram Freeman

    I like a lot of the definitions that’ve been posted here already, but mine is simple enough: I don’t think there is a difference. It’s all external fluff, people “asking” rather than “begging” is simply a show of face to save pride. All asking IS begging. If you didn’t need to beg, you would not be asking. That’s how people are.

  • Ayla

    I think, when it comes down to it, asking is reaching out and seeing who will take your hand. Begging is clawing at people’s clothes, refusing to take no for an answer.

  • thekillerbunny

    I have to disagre with a lot of the statements. Many seem to think that begging is a manipulative act. I think begging comes from desperation, and generally involves a personal sense that you have lost the ability simply ask–that you have been dehumanized by need.

  • SitsUnderWaterfalls

    People are saying it’s about desperation, but I’ve always felt like it was about power, and a bit about expectation. A friend of mine recently found herself in a jam where her mom couldn’t co-sign for a student loan because of debt, so she was being forced to drop out of college if they couldn’t pay off the $2000 debt within a month or two. That’s a serious, kinda desperate situation. But when she was honest with us, her friends, about her situation, we were all cool with pitching in. We know if we were in a shithole, whether it’s financially or emotionally, she’d be there for us, you know? She’d have are backs. She has in the past. And we’re in the same boat more or less; we have to depend on each other. So it didn’t feel like she was begging us for help, it felt like a normal thing a friend asks for.

    Begging, I think, is when someone else is holding all the cards. If instead of going to us, she’d gone to the University board and tried to beg off, get an extension on the loan or get them to change the rules for her, they literally have zero incentive to do that; she would be appealing only to their mercy. Whereas with asking, you’re appealing to something else–love, or loyalty in friendship, or some future reward.

  • SitsUnderWaterfalls

    tl;dr answer: Begging appeals to mercy or pity, whereas asking appeals to love, loyalty, or a common goal.

  • SarahJane

    Asking is something you do when you can’t pay your phone bill and you need $50, but you’ll live without it
    Begging is something to do when the walls are closing and and you have no options left and pride is about as useful as a ball of fluff.

  • Juniper Blue

    I think that it is fine for anyone to ask for anything that they wish. We are free to say “No” when someone asks. Also, generously giving to something that gives one joy (like art), is generally affirming and empowering to all. EX: Thank you Amanda for letting me give you $5 because I feel that you have given me so much more in return! I feel happy to share what I have with you when I can. I need you more than a coffee today. :O)

    May I add, that when a person “begs/pleads” for non-essentials, the exchange is quite different. It is an undignified interaction because of its manipulative quality and this insincerity is often (rightfully) met with disdain/resentment.

    In a way, “begging” for something that one does not need is similar to lying and stealing … and to give to a (knowingly) deceitful person is not a generous act because the giver wishes to be relieved of their discomfort (more than they wish to really help that person). EX: Pushy questionable looking person approaches me on the street: “Here is $5, I don’t care if you buy Meth with that cash, just GO AWAY!” ( Uh, not so good.) I usually offer this type of person a sandwich and they usually decline the offer.

    So … don’t be SUCKER … but In contrast, refusing to share abundance with someone who is in true need is equally degrading to both the person in need and the person who refuses to show compassion/generosity. So don’t be an ASS either.

    Hmmmm … we are back to TRUST … I guess … and the difficult task of discernment/being wise with our giving. We only have so much in our pockets and it must go to the right causes.

    • Juniper Blue

      PS. Asking for something that one needs desperately, even if asking in a desperate manner is still “asking.”

      (It’s called hunger).

  • Killian

    The difference between asking and begging is where the responsibility lies.

    Asking puts the responsibility squarely on the “asker” and leaves it there. No matter what answer is given, it will be peacefully received. A “yes” will be genuinely given, and graciously received. A “no” will be genuinely and gently given, and received with understanding and no emotional repercussions. The “no” doesn’t alter the bond between the people because it doesn’t have any emotional baggage tied to it.

    Begging dumps the responsibility on the “askee”, and adds an extra helping of guilt on top. There is only one acceptable answer, and even if that answer is given, it has to be given in the right tone of voice as well. Because in begging, a “no” carries vast amounts of guilt, some self-loathing, and is received with resentment and petulance. A “yes”, when given in response to begging, is rarely given with genuine enthusiasm and love. It’s given to avoid a dramatic scene, or it’s given to just stop the grating whine of the begger. It’s tough not to let that show. So the “yes”, when given to a begger, needs to be tempered with a very careful, even tone, to avoid the guilt and petulance that a “no” would’ve gotten as well.


  • jasontank

    Asking is a conversation between equals. Begging is putting yourself down while raising the other person up, a situation that can make both parties feel uncomfortable.

  • asteroidfish

    Asking is sincerity with only a sliver of need, while begging is harsh, desperate, and wholly narcissistic. Asking is looking to another for help, while begging is moving your mouth, and scrunching your face to look helpless enough to get your way without any self-respect. But sometimes you have to.

  • DverWinter

    Asking comes from a position of having something to offer and needing help to bring it to fruition. Begging is when you have nothing to offer, and urgently need help anyway.

  • Dev L. Ish

    Different degrees of desperation. Begging implies a higher level of need.

  • yourfacelessdistraction

    I think begging makes you more vulnerable. When you ask someone something, you imply that you have other options. When you beg, you imply that they are your only chance.

  • octoberland

    Asking is for when you want something: it could be a literal thing or the truth or a lie or an opinion. Sometimes it’s ego driven. Sometimes it’s for the benefit of another. Begging is born of desperation. While sometimes necessary it can also be ugly. It can bring out the sides of us we normally lock away. And because of that it can push people away, it can cause them to judge us. I’ve found it’s always better to ask first if possible and save the begging for later because while begging may give you what you want it can also cause you to lose things that you love.

  • Martha Vázquez.


  • Hunter Dowell

    It’s the difference between loss and gain.

    When asking, you are potentially losing-
    When begging, you are potentially gaining-

  • Moog Chan

    I feel that begging is impersonal. It feels one-sided.
    “Can I have some change?” or “I need this so I can get things done.”

    Asking involves some sort of connection or recognition that you are interacting with another human being and noticing them and their ability to provide some assistance. It makes the person helping feel like a support beam or foundation instead of having strangers pickpocket them.
    “If you could spare some change that would help me a lot.” or “Your assistance/donation would help me with getting things done.”

  • travis ian branch

    You beg in a box & you ask in the open air, but they’re not mutually exclusive states.

    I’m trying to see the spectrum of it…

    A broken person, a shunned person might switch from begging to asking, to appeal to sympathies. Begging might be the more honest pursuit or expression in this regard.
    Candid people & confident people might express themselves more honestly, being plaintive & blunt in asking.

    Considering the question, I’m picturing two opposing bell curves overlapped with a line of desperation & a line of assuredness with asking and begging being the respective baselines. So a desperate person, or a person in or with real need begins genuinely asking and ends going through the motions of politely asking, and vice versa with the assured/comfortable line where a mockable need can arise, but only through trial and rejection does begging become real at the other end of the curve.
    I also see bargaining back-loaded and front-loaded between the two, respectively.

    Down the middle, to be fair, let’s draw a line for self-actualized folks or folks in trusting & open relationships where shame in privilege & shame in misfortune are irrelevant.

    This of course is all colored through my own experience & is fuck-all accurate, I’m sure. I’m pretty drunk & miserable, after all.

    Please, if anyone reads this, don’t be offended by my ignorance. This is me asking you.

    Posted with immediate regret…

  • Jodi

    Begging is needing. Asking is wanting.

  • Etta

    begging is human. it is desperate and passionate and a way of opening yourself to the world. Asking is a way of closing yourself off. It is precise, clear-cut, and a way to control what you don’t know.

  • Ashley Long

    I think the difference between asking and begging is, asking has a positive connotation whereas begging has a negative one. Asking seems more earnest and humble, and begging means you’re probably in big trouble. Asking is better than begging. I’m sure other people gave better answers.

  • Matt Shaw

    When you ask, its

  • ttys0

    Asking is an attempt to lift up oneself through the support of others. Begging is attempting to elevate others by lowering oneself.

  • zdusper

    Asking is communicating. Begging is ordering. Asking doesn’t transfer the emotional responsibility for the outcome to the one being asked. Begging does.

  • gaby

    asking is a sound. begging is a shot to the heart.

  • insignifikunt

    Begging = asking while emotionally blackmailing someone with a sob story

    Asking = giving someone the opportunity to say yes, or no

  • Tanya Speed

    I know I am a bit late to answer this question but I have to. Such a wonderful question. Asking is just that. Asking…. May I have a hug? Another cup of coffee? Can I make T-shirts for you? Would you like to donate to my art project? Will you help me get over my ex? Begging is an act of desperation not necessarily negative in nature but some chose to put a negative connotation on it. (Or begging can also be a sexually playful tease of fun if you do it in the right circumstance)… For the most part I believe it is better to ask than beg. Why? Because I have a hard time asking for things. I am trying to learn…and the times in my life that I have begged, I am ashamed of them….and with good cause should be. It was degrading to my soul and my self. Doesn’t mean that everyone that begs is degrading themselves. It is just a nasty tight rope to be on.

  • Redertainment

    The difference between asking and begging is not made in the mind of the person making the request, but rather in the mind of all the other people. By other people I mean in the mind of all the people being asked, the people who watched the request, the people who are told stories of the request, and so on, and so on. The delineation between asking and begging is made in the mind of all of the other people, and what makes the difference in the person’s opinion of the person making the request and what that person is requesting. Variety of opinions as to whether a person is asking or begging is expected, since, hopefully, we have a wide variety of people that we encounter in our lives.

  • pollmiff

    Asking is a polite way of telling someone you need what they have and really you dont know what the answer will be. Where as begging is a demand, or command that I need what you have and I have to have it.

  • Laura Gillespie

    For me, I suppose asking is when I’ve admitted to myself how desperate I am for help. Begging is when I admit it to everyone else. Neither are comfortable – are in fact much closer to terrifying. They both require trust and hope and not stubborn pride. I wish I had the courage and vulnerability to ask or beg for the things I want. I’m tired of settling.

  • Andrew Leeke

    Im not entirely sure there is a difference. Yes, the words themselves have different connotations; most would say that begging is more desperate and asking is more polite. But when it comes to the act itself, is it actually any different? I dont really think so.

    And then it comes down to context, namely WHO you are asking/begging. This has been on my mind recently. 3 weeks ago I was in Edinburgh, with a theatre show I was part of creating. This was partly funded by an Indiegogo campaign, and we also asked for donations after the show (it was a free kids show named Little Red.) We made £1500 via Indiegogo and £400 in donations over the 5 sold out performances.

    Most of the indiegogo money came from people we knew; family and friends who wanted to help our dreams happen. almost none of them saw the show itself, so the £400 came from a completely different set of people. Interestingly we made more money through being free and asking for donations than most ticketed shows in the same venue. Our logic was that people would give what they thought was fair, rather than what we wanted them to give. And we removed the risk of the show not being value for money, which is important to the average family at the worlds largest arts festival.

    I must admit I had reservations of asking for donations for an indiegogo funded show. But then I decided that if we are open about it, then people have the choice. Nobody is being forced into anything, and people judge value in different ways. Personally I struggle to see the value in anything I do, because i’m an artist and incredibly critical of my own work, but if others see it, i wont stop them from telling me so.

    Even after all of that, we didn’t make a profit. And everyone involved sacrificed a lot. some financially, others with their time. All of the money we got went on the show, and that’s something i’m proud of. People know what they paid for, they’ve already seen it.

    And at no point did it feel like “begging”, we were asking people to back our idea, and in return we would share it with them. that felt no different to how its traditionally done, we just messed with the order of things. As an artist, i just want people to see my work, and we got to play to sold out audiences.

  • Tauneel Mian

    When I was a child in Karachi, there was a beggar who used to come to
    our little apartment every week. He was an old man, and my grandmother
    always welcomed him to come sit inside the doorway. She gave him a plate
    of rice and daal, or whatever else she was cooking that day. I asked
    her why she fed him. She said, he comes and asks if I am willing to
    share some food. He doesn’t eat much and he blesses our house even when I
    have no food to give.

    She fed us children all the time, our
    constant begging for sweets, or a few paisa to buy crushed ice with
    syrup. Our requests were dripping with expectation and disappointment.
    As children we were
    constantly in the act of negotiation and
    manipulation to get the bigger biscuit, the sweeter mango, the most
    money for an ice cream cone. Every time she gave to us it was out of
    exasperation to get us to leave her alone.

    Feeding this beggar every week, was the only time I saw my grandmother stop, take a breath and enjoy the act of giving.

    believe that we were the true beggars of the house. And he, the beggar,
    was giving her the freedom to choose to give by his asking.

    • Steph

      Wow this is one of the best answers I’ve seen! x

  • Amynoamy

    I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now. I think that the difference between asking and begging comes down to the perception of the person on the receiving end of the question. We all see things through the filter of our own experiences and feelings. For me someone begging for something makes me feel guilty, like if I don’t help them something really terrible will happen to them. If someone asks me, it gives me choice over my response and I’m much more likely to help if I can.

    So for me the difference between asking and begging, depends on the context of the question, how it’s asked, how I hear the question and how much choice I have over my response. So this being the case, anyone should feel free to ask when they want or need something, and understand that everyone will hear the question differently and their responses are their individual responsibility, and not the responsibility of the person asking the question. Hope that makes sense.

  • LaniLaniDuck

    For me, asking is what I should have done before begging was all I had left. Asking is hard. Begging is awful.

  • Orla-Jo

    The difference between begging and asking isn’t really in the question but the person you’re asking it to. You should never have to really beg someone who loves you for something important. That should always be asking because they should be supportive and feel like they’re on your side.

    Because it’s people’s attitude towards you makes you feel like you’re asking or begging. Sometimes people act like you shouldn’t ask for help, that you should do thing by yourself and that can bring on the begging feeling.

    And this is multiplied if you’re asking people you don’t even know for help. Asking them can feel like trying to hail taxis in the rain and the more taxis that just speed by splashing puddles at you, the more humiliating it makes it to put your arm out for the next one.

    It’s a matter of perception.

  • pointlesshero

    you ask because you need some help, like you are standing on the crossroad and you need help which one road you should choose. you can do it yourself but you want to hear someone else. but you beg when you are lost, don’t know where you are, there isn’t any road, any crossroad. you need someone’s hand to take you back on your path. you are desperate, feeling hopeless and you can’t stand it.

  • Ruben Suarez

    When someone begs, he’s trying to bend the other person’s will to his own, into making him give him what he wants. A common technique is to do whatever necessary to get it, even at the cost of one’s dignity. When begging, you can make the other person feelguilty and give you what in normal circumstances he wouldn’t

  • Maddie Grant

    Asking – that’d be nice.
    Begging – sense of entitlement?

    That is what popped in initially, but if you’re not getting help by asking, when does it click over to begging?

    When does begging stop, become resignation?

    When can you ask, who can you ask? Do you ask when you would like an answer, or when you don’t want an answer, but still need to hear what you’re fearing?

    AFP, great question.

  • James C

    Asking is an exchange between equals. Begging is from a place of subservience. To ask infers a potential of reciprocity – you ask a peer for help, and are available to help that peer in the future. Begging lacks direct reciprocity – at worst, your gift is never returned; at best, you are paying it forward.

  • kubicovakarol

    I think this is about state of mind. Begging is for me more like than I dont deserve anything better, asking is for me more like let´s make a step forward.

    And I wanted to tell you. I almost cried when I was reading this blog. It was kind of sadness in it. Want to say: sending you love.

  • Elana Carleton

    I’m leaving another message because I’m noticing something.. many of the responses seem to be centered around judging one of these as good and the other as bad.. I just don’t see it that way.. perhaps there are times when an individual “begs” not from need but from the desire to manipulate others.. but this isn’t really begging then, it’s manipulating.. also, there are often times when begging is mistakenly interpreted as manipulation, but the beggar is sincere (this is sad, not to be seen is always sad).. in my view, when someone is truly in need and actually begs as a result of this need then it’s human and natural and can’t be a bad thing for them to beg.. for example, if you’re starving and watching your baby suffer as he starves with you, then of course you will beg.. you will do whatever you possibly can in order to save your and your child’s lives and that is not a bad thing.. it’s what it is to be human, to be alive, and to embrace life.. when there is sincerity and a real need I feel that to ask is brave and to beg is very brave… perhaps the real difference between asking and begging is the nature of the situation.. when one asks one can clearly survive without assistance.. when one begs one may be facing death without assistance

  • Christina Marvel

    Asking is collaborative. It’s an exchange of some sort, like “you help me and I help you” or “can you collaborate on this with me and I can collaborate on something you need” or “hey, I really need help on this, what can I give you in exchange??”. We ask for work, we ask for promotions, we “ask” for a kiss that we certainly give back just as much passion as we get.

    Begging is usually only one sided. It’s desperate and needy. Begging is like “I just need this and I don’t care how this effects you” or it’s like “I need this. Period.” Begging does not lend to collaboration. You beg for money, you don’t beg for a job. You beg to show others that you are so desperate that the only thing you can give anyone else is the satisfaction that they are a good person and gave to someone in need.

    I don’t think that both of them are bad…it’s just that they have their place and they draw different types of people.

    **My husband pitched in, while I was reading him my response, and said ,”Asking is where the potential giver will receive an emotion that they want whilst begging, the potential giver will be relieved of an emotion that they do not want.”

  • Lysambre

    The difference between asking and begging is the difference between life and death.

    Begging is when it’s a matter of life or death (“please [insert deity], save my child/spouse/friend/pet”), begging is when there is no other choice left, begging is when you are at your lowest and probably nothing can get you back up, begging is being willing to give almost anything in exchange. Begging is all about the rawest emotions possible.

    Asking is less about an emergency. If you are asking, then it means you’ve got the time to wait for an answer (positive or not). Asking is working with others toward a common goal. Asking is less visceral and more intellectual.

  • Inkedbettie

    I was watching a documentary on Tupac this morning and this piece made me think about your TED talk and also this question, and the ramifications for ignoring those that ask –

  • Katherine

    Asking is hope. Begging is the absence of it.

  • sometiems_kate

    you ask when you can be refused, you beg when you can’t

  • kevdog

    In the most positive sense, begging is asking with desperation. In it’s most pejorative, begging is what asking for what other people think you should not be asking for.

    Asking is just that, without qualification or equivocation. But it’s also an excuse for stepping over the line, “Hey, I was just asking if I could fuck your girlfriend. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

  • James Polk

    Asking is polite, generally. People who ask are probably going to survive or treat you relatively the same if you don’t answer or give what they want.
    Begging is more carnivorous. Desperation is often implied in the meaning. They might need this thing for survival. And if you don’t comply the relationship you have with them will likely die.. if they don’t physically die.

  • Evelyn

    The difference between asking and begging for the person involved is key – to ask is to feel that there are other options available to you should the person say no. To beg is to feel that there is no other option than the help that this person can offer you. The freedom of the person being asked or begged remains the same, and it is always their choice whether they help you or not. (That is without taking love into the equation, and being compelled to help no matter what the cost – but that is another subject entirely on what freedom is retained in love)
    But I feel that, in the right space of mind, one could avoid the fear induced adrenaline of begging in most of their problems, and to that end allow themselves and the person being asked the freedom that is severed when begging. But then there is a loss of passion or self-conviction, and so in a way asking and begging are two parts of how we experience life. Some are calm, calculated and self-aware; others are chaotic and vivacious falls headfirst into the innermost, unstoppable, emotional currents of our being. Both are vital, in my mind.

  • Lola Bang

    Asking happens the first time, begging is desperately trying to be heard afterwards.

  • Baron Schaaf

    Begging is prostration. It lifts the one being begged to a position of power. In this small little exchange they are pharaoh and the supplicant allows the demonstration of virtue. It enhances the beggar with morsels of manna, and the pharaoh more assurance as to his rightful place of privilege.

    Asking is an exchange among equals, and invitation to common goals.

  • Ashley M. Pérez

    The difference between asking and begging lies in how guilty the other person feels when they want to say no.

  • miserichik

    Asking is allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
    Begging is already being desperate.

  • Rebecca Kay

    Asking for help seems hard because we do not actually need help – we are not helpless. You are not helpless – we *can* honestly ask for support which is very different because we do not even need it, and support still puts responsibility squarely in our hands and not in the hands of others. This is also the difference between asking and begging: Asking; you are not attached to the result. You 100% trust in your ability to create what you need/want regardless of whether someone supports you or not. Begging; you are DEPENDENT on the result. Acting from fear, begging is rooted in the belief that someone else – and more importantly NOT YOU – has what you need, and the only way to get it is to convince them to give it to you. Ever working from a place of lack when you are the source of all creation in your experience of existing/of the world will always be “begging” in some form. When we choose to be conscious of the fact that we “need” nothing, that every “need”, “should”, or “must” is just a story, then we can ask instead of beg.

  • Lex

    If I ask and you say no, it’s okay. If I beg and you say no, I fall apart.

  • Regina L.

    The difference between asking and begging, in my opinion, has to do with how the ask-er views the role of the ask-ed. Are they a potential resource or a savior? Are they inherently involved from the point the question is asked, or the point that they agree to help?

    With asking, there is a small amount of power transferred about the situation: the one asked has the power to answer, ignore, help, pass, delegate, etc. and the ask-er in some measure recognizes that this is inherent to the art of asking. The person asking is inherently agreeing to be okay (perhaps not always happy) with whatever the answer is. The person asked is a potential resource, and only involved if they agree to become involved.

    With begging, responsibility is what is transferred. The person begging is saying, “I can’t do this thing, and I’m turning to you. Now you’re complicit in the problem if you say no.” The person begged is a savior figure and is involved from the point they are presented the question.

    I find this whole prompt incredibly fascinating, and have one more scenario to add to the discussion: As a band director in the public schools, we do a lot of money raising that essentially comes down to “crowd-finding” within our communities. However, I have never encountered anyone who would categorize these activities as “begging”. They call it “fundraising”. School bands in my part of the world go door-to-door early in the season asking people to donate in order for the program to achieve some specific goal: buy new uniforms, go on an expensive trip, buy more instruments, etc. Here is an example of going door-to-door that isn’t seen as begging. We are asking the community to get in on the ground floor, to support before the product can be shown – to show support for our program if it is something that they value in their community. Crowd-funding.
    So, follow up question for the ethos: why should a professional artist doing the same thing any different than a student ensemble?

  • Karan

    Begging either comes from one’s own discomfort or plans to make others uncomfortable. Asking requires the courage to accept whatever answer is given, and be comfortable with it.

  • Kenneth Eaton

    With begging there is an attempt by the requestor to tie an emotional or moral burden to the refusal of the request. With asking the requestee can say ‘no’ without further entanglement but with begging requestee either feels ‘bad’ or is expected to feel bad for having refused.

  • Sylvia Payne

    From reading about nonviolent communication (developed by Marshall Rosenberg), I’ve learned that many people confuse a strategy with a need. When I say, “I need you to love me” what I’m really saying is, “I need security and love (or other needs), and I want you to fill these needs for me by showing or saying you love me.” In other words, my strategy for meeting these underlying needs is to have you, and only you, satisfy them. The problem with confusing a strategy with a need is fairly obvious. Many people fail to see that they are making a request and become devastated when their begging behavior does not result in having their needs met. This self-imposed devastation can make things worse than the denial itself. The devastation can also limit our ability to get back to solving our original problem (looking for love elsewhere, for instance). But all we can really do is make a request; otherwise, we are attempting to exert power over others which is a form of violence. People are not vending machines (insert a reward or a punishment and you get your needs met).

  • Chloe Trammel

    I think this is a really good question, AFP. I love words and their meanings, and this was an interesting exercise to think of the difference between these two words as I see it.

    About the word “begging”…I don’t think it necessarily has to have a negative connotation, to asking’s rather simple or neutral connotation in comparison. And here’s why…

    Googling produces this definition for “beg”: “To ask earnestly or humbly for something”, synonymous with words like “entreat”, “plead”, “appeal”, etc. These are words I normally think of when one is trying to convey sincerity to the person they’re asking, or to convey that it is of a more urgent importance to you than usual that the request be fulfilled.


    “I asked her for money” vs “I begged her for money”

    “I asked him to stop” vs “I begged him to stop”

    “I asked for forgiveness” vs “I begged for forgiveness”

    I suppose how we perceive the word “begged” in these sentences all depends on how we perceive the motives of the “beggar”.

    I think people see “begging” as “soliciting” when the motive behind the request seems insincere or misaligned — if they view “the beggar” as underserving of the request they’re making. In the creative world, it seems that this is especially the case if the request is for things that sustain: inspiration, acceptance, stability, support, opportunity, sustenance, money.

    With this opinion in mind, here’s how I think I would answer your original question:

    Asking is making a request.

    Begging is asking with a deeper intent.

    To determine whether or not it is “right” or “wrong” to beg, I think that the intent should be identified and considered in its context.

    Anyways, that’s what I think. I love reading everyone else’s thoughts…people are awesome!

  • Graceingravity

    Asking is vulnerable enough. It leaves you open. Begging is so deeply exposing and beautiful and intimate. So much so that it would cause me too much pain right now to beg. For anything. I don’t feel worthy to beg. I hardly feel worthy to ask.

  • Kat Steiner

    Asking is laying your cards out on the table: telling people what you want or need, and why. It’s not about them, it’s about you. You can tailor it to them, make it relevant, and more likely they’ll listen, but you’re not playing them for it. You’re putting yourself out there and asking them to assess for themselves.

    Begging is pulling at someone’s clothes to make them listen. It’s about them, making them listen, making them feel a certain way, trying to get them to give you what you want or need. It’s not about honesty or openness, it’s about getting what you want or need, by whatever method works.

  • thesebrightlights

    Asking is about humility, whereas begging is about desperation.

  • Annie Sikander

    Asking is about humility, whereas begging is about desperation.

  • Ellen S

    I haven’t read all the comments so I apologize if my reply is redundant.

    Here’s how I see it. Asking = you, the asker, feels worthy enough TO ask. You have an idea about your preferred response. But if you don’t get it, you won’t make it about you.

    Begging = you, the beggar, is hinging your self-worth on the fulfillment of the begged for thing. Not getting proves what you suspect, that you of little value. It’s not true, of course. That’s just the dice you roll when you put your well being into anyone else’s hands but your own.

    Caveat: There are times, during a particularly hot love making session perhaps, when you might beg someone to do that certain thing that makes you wet. You feel powerful enough in your own self to put yourself in that position of vulnerability.

    My two cents.

  • Kompanier

    The difference between asking and begging is the difference between hope and desperation.

  • Sanne Roemen

    Sometimes asking is actually giving. A chance to be of help. Meaningful. Some questions are hard to distinguish from gifts. Begging is never that.

  • Kelly Adlington

    Begging is asking when you have no other alternative. You’re desperate for something and are very vulnerable because of it. Asking is requesting…hoping for the response you want but not made a victim by it.

  • The Rebecca Project

    Asking is to one person or select people, informed with a background in trust. There is already an established give and take. Begging could be to anyone under any circumstance. For example, I am currently living with a friend, because she knew my family was having troubles and so she had previously offered “If there is any way I can help…” And so after much soul searching and discussion, I asked her “Can I live with you for a short while until we can find a place?” She said yes without hesitation. It is a big question to ask someone to house a whole adult person for any extended time. Even bigger that she has a family and small children of her own. Her extending help to me would be an imposition to her life and routine. If she had said “No,” I would have accepted that answer. If she had said no and I retaliated with a “But you said…” or “We have no other options…” that, I feel would have veered into begging. Let me clarify, there is a time and place for begging. This concept has far to much of a negative connotation in our society. That being said there is also a very strong need for asking. We don’t ask enough. And when help is offered the fear is that it is a weakness to accept help. We all need it at times. To me the difference is trust and acceptance of the answer given.

  • mark stone

    If your genuinely asking you don’t get mad if your turned down, if you beg your trying to take the choice away from them. I think in real need begging can be appropriate though to have to do so can be a real bad karma for yourself and those involved, however far away.

  • Mattie Omega

    Asking is the beginning of a request; begging is the end.

  • Molly Katheryn

    When you ask, you already know the answer based on the person you are asking; when you beg, you are bare, and cold, and without direction (and maybe even, without hope).

  • Marzipans11


  • Ruthie Whalen

    Asking implies a choice–that the person you are asking is equally free to say yes or no to your request. Begging leaves no room for choice. Begging, to me, implies you have backed someone into a corner and they feel obligated to say yes either out of fear or pity.

  • Kimberly Santini

    Asking is being vulnerable to the possibility the askee may say no, and confronting the asker’s fear of rejection. Begging comes from desperation – the fear of rejection is much smaller than the need – and the beggar’s success hinges on the other party’s compassion.

  • Alex

    Asking is collaborative, begging is subsistence.

    You can ask from a position of strength and need at the same time. You are saying “I can survive without doing this thing I want… But I would rather Live and create it and I think it is a cool thing and would you like to help and be involved in bringing it into reality?”

    Begging is “Without your assistance, the current situation will become worse. I need help to even maintain the status quo. I am not even hoping to actually improve matters beyond where they are now or add anything new and positive to the world at this stage”

    So asking is “potentially additive” and begging is “potebntially averting further decay”

  • Amelia Flux

    The difference in asking and begging is a difficult question but not an impossible one to answer. Asking is when you recognize you need help and you need others to help you get somewhere. But, if they don’t help you, you know in your mind that someone else will be there to help and that you can continue you on with whatever you’re doing. It’s not an effortless plight. Begging is when you feel in your mind that you cannot do whatever it is you are begging for on your own/having no hope there is anyone else who is willing to help you. When you are asking for something, you are putting trust in YOURSELF to get the job done no matter what. When you beg, you have no trust in yourself to complete the job no matter what.

  • damaia

    If you’re going to write a book, you may (I say may, not will) need to learn to use the shift key. Fair warning.

  • Travis

    Asking implies that your help has a purpose, and you know what you need and why.
    Begging is so associated with desperation in my head, it’s about asking for anything so you don’t die.

    You don’t beg someone to grab the book you can’t reach, and don’t ask someone to come the concert when there’s no one else to ask.

  • francesco

    When you ask, you can give back, when you beg, you cannot.

  • 50ftqueenie

    Hi Amanda. Your question reminded me of someone I used to be friends with. I’d like to tell you a story about her.

    She’s an artist. A performance artist. She decided that being an artist meant that
    she didn’t have to, should never have to, work for The Man. She derided anyone
    who did work for The Man, declaring loudly that she could never do that.

    Instead, she asked for loans of large sums of money. Loans that were never paid back. When she realized that more money was not going to be forthcoming, she started asking to borrow computers and cameras and other things that she needed to create her art. Things that she couldn’t afford to buy herself because she refused to work for The Man. But it was apparently A-OK for her friends to do work that she considered to be beneath her so that they would provide her with equipment. Equipment that, once she borrowed, she returned only under duress and with much bitching.

    When you ask, Amanda, you also promise something in return.

    “Trust me, invest in me, and I will give you something beautiful in return. I will work hard and I will honour your investment.”

    My ex-friend promised nothing, gave nothing. All she did was demand and take, and complain that it wasn’t enough. She tainted the art of asking with the poison of her greed.

  • Shalora

    One thought I have on this is that it’s also in how you phrase the question. If you just ask, or if you must preface it then if you give it a *short* preface (mine is often “I assume not, but I just wanted to see if…”), that’s asking. If you spend several minutes going on about how you have no right to ask and you’re probably being needy and you’re probably just bothering the other person and it’s going to be so hard for them to do it and you don’t want them to get mad at you and… on and on and on like that, then it’s already begging, even if it’s the first time you ask. To my mind, that shows two things:

    1) That you don’t value yourself or your needs, and
    2) That you cannot deal with a no, since you are couching it SO hard. Because all of those caveats are followed by “but…”. “I know this is probably too much to ask, but…”. The actual end to that statement? “But I really, really need it!”. It’s thinly-veiled begging, according to how I see it.

  • Kerobeo

    The things, I know when it comes to this question.. I always wonder, Why no one in my life ever ask me for things… So I always have to come up and ask or approach them in some way. As you said, it is hard to ask because :

    1) you don’t know, what do you really need/want..? (possibly)
    2) I don’t know what they want..and need

    its the very thing, when.. things can be a bit small or big.. but can be never be the same..

    Money for me always take things for granted.. but without money, where will you go,how can you get there, what did you do today, why do you need the money, how can you support you and others, what can you do to make up to them, is just those questions…

    Though begging, I see many.. homeless with hands out,hat open, usually with signs, and pets like dogs.
    Is not that we everyday would.. want to ignore.. but its the society.. that people are overpopulating..or lost their jobs.. but you know, sometimes in your mind you have to say.. you can’t feel pity for them.. or feel bad cause of that..

    But if i have to try and connect them in other way, I would love to.. know who they are and at least be a friend..

    I often thought a lot, so I even want to state my age here and my other randoms..
    Just decided to keep it to my self because this is a topic between begging and asking

  • Steele Riley Saldutti

    As a fellow musician about to embark on the up and down roller coaster of a kickstarter project this rings close and true to me. Reading through the comments it does resonate that the difference does lie in the heart of the asker AND giver and that everything can be totally different based on the frame of reference. Thank you so much for inspiring. You inspire me to want to inspire others. Thanks AFP!!!

  • Stephanie Bartley

    I believe the act of asking and begging can be the same
    thing, they are however, differentiated by the perception of the giver. If the
    giver considers the relationship between the giver and receiver to be
    charitable, then it can be defined as begging, BUT, if the giver considers the
    relationship an exchange then it is no longer begging, but simply asking. Fuck
    the haters, for it is their own perceptions making them hate.

    Most of the previous contributions have focused on the emotional
    connotation associated with asking and begging. I agree with these sentiments however,
    given the dictionary difference hinges on charity (that is asking is to make a
    request and begging is requesting charity), I think we need to consider our
    (being societies) perception of charity. The way I have considered charity is
    the giving of something for nothing, purely for the receivers benefit. My
    father considers money to be the “be all and end all” (an accountant…may explain
    something, although he did lose the family home on three separate occasions on
    the stock market…but that’s an entire other story) and considers most artists
    to be beggars, he cannot see any value in the art/entertainment/etc. being
    provided to him and therefore cannot fathom why he would pay for it. He
    considers the outgoing (i.e. his money) to be a big something for what he
    considers nothing, and therefore qualifies as charity. Conversely, I enjoy art
    of many forms and believe it needs to be supported. I am a scientist and do not
    pin my self worth on how much money I have in the bank (if I did, I wouldn’t
    have chosen to be a scientist), don’t get me wrong, money is nice but if I need
    more money, I’ll get another job (again this is a whole other discussion). Therefore
    my perception is that the outgoing is a small something in exchange for the
    something I’m receiving in return and therefore I do not consider it to be
    charity at all.

    This same analysis can be applied to someone asking for the
    time. The time is a widely available fact, most people carry a watch or phone,
    it does not cost the giver anything more than a couple of seconds to convey the
    information and consequently someone may have to ask several people for the
    time, but I doubt any one of them would consider the asker a beggar because as
    a society (in general, most of us, I hope) consider this request to be
    immaterial, a nothing for nothing type relationship. The more valuable the request
    the easier it is to be perceived as a charitable request and therefore begging.

  • Lisa-Marie Mueller

    I might be a little late, hopefully that’s okay…
    Asking is “please” and begging is “thank you.” Asking is a hope, begging is an expectation (from someone else or even yourself). I used to be a beggar and I didn’t even realize at the time that I was; that’s the most terrifying part. I was such an emotionally manipulative narcissist that I didn’t even realize how much I took for granted. I wasn’t even asking; I was stealing.

  • Ivy

    Asking comes from a place of trust. Begging comes from a place of desperation.

  • Joe Manikin

    Fear.Power.Alone.Numb.Death. = difference. From my limited perspective.

  • Danielle Carey

    I think that asking is an invitation to partnership, whereas begging is an invitation to give someone authority and ownership of you.

  • lcp

    I’ve not read each and every comment, and I know I’m late to the party, but even in case I repeat someone else’s opinion, I want to leave mine here:

    For me, asking is something where you plan to, or are ready to, either pay back later or give something yourself in return (now or later). It doesn’t even need to be the same thing, or amount, or anything measurable at all.
    For example, on kickstarter you are asking people to front the production of your album. Later, people get the album, or you at their party, or whatever package they purchased.
    Or you ask a friend to be there for you in a difficult situation and help you out. Said friend gets back your friendship, your gratitude, and the knowledge that you will, if at all possible, be there for them to help them out, may they ever be in a hard place themselves.
    Or you ask your hubby to put up with the more difficult traits of your personality, when in turn it is your pleasure to keep up with his.
    Or you ask the next stranger to lend you their phone for a quick call when yours breaks down and in turn you would willingly hand over yours to somebody who needs it to call a cab home some other day (paying forward).
    Or you ask a person (friend, aquaintance or stranger, doesn’t really matter) for a hug when you are in tears over something, and pay it back with a hopeful little smile.

    Begging, on the other hand, is expecting people to give you something without you ever having any intention to pay back, or forward, in any way or form.

  • Jair

    You ask for the things that keep you human. You beg for the things that keep you breathing. Sometimes, you just don’t at all.

  • Hannah Gogirl

    Either way, does it matter? Its just language. You’re still requesting the help of others, strangers. In your case it was financial help. You’re married to a millionaire, and under the circumstances I found that difficult to swallow or forgive, even before the ‘play for no pay’ scandal. In your position, I could not have asked strangers to fund my artistic endeavours, while my partner was financially able to. Kickstarter, in my eyes, is for struggling and impoverished artists, you my dear were neither.

  • Lauren Juliette Ings

    Asking is opening your chest, showing someone your beating heart and saying “I trust you”.
    Begging is ripping out your heart and degrading yourself because you deem it necessary.

  • PTodd

    You ask an equal; you beg a superior. Or so it seems. But begging is also strategic: it negates the possibility of decision making, or at least unscathed decision making. If you are asked for a favour by an equal, the possibility of refusing the request exists without character assassination. Your friend will be unhappy, at least for awhile, but your right to choose remains intact, as should the equality. Begging is much different. The beggar is so vulnerable, or gives that appearance. The act of begging is to cast oneself as inferior to and more desperate than the one being begged. The need of the beggar is inherently framed to be so extreme that there is no room for the needs of the person being begged — and their choice in the matter (at least without social and emotional repercussions) is greatly diminished. Little room remains for the autonomy of s/he being begged. There is only the begging and its inherent profundity; no one would beg if there were an alternative, right? So, you have no way of elegantly escaping the beggar: if you do not agree to the demand (the possibility of it being a mere request disappeared when the free will inherent in an ‘ask’ is sucked out by the perceived poignancy of the ‘beg’), you will look bad and, perhaps, be bad. Even if your denial of the beggar is based on philosophical, ethical or economic realities, the chances are that you will appear to be turning a cold heart to a desperate circumstance — to a much greater extent than had you been asked. It is easier therefore to be asked and refuse, than to say no to the beggar. This is why so many hearts are broken all round. PTodd

  • Embot

    Asking seems more of a partnership between the “asker” and the “askee”, you are looking for participation in something, be it a project you need help with, a problem needing solving, etc. There is usually a reason WHY you are asking someone (likely even specifically that person) for something.

    Begging comes with automatically more negative connotation – NEED. People often see need as a weakness.

  • Tobias T. Teh

    My dad used to tell me that a best friend is someone you’d drop everything to help if he asked for it. I’ve risked my life twice for my best friend now without him even asking. I’ve also begged my ex-fiancee not to leave, knowing full well she’d do it anyway.

    In both cases I’ve trusted these people with my life. One never took it for granted, and the other one didn’t care.

    There’s another saying that goes something like “if you have to beg for love, it’s not really love”, so I suppose in begging, there’s a power struggle between the beggar and the beg-ee, the beggar being in total mercy to the charity of the beg-ee, who totally does not have to, or is not even thinking about being charitable at all. And if you’re in that situation, chances are its really, really fucking unhealthy. One side is so wretched it has no power to improve its own situation and can only hope for the other person, while the other side might have a lot more power than he or she is capable or mature enough or caring enough to handle.

    When you ask someone, someone you truly trust, you know you can lay naked and vulnerable to that person and be certain that he or she is willing to do the same for you (there’s the old chestnut of who you would trust with naked pictures of you). There’s no power struggle. There’s no struggle, period. It’s just something you do because you love and care for each other until you don’t need words to prove it, especially to each other.

    When you beg, there is no love, there is no connection. It’s a transaction. It’s cold. It’s brutal. Nobody cares in that relationship. Nobody trusts in that relationship (Is that bum gonna buy drugs with my money?)

    That’s my rambling two-cents anyway.

  • Foots

    Asking suggests a relationship … or the willingness to be in a relationship with the giver. Begging is all about you, no relationship with the giver is required or wanted.

  • kamellie

    when you ask, you are curious and expecting an answer, maybe even more answers; when you beg, you beg for the one answer you already know and so desperately need.

    asking you don´t mind. but begging, you lose a part of yourself.

  • Lucy

    After 757 comments, I am not sure this will ever be read, but I think at least one shade of difference between asking and begging is that begging gives the other person responsibility for the outcome, (and power over you) whereas asking leaves that with you.

  • KirraQ

    Brilliant question to look into!
    Asking means you need some help.
    Begging means you are in desperate need of something.

  • Jeffery Maxwell Rawson

    The one word answer “Obligation”.
    Then it gets complicated. It gets complicated because of who you are,where you are, what you are and what you want. It gets complicated by needs versus wants and the varying degrees of Need right down to the life threatening point of existence. It’s complicated by the moral or ethical code you were raised with and any degree of Faith based theology…And then it gets complicated because it can be seen as a Choice…Many of the answers and comments seem to hinge on Surrender, even the most poetic. Hunger isn’t a choice it is a need.

  • Gabe Green

    asking and begging, similar, but with very different connotations and interpretations. i think the problem people had with you asking, is that they see asking and begging as interchangeable, and, both in this case negative. these big time news outlets, or anonymous haters, they did not feel the love, the inspiration, the artistry, and the talent you have and give to us, the fanbase, and in exchange, they did not understand that because you give so much, you ask, and receive. if you were without such a strong fanbase, then i would say that you were thirsty, and were begging, but because we got something out of it, it became different, you asked, and we responded. i know that doesn’t completely answer the question, of their difference. but as a fan, this is how i see it as applied to you

  • EllenAnon

    When you ask you can deal with the answer not being the one you want. When you beg you only want the answer you were looking for, if the answer is different it’s not worth thinking about

  • Chris August

    Asking is art; begging is pornography.

  • Jennifer Otto- Lahr

    Asking comes from a place of confidence. You may not get your answer, but your ok with that. Begging comes from desperation. Perhaps you have lost a little in the process. Lost your mind, self, hope, pride etc etc. I may be late to the party i just wanted to share. All the others views were fun to read as well

  • Wilder Penfield

    Asking v. Begging is like your distinction between Empathy v. Sympathy (or mine between cats v. dogs).

    Successful asking requires generating empathy (intelligent connection, shared understanding, liking [subway station musicians], or admiration [cats]) … unless you are in a Buddhist cultural context that makes begging a respectable spiritual form of asking, and rewards alms-giving with ‘merit’.

    Effctive begging requires the DNA of dogs, or some theatre that will inspire a flow of sympathy. On my first sight of Delhi’s streets of desperation, the legless (mutilated?) children on skateboards made the difference personal for me. I felt hopeless, useless, lost … until I found a few less-unlucky children I could ask for help (finding a good vegetarian thali, and ordering it for all of us, and talking with them, while we ate, about what would make a difference in their lives, which turned out to be books, which they went with me and haggled for until ‘I’ got a good price.)

  • Steph B

    Begging is a form of pleading that comes from desperation, and smells of selfish need. Not necessarily because one is normally selfish, but because circumstances and desperation have forced one to ask from a selfish perspective.
    Asking is the opposite. It is selfless. Asking is open-minded and says: “I want to listen to you, to take your advice, to consider different options.”
    If I ask you for help, you would ask me back “How can I help you”? If i beg you for help – maybe you won’t know how to help me because I’m so desperate I can’t tell you what I need.
    Asking is proactive and everything is possible; It is the beginning. Begging is subjective and one-directional; a specific want or need.
    I learnt to ask last year, just before I needed to start begging. Sometimes it takes personal crisis to realise that you don’t ask enough. I realised I didn’t ask things of others because I should know the answers! Or, that asking is weak and I’m supposed to be strong and independent. But asking freed my mind – especially asking for help. Because we don’t each have all the answers and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to either.

  • Normandy Helmer

    True begging is based in fear, a subordinate approaching power, abased, with few or no options if denied. Asking can retain self-respect and be inclusive and community-building. Asking is an invitation that can be declined. Asking can be welcoming and empowering.

  • Annie Levitt

    It seems to me that you have to think about the power dynamic between asking and begging if you’re going to think about the differences between the two.
    In short – I think begging involves an unequal power exchange, whereas asking is coming from a place of equal power.
    More in depth – Asking involves two or more people that are equal, and everyone involved can weigh in on what the other is asking for. Begging, in my mind, is all about inequality.
    To beg implies that the person or persons you are begging from have more resources than you do – and I mean economic resources as well as emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, etc.
    This might be why we see people experiencing homelessness on the street asking for help as “beggars,” since there is a societal belief that if you are homeless, you are worth less than those of us with the means for stable housing.

  • Freddie Rochez

    You ask in the knowledge that you might not get what you want. You beg in the fear that you might not get what you need.

  • Mark Goodman

    People usually beg when they need money. Asking usually involves a question from some curious person.

  • Ashley

    I feel like, in common parlance, asking = a peer to peer, possibly mutually beneficial proposal. It’s a good, nice, polite thing. Begging = bad. Just bad. Desperate, charity-needing, get your life together, bad.

    Thing is, I disagree with that. I think begging implies more of an urgency, but why would a more urgent need of something from someone be a bad thing, where as an “exclusive proposal” is an acceptable thing? If you look at the dictionary definitions, begging is just enhanced asking.

    Why has the idea of begging then become culturally unacceptable?


    1 [ reporting verb ] say something in order to obtain an answer or some information : [with clause ] he asked if she wanted coffee | he asked whether his electric wheelchair would fit through their doors | [ trans. ] people are always asking questions | [with direct speech ] “How much further?” I asked| [ intrans. ] the old man asked about her job.• [ intrans. ] ( ask around) talk to various people in order to find something out : there are fine meals to be had if you ask

    1 [ reporting verb ] ask (someone) earnestly or humbly for something : [trans. ] a leper begged Jesus for help | [ trans. ] she begged me to say nothing toher father | [ intrans. ] I must beg of you not to act impulsively.• ask for (something) earnestly or humbly : he begged their forgiveness |

  • Margowonderland

    It’s a little late but whatever, just discovered your blog.

    I think asking means you aknowledge that you need help for something and you are not ashamed of that, so you can ask. When you ask for something, it may not be something.

    Begging is when you NEED something, and you ask for it. It could be life or death and you do whatever it takes to get it. Now, if you beg for something you don’t need, the meaning of begging is lost. It transforms onto something shamefull, punished by some.

    Anyways, I truly believe that whenever you interact with other people, you receive something in change, maybe not what you are waiting for, but you do.

    Sorry my english, it is not my native language.

  • Bailey

    Whenever I am asking I almost always feel like I am begging.
    I personally have a tendency to be aggressive rather than ask and when I get to the point of asking I (again) feel like I am begging.

  • Caitlin Nomhle Van Dyk

    When I ask, I am asking someone. When I beg, I am begging something.

  • Bonnie

    I feel like the dichotomy of asking versus begging depends a lot on how stubborn the person doing the action is. While asking is easier to some people, and more acceptable to some people, others might consider it debasing. One person’s ask can be another person’s beg, and vice versa.

    Moreover, perhaps there’s something about the idea of asking that seems, as others have said, to be on a much more equal level, almost as though you have something to offer in return, even if it isn’t available at the present. Asking for a loan from your parents versus begging for money that you know you might not be able to return. Another example might be asking for donations for street art (busking, painting caricatures, being a human statue, etc) versus literal begging in the street: one is a transaction where the giver gets something back (music, a painting, to be an audience member) whereas the other is much more one-way, obviously out of necessity.

  • Kennedy Wednesday

    I had this meeting with an actress about an idea for a show that I had. Middle Aged Babe. She bought a lot of wine. I cooked dinner. Her dog ate my shoe and she showed me her Nandos commercial and told me that people come up to her at Supermarkets and ask ‘Are you the woman from Nandos? You’re so funny. We watch that ad over and over and over and over again.’ Then she told me that she was earning (between ads and acting jobs) between $60 000 to $120 000 a year. And that she was taking a big risk working up a show with me that she didn’t even know would sell and then she said ‘And if I’m going to work with you you’ve gotta stop putting out a hat to fund your projects. You look like you’re begging. Do you think the world owes you a living? ‘
    I said….’No…well I work for it’. It’s not like they don’t get a show or a book or a reality art series for their money?’. I’m on less than a chinese wage babe. I just produced a show with $700 that I raised on my crowd funding site. I held up my end of the deal and more. I put on the show. And I put up Bob Holman who is fucking exhausting! And I videoed it and i’m recycling it into a documentary so I wouldn’t say i’m sitting on my arse!’ And then she said ‘Well it’s a bad look. As if a better look would be a Nandos Commercial? I said to her ‘All the Arts Industries are dying. They’ve either gone off shore so we can import them back in or they’re been killed by real estate agents or the internet. It’s a brave new world and we don’t know where we’re going yet so the hat for the moment is what I have. Amanda Palmer got a million dollars in her hat you know!’ She said ‘Well I don’t know who Amanda Palmer is?’ like she was the Einstein and I was the fuckwit. I said she’s a One Woman Revolution and she’s also a naturally nice person so people love her and I’m never gunna be Amanda Palmer because I tell people to go to hell and I can’t sing. But I work with what I have and I finish the work because every lousy dollar gives me another ounce of vibe. And I’ve been going hard. But she killed my vibe at that dinner. Knocked what was left of it on the head. Her dog chewed up my Italian leather sandle that I can’t afford to replace and I feel like an empty balloon. I closed down my facebook page and opened a new one to hide out in until I recover. The odds are against me. .

  • Suz

    I wish I knew the answer…as a female accustomed to doing for everyone else, I find it excruciatingly difficult to ask …it always feels desperate and needy, and often meets with rejection.

  • Zeb

    asking invites sharing; begging condemns the soul to usurpatory (play on words intended).

  • Billi Kins

    N’avlom ke tumende o maro te mangel. Avlom ke
    tumende kam man pativ te den. Interestingly begging seems to position those of whom something is being asked as powerful and those asking as being vulnerable – in society where we have enough for all, begging makes others uncomfortable perhaps because it reminds them that there are needy amongst us (unnecessarily), and that we have forgotten to afford one another respect through sharing where we are able. Sadly those who “HAVE the most” become the least ready to share – I feel for them because they are at a loss.

  • Shauna Mork

    begging is to try to force something upon someone else. Asking is to ask for kindness or to ask someone to believe in you or your idea. That’s the thing… no one wants to be forced into something. SO ask but never beg.

  • andy

    your dignity stays intact if you just ask

  • mangobich

    Asking is a rational and thoughtout decision. You seek someone that will relief or support you through the situation you are going through. Begging is when you have your head on the ground, anything and anyone will do, you misplace the value of your own criteria.

  • Will Campbell

    asking only reveals an interest, begging requires you to completely expose your desires and open yourself to hurt and pain as well as love/happiness etc

  • Al

    It’s a power relationship – asking implies equality, begging indicates a deference.

  • sarapiff

    Asking is holding your heart in your hand and stating your desires. Begging is telling them that they need to give you their heart for your unknown desires.

  • James Desborough

    Asking can be refused without consequence.
    Begging is more of a demand.
    You ask when something would be nice.
    You beg when you’re desperate.
    Asking – can – leave you both feeling good.
    Begging makes you feel bad and those who refuse you feel bad.

    Someone asks for your help, you’re flattered, perhaps.
    Someone begs for your help, you feel obligated, put upon.

  • Nicky

    Someone who begs does not expect to ever have something to offer in return.

  • Larissa Rainey

    Begging is urgent, and can destroy one’s ego. You beg when you asked before, and you couldn’t get what you want. Begging is desperate. Asking is more balanced.

  • Stefannie

    I feel like the difference is in the stakes for the asker/begger.

    When you ask, you’re hoping for a positive response but you’ll survive a negative. You can do without because you’ve got options.

    When you beg, you’re all-in – you’ve shoved your meager pile of chips across the table and thrown a few IOU’s on top along with the still-bleeding pelt of the pride you just skinned off of your own back, all because you have no other option, no choice, nothing but the teeth-grinding wait for the “yes” that will save you or the “no” that will end you.

  • Brittany

    Asking takes humility. It’s acknowledging to yourself and others that there is something you need that they can provide. Begging is going back to base instincts, like a fight or flight. Begging is what happens when asking gets you nowhere.

  • William Chrapcynski

    Asking is when you need help to complete a task. Begging is requesting help to complete a task that could fail without said help.

  • BBB

    Desperation separates an ask from a beg.

  • SimeonPeebler

    Asking is when you are standing at the bottom of the dam and need help filling one or two cracks; begging is when you are standing there and more and more trickles of water appear…without help catastrophe is inevitable. When we work on art, sometimes the consequences of failure or success can complicate matters. Getting somebody to help patch up the dam, in any situation, means that they too will join you in the path of potential danger.

  • Kae

    Asking, in our society, implies a want, whereas begging implies a desperate need. We often associate asking with privilege and begging with poverty (and often, for some reason, tend to believe poverty is self-imposed, via mistake rather than hardship).

    This doesn’t mean that those definitions are truth, but they are nonetheless, because lowercase-truth is only perception. Uppercase Truth is everything. The ways we see the world – as it unfolds to us – are the only ways we have. I believe that asking is begging for transcendence, the opportunity to escape the boxes we already know. It is both a want and a desperate, desperate need.

  • xDa’oudx

    from my point of view the difference between asking and begging is a thin red line, when you ask a question to a person you show yourself vulnerable because of your ignorance, so it lies in the reaction of the person, if she puts you in the corner where you feel like begging or just asking

  • Tammi

    Asking is when you’re still connected, in control of yourself and open to promise of a response. Begging is when the connection is gone, you’re in pain, and asking **feels** like it could have a life or death outcome.

  • Meredith McGuire

    Begging is when you can get it yourself and don’t want to, when you’re trying to hustle someone, when you debase yourself to get something. Asking is when you can’t get something, and you know you can’t, and you don’t demand anything either way.

  • Bokkie Gerber

    Asking is standing up – begging is on your knees.

  • Jerimi

    Begging is feeling entitled to a thing. Begging is demanding. Begging is a person who feels they’re owed a thing. Asking is a vulnerable thing to do. Asking means allowing that a person might say no. Asking is scary. Asking is answered, and the subject dropped. Begging is relentless. Pushy. Exhausting. Asking is graceful. Asking honors the asked.

  • CharlieSometimes

    Asking is admitting you need help, that you are not an island, none of us are but few feel confident enough to admit it. It is brave, it is strong.

  • Benny Fowler

    You ask for things that you believe you want. You beg for things that you believe you need.

  • Katt Hernandez

    Yes! I was going to put it more generally- Asking is presenting a situation of shared control, in order to arrive at a mutually agreed upon outcome. Begging is manipulating the perception of control in order to achieve the querent’s desired outcome.
    Or something like that.

  • Septima

    Asking implies respect for the person being asked, for their time, effort, possessions, and right to say no. Begging implies the person has already done something wrong, has already neglected you.

  • maranda

    In my opinion:
    Asking is when you desire something that you want, you may even need, but you feel (whether it’s true or not) you could live without

    begging is where you cannot.

  • Fryda Wolff

    Begging is bottoming out, when you’ve nothing left to lose. When you feel like you’re dying.

    Asking is making a request of someone, once you’ve decided your needs are so great that you can’t go it alone. That’s why asking is so hard, because you have to justify the question “Why can’t you just do it yourself? Are you that stupid/incompetent/useless?”

    Begging is so much easier because it’s like gasping for air. It’s a reflex to hitting bottom. Asking is an uncomfortable gesture that requires a sense of self-worth in the first place, believing that you are worth the trouble of helping.

  • Pollyanna Darling

    Asking gives the other person sovereignty, they have the right to answer as they choose and the asker is OK with whatever their answer may be. In other words, you are not attached to the outcome of the question. Begging denies others their sovereignty. It’s like issuing an order to the other to fulfil your needs, Naturally some people (who like to be needed) will comply, leading you into potentially sticky, gross dependency. On the flip side, contrary types (like me), are inclined to refuse begging even if they are inclined to help out, simply because you are denying them sovereignty by begging.

    Aside from all of that though, when human beings are truly desperate, in terrible physical or emotional pain, they beg. We could all learn to be more compassionate, regardless of what that begging means for us.

  • the_apocalisa

    It’s all about vulnerability and pride. When you ask you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet and walk away if the other person says no. When you beg you are allowing someone to be aware that they have the power to seal your fate. It takes a ton of inner strength to admit to need others especially since rejection is one of the worst feelings in the big box of emotions that hurt.

  • Whoa, Molly!

    Asking seems like you have a choice. You can take it or not and everything with be okay. Begging is showing vulnerability; when you’re begging you are laying yourself out there and letting people know you are out of options.

  • Shannara Gillman

    asking comes from a place of equal footing. begging comes from a place of little power. asking implies the answer will have an impact, but the asker will move forward regardless. begging implies the answer could stop the beggar in their tracks. asking is curiosity. begging is desperation.

  • Jordan Webber


    Asking kicks ass, it’s an open upright standing stance
    Begging, that’s a closed resigned fallen stance

    The resignation of begging breeds pity and contempt, whilst asking breeds thought and always a response, albeit it positive or negative, asking is a question leading to an answer, when you beg, you’ve already conceded to only one answer you always expect: no.

    Asking will always be more productive, just look at its alphabetical hierarchy! A before B baby A before B

    Much love and best of luck AFP x

  • RichBury

    Begging comes from desperation.

  • Bakes

    If I’m asking I’m trying to remember that the person I’m asking from has a brain, a point-of-view, and a set of values that I’m going to try to appeal to. If I’m begging, I don’t care who I’m dealing with at all.

  • Rose Cooper

    Asking is being happy to want. Begging is not.

  • Michelle Bailey

    Asking is making yourself vulnerable by admitting you’re in need from a place of love
    Begging is using your need as leverage to guilt others into giving

  • Matt

    Asking is active and strong. Begging is passive and weak.

  • Jahnny

    I don’t think I have a great definition of either of these things but this idea reminds me a lot about riding on the subway in NYC every day. Every day on the L line someone is begging for a swipe , or for money or attention. And it feels wrong because when they walk away they look back and call me a bitch over their shoulder if I have nothing to offer. Im just a art student, living at home, trying to scrape up enough money to pay for my own supplies so I don’t feel like Im begging for cash from my parents every two seconds of my life. I don’t have the means to help every person I see who cries wolf. It feels like everyone in this city has a wall up because the thought is ” who is going to help me when I need it?”, from my experience, probably no one. On one rare occasion I saw a girl crying in a station with her portfolio cuz she lost her wallet and needed to get to class, so I swiped her. For her to be so upset and expose and in my same situation, this didn’t feel like begging, this was asking, I had no problem paying for her train ride because at any moment that could be me. But when you see the same people every day with the same sermon , with the nerve to have nicer shoes and clothes then you, or totally stoned or drunk, beg for your money and kindness, it doesn’t hurt to let them walk by, they could have probably avoided this. Worst of all is the attitude they want to give you if you don’t have any thing, maybe begging is sometimes asking for too much and asking is opening yourself up just enough to get the help you actually need. I hope some one understands this view point :)

  • Mia Hilleary-Wederski

    Asking is when you issue polite requests for assistance/information/forgiveness/whatever. You NEED it, or you wouldn’t ask, but you’d survive without it if you had to. Begging is when you have accepted that you can’t live without it, and you simply can’t acquire it unless someone gives it to you. I always imagine the Japanese dogeza- needing something badly enough to lower yourself physically, and abandoning your pride, before the person who can provide it.

  • G

    Asking, to me, implies an equality to the relationship. If I ask, I am asking a peer, someone I consider an ally, a friend, or someone that I respect. If I ask, I fully expect to be asked. Reciprocity is the keyword.

    Begging implies an inequality. I cannot imagine someone who doesn’t consider me an equal begging me for anything. All the largesse comes in the form of gifts with very large strings attached. There is no give and take. It also implies duress of some sort.

    Not to say that begging is all bad. There are times in life when we must beg. But if the number of times I ask outweighs the number of times I beg, life is going well.

  • Claire Robson

    Asking is from a place of power – you can afford to reject the refusal or the gift. Begging is from a place of need, you can’t afford to to refuse the gift or the strings or the rejection. The funny thing is that power comes from a refusal of both those positions and a willingness to give.

  • Megan Fortner

    the more i think about it, the less simple the answer is. i think begging comes more from desperation, desire, and raw emotion. asking is more casual, not as dire, not life-threatening, less emotionally traumatic if the answer is “no” …

  • leighwoosey


    I think one difference between asking and begging is that when you are begging you imply that it would be cruel for the other party to refuse you.

    Another might be that if you are begging you are not suggesting that you have anything to offer in return as if you are in a weaker position than the person you are begging of.

    Asking opens an ongoing social relation, something may eventually be asked in return. There is an implication of trust (I ask you because I trust you to give me an answer I can accept, and you trust me to accept your answer). Is there trust in begging? Or in begging do we say I beg because there’s not enough trust between us for me to ask?

    It could all be negotiation and reciprocity, only distinguished by different relative points on a continuum of social status.

    What’s the difference between asking and selling?

    Why do you think we wrote these messages?

  • E

    Asking implies equality between the asker and the askee. That equality is not present in begging.

    I see asking as an eye-to-eye interaction. Begging involves one person looking up and another looking down.

  • Cheryl Anne Ruebner

    Asking is for permission. Begging is for mercy. Asking is polite and concerned with decorum. Begging is desperate and is not concerned with manners.

    • Kae

      I love “Asking is for permission. Begging is for mercy.” …beautiful words, beautifully ordered.

  • Jo

    asking takes courage, begging even more

  • Sasha

    Asking is what your equals do; begging is what someone perceived as beneath you does.

  • Franchezka ‘Galileii’ De Jesus

    asking comes naturally, just like kids do all the times…it has a lot more to do with curiosity…. Now, begging… that takes a whole 12 step program for the ego….

  • Rin

    Begging implies a level of desperation and possibly humiliation that isn’t there with asking. Asking for help is hard. Begging for help is harder. Begging implies that you’ve already asked multiple times or to multiple people and been told no.

  • Abbey Agpaoa

    I’m a canvasser who professionally fundraises for non-profits. I stand on the sidewalks of Philadelphia and ask strangers to give me money all day, every day.

    On good days I ask. On bad days I beg.

    When I ASK people for money, my intention is to empower them to make change; to let them know they are seconds away from becoming a part something larger than themselves.

    When I BEG people for money, my intention is for personal gain out of desperation – to make quota – to not get fired – to get a bonus.

  • Lacey

    Asking is giving someone the opportunity to help you, with the knowledge that you may not get anything. Out of respect, honor, gratitude, or compassion, someone may fulfill that opportunity. While begging is a more desperate measure. Begging is pleading for someone to do something that they may not want to do.

  • Wayne Ashton

    “Begging” is just “Asking” but with a heavy undercurrent of emotional blackmail thrown in.

  • KellyDaMighty

    Begging is usually associated with a persistence that verges on annoying in an attempt to wear down whoever you are asking to give into your request. Asking is a simple request and usually any answer can suffice.

  • alliemay

    Asking changes only the Asker. Begging changes both the Asker and the Asked.

  • Natasha Finnegan-Kennel

    Asking we connotate with kindness and trust, you only ask those you trust. Begging we connotate with forcefulness and a level of separateness, those who beg no longer have that connection of trust, it’s severed with the force of the action.

  • Adriana

    I think it has a lot to do with
    perception. I feel like when you ASK someone for something, those who don’t
    know you or don’t care about the circumstances or reasons behind your asking may
    perceive your asking as begging. But those who care about you, who know you,
    who love you, would perceive your asking as what it is: asking. It’s like a friend
    knocking at your door vs. a solicitor knocking at your door (very lame example,
    sorry, couldn’t come with anything better).

  • Kit Kat

    With asking, you are open to rejection. With begging, you can’t take no for an answer

  • samantha louise

    You ask for a favor; you beg for a need.

  • Alex Wookiee Worth

    The difference, primarily, between asking and begging (particularly in
    the sphere of art) is that when begging the aim is to receive something
    while giving nothing. When asking, the aim is to receive something
    (typically money) in return for something else of equal value (art). Of course,
    this is contingent on wider society considering art a thing of value – a
    topic becoming increasingly divisive.

    The kickstarter was
    asking. People gave money, they got awesome stuff (and in the higher
    price brackets, awesome experiences). A win-win exchange. Having musicians play onstage with
    the band for love and beer, again, was asking. I’m willing to bet if
    you talk to any of the musicians who joined you up there, they’d say
    they got the better end of the deal. I think most people would.

    In the sense of general life, love, and particularly with your book, keep asking, fearlessly.

    Love from the UK.

  • Ella Bella Bambini

    Begging implies desperation and infers guilt onto the “begged” if they refuse, Asking seems to allow more freedom in response and encounters far fewer emotions.

  • Kristel Anne Kelly

    Begging implies desperation, Asking implies control.

  • Jay Cumbey

    to me asking is just a question. but even then it can to the receiver of the question have the same effect as begging asking in itself is informing the askee of a current situation you might be in. and depending on how the askee interprets it then inflate or deflate the urgency. and too depends on what the asker is tring to gain ( money, information, oppinion etc.) Begging, that immediately is a sign of stress, urgency, possible life or death and much more emotional . begging for the most part puts the asked in a corner and plays on there emotions to gain a favourable response . its pre-tence and past-tence. Asking = i might have a problem with this can you help me?. Begging = The house is on fire, Please help me or the house is going to burn down, can you help me?

  • Cambodia667

    When you beg, you are desperate, you think you can’t do it yourself whatsoever, even if it’s a virtual feeling. When you ask, there’s a little part of you, a hidden feeling deep inside telling you that, even if you don’t find/get the help you need, you will manage yourself, somehow.

  • Ann Navez Hubert

    I will “ask” my friends if I need something I can’t have without help, but I will only beg when I no longer have any friends…

  • eliaichi kimaro

    It’s all in the intention. “Asking” is an invitation to join. “Begging” is guilting you for not giving.

  • Mary Rodriguez

    Dignity and desperation. Begging implies a higher level of desperation, and a willingness to subjugate yourself in order to have your request fulfilled.

  • Rachel Lynx Finn-Romero

    My grandfather told me a lesson he had tried to teach my mother; she would frequently want my grandparents to take care of me while she figured out how to raise a child as a teenager/young adult. My grandfather’s first response would frequently be “No.” When my mother protested, my grandfather would ask if it was a demand or a request, because with a request there is no shame or anger when one says no. If it was a demand, he would have said no anyway because no one has the right to force anyone’s hand.

    Begging could be seen as the ultimate in an external locus of control, with no sense of self or empowerment. Asking would be the act of acknowledging that we need other people in order to pursue what we desire. If both agree that the desire is favorable, then the gifts of both the requested item and the human connection are recieved and shared.

  • YukonSally

    Asking is when you have your confidence in full, begging is when that confidence is shattered and you’re desperate.

  • Joy

    a positive resolution isn’t imperative when asking, but is when begging

  • anotherrandomperson

    asking is for polite people. begging is for the desperate. Getting what you want is up to you.

  • misfitheartlust

    Asking is a state in which you have full confidence in your vision – Begging is a desprate plea for help, when you can no longer see the path.

  • lala sue

    Asking is more confident, begging has given all of it’s power away.

  • Veronica Swing

    I believe asking is allowing someone to share in your quest for something. I ask you to help me become something or achieve something. Begging is a state of being. I am a beggar.

  • Sam Spivey

    presentation, and state of mind. asking, implies curiousity, a passive inference without expectation of the outcome. begging is a dependant action, usually left as a last resort. or to put it visually: asking is a gentle hand outstretched. begging, is a failing grasping for your wrist. shame, can be a factor in both gestures, as well as weakness, and more importantly, strength.

  • Jon

    Asking means you aren’t giving up. Begging means you have.

  • Aster

    I asked someone how to beg recently. I got a good answer:
    ‘When was the last time you asked without considering how best to present your request? Without considering how the manner of your asking might affect its reception? Without considering the manner of your asking at all? When was the last time you put your raw, unfiltered desire into words without trying to make it pretty or palatable or anything else? Do that.’
    It wasn’t easy.

  • sLaap834

    Without reading any of the previous comments, my answer to your question: when begging, you leave people feeling guilty if they don’t do what your asking; when asking, people can decline and not take it on their conscience.

    • Scruggzi

      I agree with this – begging implies the emotional coercion of the giver, even if it is born from desperation and relative powerlessness.

  • JohnDave

    From the perspective of the asker/begger: Asking subconsciously implies that a return of gift, money, care or other object/action of perceived value may be given back in the future. Begging only occurs when there will never be a possibility of that return. Begging will always be harder as it grinds against the moral code that most have been brought up with and that society continually reinforces. Where the lines blur in our own minds, asking can FEEL as bad as we are told begging is.

  • The_Pip

    Asking is an act of collaboration, begging is an act of desperation. But as I type these words, I will admit that emotionally I will never be able to realize any difference between the two.


    Begging is manipulative. Asking is not.

  • Shan

    Asking and begging. Well…are you asking for our help or begging? It’s a matter of context/perspective rreally. Your body language, your relationship with said individual you’re asking/begging, your tone…your state of mind. Begging brings me to whimpering, sometimes even images of men kilts with their faces painted, pleading for mercy. Begging is desperation. Silent begging is when your eyes speak the words for you, because I personally have too much to pride to openly beg. It’s when you no longer have confidence that simply just asking will get you the results you need. Now you have to add theatre, dramatics, explanations, reasons…none of which make sense but in your mind, you think maybe by adding some more spice to that question, you’ll get what you. Begging is your final string of hope. It’s what we resort to when we think we’ve done enough asking.

  • Magdalena Waitforit Brossmann

    Asking is “If you elope with me, we’ll be pirates and I will conquer the seven seas for us, because we’re worth it”, begging is “Please please marry me, so I know I’m worth something.”

  • Jo

    asking takes courage, begging even more

  • Miguel Sandoval

    I guess asking someone’s help implies to recognize him/her, to give him/her meaning, a meaning so high that you humble yourself to ask. Meaning, not value. The person you ask is a part of your language, of your practice, is needed for your art.
    When you beg you don’t mean anything. Neither the person that you beg from.

  • Alexi Christine Bryant

    People beg when they are stripped bare, in need, and feeling hopeless. Asking is merely a request.

  • Sarah Fleming

    Asking means you hope so…but you aren’t depending on the answer whereas you absolutely are depending on it when you are begging

  • Katie

    When you ask, you haven’t hit your bottom. You can live without. To beg is an act of desperation, a request of passion and plea, because one believes they can move or live on with out.

  • Emily

    Hi Amanda…..Been a huge fan forever and my daughter too. We saw you in Belgium in November and she had a photo taken with you and showed you her t’shirt “Girls Invented Punk Rock…Not England”. I am really wanting to write something for your book. I was a sex worker for 17+ (still not quite retired!) and I love this idea. I have/had the most amazing relationships with my clients and I think this is a really interesting concept to explore!

    if you’re interested, feel free to email me at (not putting my name here for privacy purposes) and I’ll get back to you immediately.

    Love, Melbournian living in Belgium

  • Rachel J. Clark

    To me, it’s the difference between “He asked me to marry him,” and “He begged me to marry him.” To ask means you feel worthy of an answer, confident in the possibility of a positive outcome, and grateful in receiving either the yes or no answer for what it is: an answer. To answer means that you respect the asker enough to be honest with them, and truth is a gift on its own. When you ask, you let to of control, and that’s usually my biggest fear.
    To beg means that you would not be satisfied with a no, that if your needs/wants/desires are not met in that moment, you will see the person you are asking as being in the wrong – for either not giving you what you need, or hurting your feelings, usually both. The kid who begs his mom in the toy aisle is usually crying, howling, and upset like it’s the end of the world. His mom is negatively affected by this. The kid one aisle over who ASKS her mom for a toy (and maybe even explains why she wants it), will at least get a gentle no and a reason why, if her mother doesn’t feel compelled to give her child what she wants. Asking makes you vulnerable; begging makes you violent. The hobo on the street who sits quietly with a sign asking for change will almost always have more quarters at the end of the day than the panhandler who calls out to people passing by and uses guilt tactics.
    I’m kind of rambling at this point with examples, but I see so much begging here in LA from so many people, including my peers in the entertainment world. I used to be one of them. But when my perspective shifted and I began asking, the difference was remarkable – not just in people’s responses but in how I viewed myself. I am worthy of asking. Knowing that has changed my life.

    P.S. Amanda you are such a hero to me. I used to be a sad, fat girl in the middle of nowhere, Alaska. Your voice gave me hope. That hope helped me lose 80 lbs and follow my dreams all the way to the Lower 48 because the only thing stopping me was myself. I wish you all the best with your book, can’t wait to read it. If you’re ever in LA and NOT super busy writing and making music and being an all-around badass, I invite you to come have tea and chat, or go roller skating with me, or paint with me, or just go adventuring in general.

    …I just realized how long ago this post was.

    I’m 6 months late but oh well.


  • BuffeyMaria

    it has much to do with delivery of the intention.
    for me a more recent lesson learned. I felt like for others there was a difference, yet for me, because I was a fearless-strong-I-got-this-all-myself-woman~ ALL ASKING WAS BEGGING, and therefore not good. and weak.
    asking, -the individual has some self respect,, and should be non-invasive. both parties are on the same level, although , ironically it can cause the asker to have to swallow some pride
    begging,- the wanting individual has a lack of respect. And it is invasive.
    Not being able asking {for help} was big nail in the tire of my marriage, to the point where begging was the last resort, and that didn’t work either. now he is begging and I see it as a lack of respect, and unattractive..
    God, I am a hypocrite. I am human.
    now I am learning to ask , before the need to beg arises … it is not always fun.. but learning, that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but strength.

  • Sarah Fleming

    The example I have….i am begging for my life to be a bad dream that I can wake up from…

  • Sandra June Romano

    If we were too look for established definitions (via internet) we’d come up with this:


    ask (someone) earnestly or humbly for something.

    ask for something, typically food or money, as charity or a gift.


    say something in order to obtain an answer or some information

    2. request (someone) to do or give something.

    I think there is a problem here with these definitions alone because one can beg or ask for the same thing can’t they? So how do we differ between the two?

    Which leads me to this thought, we have a term known as “beggar” but…not “asker”


    1. a person, typically a homeless one, who lives by asking for money or food.

    2. a person of a specified type, often one to be envied or pitied.

    reduce (someone) to poverty.

    I think because of this, the term “beg” has received a negative connotation. One in which has created a power staircase in our minds. If you beg me for your life/food/money you are surrendering all manner of control/authority to me. If you are asking me for the same things…is it really asking? Or is it now begging?

    The term beggar/beg I think has made us come to believe that it is shameful and/or embarrassing to ask for certain things, essential things! And is it about not taking no for an answer? If so, this is strange to me because I witness homeless people asking others for charity all the time and they are quite fine with receiving “no” (often it’s just zero response at all) for an answer.

    I don’t know Amanda. I’m not sure how to clearly answer this and my response may not be clear. But I think maybe the terms to “beg” or “ask” says a lot more about the person on the receiving end of the “begging” or “asking”. To reiterate, I might think a person is asking, while another would say begging…doesn’t that just say something about us though?

  • Julia

    Begging implies desperation. …Nothing wrong with being desperate, mind you. This is just what comes to mind.

  • Chris Nellis

    The only difference is in the way you ask….. i could ask Amanda for a few quid to pay some debts…. or i could ask Amanda for a few quid to pay some debts.. whats the difference. The difference is how and that is the only difference. Oh and possibly the extra eee’s in the word pleeease :)

  • Jennifer N. Campbell

    When asking (for virtually anything) you have to be prepared for the answer to be “no”. You know it’s a valid response and you’re ready for that. When you are begging, you are clinging to the side of an emotional cliff. “No” isn’t okay. “No” means that you are about to free fall tumble into what feels like your destruction. You might survive the fall, and even be informed by it; but, you are not ready and “No” was never okay.

  • Fyn FynSidian

    If you ask, you will accept no and move on, if you beg you plead and negotiate and do whatever it takes to get a yes

  • Alexa Lebold

    Asking is when it’s not something necessary. Begging is when it is.

  • Holio

    To ask is a quest. Begging is a need.that’s needed.

  • Marissa

    I think the difference is the perceived relationship between the people involved. When someone asks something they are equals, ethically speaking, with the person being asked. When one begs they immediately denigrate themselves placing the other person in a position of authority or higher stature, whether to appe to their ego or because the beggar actually perceives her or himself as lower. It all
    Comes down to power dynamics.

  • Talbot

    I feel like asking is less invasive, whereas begging tends to put a sort of pressure or urgency in place… I almost consider it a form of emotional coercion. While you’re not outright threatening or forcing someone to do something, begging tends to wind up with the subtle implication that all the consequences of saying no fall onto their shoulders. It leaves you with the sense that if you could have done something to help someone who needed it and you chose not to help them.

  • Coeli Ciammetti

    a want vs. a need

  • ChrisG

    Begging shows neediness/vulnerability. There is an inverse relationship between one’s degree of need and the help provided in all but a very few magical encounters. Begging often makes the begger a victim/target for the vultures of society. Think of a girl with low self-esteem/daddy needs and how she unconsciously make future self a psychological victim by begging for the approval of men…

    Asking on the other hand feels like an opportunity to the audience and the asker. It makes both parties feel equally vulnerable and can also be sloughed off by both parties with no cost. Guilt is much less of a factor by the asker or the askee. Many more possibilities for positive outcomes on both sides.

  • Sherman Franks

    Asking is raising a question. Begging is when a question becomes a plea. Both offer the recipient a choice. The difference is the perceived scale of effect if that choice should not be in their favour.

    As an aside:I once heard a person vehemently protesting their children being raised to use of the word “please”. They said that no child of theirs would beg.

    To me, however, saying please isn’t begging; It’s politely punctuating a request. It’s not the request itself. It costs nothing to be polite.

  • Ariariaria

    Perhaps it’s the difference between want & need? Asking is usually peaceful & available. There is power given to a person who is being begged but asking stays on neutral ground.

    • Shawna Ross

      This reminded me of a situation. My ex husband emailed me very calmly reminding me that I owe him money. He asked that I pay him immediately. it gave me a sense that he was in control. he didn’t need the money but knew he deserved it.

  • AmandaYoFace

    Asking is a very personal act and I think has different meanings based on the environment we grew up in. I, for one, grew up in a small town in Middle America where asking for things is on an as-needed basis. And asking for things when you need them feels like begging. And begging is not only personal, but it’s giving up ownership of one’s self. Well, not really, but it feels like it. Some people grow up in a place where it is understood that one needs to ask questions and that is part of being human. Some people grow up in a place where it is understood that asking is a form of weakness. And some people grow up with the understanding that if you ask people for things, then you are not good enough without that person and that is something that person will have on you forever.

    Fucked up.

    But it took me up to adulthood to learn to ask questions as a means of bettering myself and to make myself a more useful member of society. Hell, I’m still learning.

  • Lisa Murphy

    Asking is requesting. Begging is pleading.

  • PunkyDrumrChik

    To me, asking is a choice. Begging is not having a choice. You take on so much voluntarily, then ask for help carrying the load. Or, you have so much thrown at you, you have to beg for help.

  • Brandon N.

    Asking is an act of humility, begging is an act of desperation.

  • Margaret Moore

    In my 31 year old woman/lady/girl/personal opinion, “The Difference Between Asking And Begging” is…. wether or not you want advice or support.
    If you ask for something, you need it because it will help somehow. If you beg for something, you are sort of gently making a demand? This is, in my head, also tied to a cash equivalent even though I hate for that to happen and want to live in a world without money and have a sense of equivalent exchange.

  • Guest

    asking is a free will, being not depended, full of your own sun in yourself…and the answer or donate may be with free will of the other person..- or not…no problem, not very important, just trying….– begging is like an adaption on a drug: you are depended of the answer, you can not wait, you re fixed with your whole mind and without free willng to the given answer of the other person…(sorry for my bad english , i ask you for pardon…or beg you :-)…)

  • Kira

    Asking is requesting, it happens once or a few times; begging is repetitive, urgent, and desperate.

    • Shawna Ross

      this sums it up well I think.

  • Revolution

    A very long winded response….sorry.

    Begging is something that arises when there is a power imbalance and one party, or parties, fails to recognize or acknowledge that power imbalance, and within that human exchange ignores or fails to understand what it means to be in a powerless position. To ensure that the giver does not exploit the receiver, the giver must be humble, gracious and compassionate and empower the receiver, so that the power imbalance is restored. For example, I am a mother who has to house herself and her children in a competitive callous rental market, where the basic premise is about economics and profit, not providing housing which is a basic human need. There are subtle, broadly unacknowledged issues in renting in the market I rent in, including not having an autonomous and secure space to exist in. Without this, there are alot of associated disadvantages and difficulties for both myself and my children as we navigate the broader world. In my world landlords will generally provide the minimum and ask you to move on without consideration to the impacts (and there are many, including never having a “home”, which is important for children) of moving if they are selling or adjusting their property portfolio, or whatever. I have an education, I work to provide for myself and my children, but our circumstances are such that we don’t have secure accommodation and consequently always live tenuously and with stress, with the reality being we could be homeless at any point in time, even though I always pay my rent and leave a property as I found it – it is an issue of respect regardless. And now to your question, because I am a single parent I am at a disadvantage due to prejudice and the market and thus placed in a position where I have had to beg to secure a property. Within the exchange I knew that both the real estate agent and the owner were exploiting my basic need for housing to profit themselves but I had to suppress alot of what I really thought about these people lest I not get the home I so needed. It was a humiliating experience and an exchange with no authenticity as the essential ingredient was making money off the need of others, an economic contract devoid of any real humanity. This is begging and it leaves the receiver humiliated, and removes the human element from the exchange as it is just about money and maximising the owners profits regardless of the impacts on the renter.

    More complex than this, but just some thoughts.

    Oh….. and I think what you are doing is fantastic. You are tipping accepted ideals on their heads. This can only be a good thing.

  • MaryJane Danyluk

    Asking makes you vulnerable but it is “Can you/will you help with this or that?” Begging implies that your immediate need is to get someone to care whether you have what you need or want, never mind whether they can or will.
    Most of the comments that I have read have been from social/political perspectives. Does this apply to personal ones? For a single parent with a Super-Mom complex it is a paradigm shift for all involved when she has to ask for help – will you take me here/move this/lift that? Begging should definitely not apply here – see above, but, a lot of the comments equate begging with guilt and manipulation. (Don’t parent/child relationships usually have some of this? :) ) Anyway, begging is a power play if it disregards the giver’s choice or even ability to give what is required. And I think that makes the difference.

    • Shawna Ross

      Sure begging CAN be when a request “disregards the giver’s choice”. But what about in a situation where the person begging is simply desperate? “Please don’t kill my son!!” Does that logic still apply ?

  • Abby

    I am very sorry, I can’t remember the name of the philosopher, but she wrote an amazing short piece on power and violence the idea is that the two can not exist together. Violence only has to be used in the absence of power. If one has power, no violence is necessary. I can’t quite find eloquent words to connect this to asking and begging but this is the first thing I thought of when I read your question… (Something Arendt maybe??)

  • R.C.

    First of all, dear Amanda, thank you for blogging when a book beckons. Anytime I’ve ever asked anyone for anything, I could “take it or leave it”. I didn’t NEED it, but I wanted it. When I negotiate, I ask, knowing that I can walk if I don’t get what I want. In my marriage, I ask, and if I cannot get it, I make adjustments. The level of caring about whether I get what I am asking for decreases as the circle of my relationships moves outward to strangers. Alternatively, in my life I have very rarely begged. I’ve lived a blessed life so it’s never come up. Begging…requires a NEED…a level of desperation that is very rarely poetic. People beg for their lives, for food, for mercy, for water…for things they really need to survive. As “poetic” as it may be to say that “I need acceptance” or “I need love,” that reality is that we often misuse the word “need”. In its true form, need indicates something required by the body (not the soul) to survive. So the difference I see, is WANT vs. NEED. Both are important, but when the chips are down, we are mammals that only require oxygen, water, food, sleep and shelter. (And even with shelter, yes I understand the rent/mortgage must be made, but that isn’t a “need,” as a human can sleep anywhere).

  • Wieland

    If you ask, you do it on the same hight like the person you’re asking. If you beg you have the view from below.

  • Glenn L

    asking is begging minus the procrastination

  • Francesca

    The first thing that came to my mind was that begging (in italian at least?) is a synonym for ‘praying’. You’re giving yourself for that one thing. Dignity included.
    When you’re asking you’re making a request, you usually think that you can handle a ‘no’ but even if not, you’re ready for it.
    I read a lot of people saying that begging implies that you’re desperate. Does that mean that when you ‘ask’ for help for a mental illness for example, you’re begging? Probably is really just a matter of ‘how’ and even the connotation of the word is different by different situations.

    Maybe you need some food to fed your son and the only thing you can do that day is begging and that’s brave.
    Beg for the new iphone? WRONG

    Asking money so that you can be an artist for a living? That’s really just supporting a cause to me. Be able to get some art free from the desires of a small group of people whom can pay for it and even get profits is really amazing.

  • Scotia

    Begging stinks of desperation and, sometimes, laziness. Asking, not so much. It also goes deeper. If you’ve hustled and done all you can to get done what you can before making a request… that’s asking (even if you’re a little desperate). If you’re just expecting everyone else to pitch in and do all the work/pay for the whole thing/etc then it’s begging.

    Attitude also has a lot to do with it.

  • Kosmic Freeway

    Asking is a perceived want, whereas begging is a perceived need.

  • SianoftheDead

    Asking is courteous. If you have to beg it probably isn’t worth it

  • Miranda Vogel

    Asking seems to imply more acceptance of what the response to asking will be than begging does. Asking feels more comfortably open to possibility, more grounded, more efficient. For me, asking comes from my gut and from a stillness in my head. There is something blundering, throbbing, freaking out about begging; it makes me think of an impulse that can’t or won’t consider the rightness of time or place or activity surrounding it. It doesn’t blend with what’s going on around it. As an old person desirous of a career change and as someone whose most unshakable defining characteristic (as far as I can tell, anyway) is curiosity, I was really grabbed when you wrote that asking can build you up or tear you down. That has been my experience. I can’t not do it, it’s who I am, and I never regret the seeking part of asking/begging, but sometimes I think I’ve set myself back by the way I chose to seek. As a younger me, begging was okay. I would beg where my peers would not, so it distinguished me in my own eyes, from other people. Even though my begging disturbed me, and felt like it was undermining something I actually really needed to nurture inside, and even though it sometimes cut off paths and broke connections I had hoped it would open or strengthen, I did my best to ignore all that. I also had a real problem accepting things…no…sensing clearly, confidently, when to accept things and when to strive to change them. I realize a lot of people, maybe most people, have a hard time with this, I think acceptance is not a big part of our culture, but I’ve made space in my life to address it very particularly as time has passed so that I could be happier and spend less of my consciousness struggling against things. I am still as curious as I’ve ever been, but I am more inclined to wait for my instincts to tell me when the universe says NOW, sensing I’ll get more out of it than begging if I wait for it to be right. The reward for me is checking the status of my capacity for acceptance by asking rather than begging. It means hearing my throbbing heart but not giving it the immediate gratification it wants, which in turn means maybe not racking up a bunch of consequences I’m not ready to deal with, and it means listening instead to something just as deep and of myself as my throbbing heart, and making that thing healthier and stronger.

  • Jason Byrne

    Strength & control. That’s the only difference

  • Christoffer

    Both require compassion between human beings. A society without either is based on pride and ego. Begging may imply an unhealthy addiction to whatever you are begging for. Asking, on the other hand, is based on a curios and open nature towards interaction with others.

  • lisa

    “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASKING AND BEGGING?” the ability to accept that the answer might be no… When a person is asking another there is an element of understanding that the answer could be other than what is wanted. When begging there is an degree of self that can not accept that the answer could be other than what is needed. It doesn’t matter if the answer is to a question or a request for money or help or acknowledgement. Sometimes when begging especially when the answer is not what is needed there is a dark voice that tells us we didn’t deserve the answer we so desperately wanted to hear… “Please sir please see my starving baby, Please someone help, Please see us, me, our situation, my issue, my problem, but if you don’t see, refuse to see, to acknowledge there must be something wrong with me or the world that makes this situation so, I may not deserve an answer and I don’t want to know that, so I beg, I plead and I deny any other answer can be said”

  • Shawna Ross

    I would say that the context of the request can determine the way it’s defined. When someone asks you to save their child from a burning building they’re begging because the request is one of desperation. The perspective of the person being asked has everything to do with it too. if I asked my best friend for $20 he’d see it as me asking for help. If I asked a stranger for $20 he’d likely see it as begging and I would certainly agree. “Begging” isn’t always the evil twin of “asking for help”. It boils down to how it’s delivered and how it’s received.

  • arcane.nights

    Asking is polite, begging is annoying. If you ask, someone can say yes or no. If you beg, you emotionally manipulate them for anywhere from a few seconds to fuck knows how long until they give you what you want.

  • Kelly J.

    I think begging comes from reaching the point we get to when we’ve exhausted all other options. Something needs to change, we *NEED* something for our basic existence to live and love ourselves & others, but don’t know how or have the means to obtain that change. We’re so stuck in the muck, we can’t see anything else, and everything we do, every emotion is just begging for someone to reach out and grab our hand.

    Asking, in my current opinion, is recognizing that need for change, having the plan, having the know-how to get that change done, but there’s a step missing, or a note that’s just not right in the music, so to speak, and another’s thoughts or opinion.. help.. is exactly what you need.

    I think that’s why asking for help is so difficult sometimes – we already know what it is we need, know how to get it, have planned all the steps, etc., but just.. need something we can’t provide ourselves, for one reason or another, and we’re afraid this one thing is so simple, that others will look at us like we’re utterly ridiculous for needing help with it.

  • Tad K

    I grant permission for this to be used in your book without the need for accreditation. I release it to use or reuse as desired. It is in the General Domain for your use.

    For me the difference between asking and begging is a matter of dignity.
    It can be difficult, but dignified, to ask for help. To ask for assistance. To ask for advice or to ask for public assistance. It is difficult and can be demoralizing as well as humiiating. However with dignity it can be accomplished.

    Begging is when someone humiliates themselves to stop something from happening. Or to get something. More often I have it is as to stop something unpleasant from happening. It can be used to manipulate. It can be used to coerce something or someone. It does nothing to improve the life of the one begging.

    There is no shame in asking.

  • Terry McGhee

    I think asking brings about terror, in that we have to push ourselves past the point of no return to even approach it. I’ve never stood across from someone I love, looked them in the eyes, and asked them to help me figure how not to be suicidal. Why? Because it is absolutely fucking terrifying to contemplate any answer they may have. Whether it is to grab you and wrap their arms around you, the confused look that might shine back at you as you watch them turn and walk out of your life for good, or the face of fear that may shimmer in the distance as they realize they don’t know how to help you, among a multitude of others. It’s terrifying shit, asking. Begging however, denotes a certain kind of comfortable bond, either you are comfortable enough with someone to lose any ounce of self respect you may have hanging like lint to your shirt, or you are free falling into a pit of despair, fighting off the hands of demons and screaming for help.
    On a completely unrelated topic, for anyone who is contemplating suicide and finding that the bullshit “One day at a time” thing isn’t working. Fuck it, don’t use it. Break that son of a bitch down even further. Hour by hour, or minute by minute, because at some point in your day, you will find something to smile at, even if it is just a fucking cat video online or a joke on Facebook. Grab that feeling, remember it, treasure it, and fucking know and believe that there are so many more out there waiting to be found by you! You don’t have to live like this, you don’t have to settle for shit! Make your own changes, dye your hair, cut up your clothes, do something radical and expressive! Changing your life doesn’t have to mean finding a new job, moving away, or finding someone to spoon with at night. Change pieces of you into what you want to be! Small steps God Dammit! I fucking believe in you!

  • Will

    It’s all about where you stand in relation to the other person, to ask someone comes with the already existing assumption that the other person will help, you ask a friend to loan you some money, you ask a co-worker to help you with a project. When you ask you are not desperate either way for the answer although you assume it will be positive.

    Begging is the other end of this scale. You need to add force to your request, you need to desperately appeal to the other person. This would require the other person to be already standing on the Negative side of this request. When you beg you already assume a negative, you just hope.

  • Meep

    It’s asking as long as you don’t feel entitled to get it.

  • Shaylie

    Asking is accepting that the answer might be no, begging is pushing and pushing until you get the answer you want to hear, which in turn may mean that its not sincere

  • Shannah Grossman

    Asking implies the answer could be no. Begging is telling one that ypu need them to say yes..

  • Melanie Davee

    to me, some of the difference between asking and begging lies in the nessecity of the ‘yes’. you ask for something, knowing that the answer might be no, and you are okay with that…but it doesn’t hurt anything to ask, right?

    you beg for something, it is like asking on a whole different level, in my world usually because the outcome of getting that no is a much bigger issue. i beg when i feel like simply asking isn’t enough, likely because it will in some way, directly or indirectly (doesn’t really matter which) harm my child or myself to get any response other than ‘yes’. i still politely accept a no, but if i am begging, it is likely that i have already asked, you or another party, and been turned down. so that asking will go up a notch or 10.

  • Blue

    I feel like asking, is a two way street; I’m asking, you’re listening, and HELPING as much as giving. And I feel like begging is more passive; neither acknowledges the other as much when asking.
    In an odd way, i feel begging is also more expectant.

  • Shawna Ross

    After reading a whole lot of these comments it seems that the word “desperate” is used to equate to begging.

  • snarkinator

    The difference between asking and begging depends on the space you need to fill. If you ask and are denied, there is discomfort and disappointment, but you can keep soldiering on. When you beg and are denied, there is a gaping hole that can lead to heartbreak or resentment or worse things…

  • DDangerHeart

    I feel like asking, you’re really trying to appeal to the person youre asking a favor of. You want them to say yes. So you word your question to please them mentally. With begging I feel you use desperation. Pulling not from your targets mental state, but their emotional. You want them to feel bad enough to help you. You want to make them feel the same feeling you are Hoping they’ll empathise enough to help you.

  • Rei

    To me, asking means being specific about what you need and acknowledging that others have their own shit to deal with. By being specific and clear about your needs, you give people the chance to help if they’re able as opposed to them sitting back and thinking “well, I’d like to help you, but I don’t have a clue what you need” and being generally too afraid or busy to ask.

    Begging on the other hand is usually either not specific enough to assist people in helping you, or else it doesn’t acknowledge the other person (or people) involved in the interaction. It often comes across as disrespectful, and people are less inclined to answer this kind of plea.

    The difference then for me lies in the way a request is phrased, whether or not it’s specific, and whether or not it includes consideration for the people you are asking for help from.

  • Conor

    I think begging is an immediate need, there are no promises made, no nods to the future, no revelations of the past other than those assumed and no pretense of giving back, just pure survival. Begging is soley in and of the moment, unplanned or structured. Whereas asking is a multitude of events, of histories past and yet to come. Asking is based on trust. Asking is like showing your work, what you have already accomplished, it’s alot more revealing of your previous states, instead of just your present state. It is a promise to give something back, it is faith that you are capable of giving something back, of receiving something and making more of it. Asking is a contribution.

  • RMargaritis

    The act of asking this question can define the answer. If I ask myself, am I asking, or begging, in order to identify how needy I am at the moment, maybe the issue is not my asking, begging, or requesting anything of anyone else- but my ability to receive help without insecurity creeping in to redefine my state.

  • C H I E F

    Asking is like: Hey wanna post my first music video?

    Begging be like: THIS IS FATE your name has been recommended by two separate people. (vocal teacher donna maciocia and tom robinson) soooo, i think you’re cute?

    • Terry McGhee

      She wasn’t asking for a defining example of “Tastelessness”.

      • C H I E F

        ouch ):

      • C H I E F

        Hey, that’s not very nice. I understand if you think this is tasteless, but as an independent musician both mine and amanda’s livelihood is dependent on help from other independent musicians. I was just asking for help, something her whole tedtalk was about, in the off chance she might like my music. But I guess I’ve done something wrong

  • Cameron

    Asking retains pride, begging is desperation.

  • Margaret Budington Livingstone

    Asking assumes equality, while begging assumes the beggar’s need, thus presumed inequality.

  • joelwhitemusic .

    The difference between asking and begging is: begging means handing all of your personal power, self respect to the person you are begging from. Asking means empowering you both.

  • Guffaw

    Begging is faithless, believing in nothing and no one. Begging as is tacky as leopard print worn with stripes. Asking wears a fedora, slightly tipped to the side, shoes shined, Asking does not assume. Asking is a patient practice.

  • Matti S.

    I see begging as sort of last resort and did always feel that it’s degrading (on either side). It’s a very desperate and urging thing, while asking is a more relaxed thing that leaves room to just say no.
    Begging is this last resort thing for me, because I consider it a bit unfair. Begging appeals to feelings, it does not offer the chance to think of what you get in exchange (maybe some intense eye contact on the streets ;)) or even walk away without guilty conscience

    In my circle of friends there should be no need to beg me. If someone asks nicely and I see a reason to do so, I will do. Getting all pushy with a request _should_ not be necessary.

    So basically the main differences for me are dignity and “pushy-ness” (Yeah, i totally made this word up!). I’m totally okay with someone asking for help or even money.

    Asking: Do you want to check out my pictures from this one concert? If you happen to like the pics, I would be flattered if you use/mention them.

    Begging: Oh please, please, please Amanda check out these pictures I took and tweet about them. Pleeeeaaaaase Amanda, you really need to, this soooo important!

  • joelwhitemusic .

    Asking is empowering both you and the person you are asking of. If we beg we hand over all our personal power and self respect by believing the other person has what we want, has control over our lives in some way, when the truth is we have all that we need. Love and light Amanda :)

  • Michael Goodrich

    The most simple way that I could explain the difference is a simple as this… Begging=asking+desperation

  • Lydia Toro

    Begging arises from dead-ended desperation. Asking manipulates possibilities to one’s advantage.

  • Rina89

    If you ‘ask’ I suppose you’re saying, ‘this is what I need’ and you’re more willing to negotiate with the other person for them to help you get what you need. With begging you’re saying, ‘look I’m completely uncomfortable right now, I don’t care how I look as I ask for this, but I’m in desperate need of help’. For some people asking is too subtle to work on them, and some people would never beg as it feels too beneath their pride and too hard on others so they wouldn’t dare attempt it. But there are probably times when either is appropriate.

  • richard

    I think the difference is dignity. Asking is done as an equal, begging is done from a position of less power. That’s why I always ask. It elevates me. ;)

  • Lisa Wood

    Begging is much more fun :D

  • the Last in line

    There are many different discourses that have sprung up here, revolving around etymology, emotionality, power, and perception. all of them are correct, and yet, individually, none of them are what you are seeking. The plurality of the discourse that drives your muse begs the question. You are seeking the Delphic Oracle of the masses, and I hope that the different discourses here provide the nepenthe without it’s associated forgetfulness.

  • Finkdoobiest

    Asking is done with the expectation that someone would be willing to help you; Begging is done with the knowledge that they probably, or definitely, don’t

  • Tawny

    To me begging seems like a certain type of asking, its like asking when you are desperate. Asking is just asking. If they say no, then that’s cool. But if they say no and you are begging, you will probably keep asking until you get the response you want. Maybe it isn’t a type of asking at all because asking implies you have a choice.

  • Mousey

    I’ve spent months of my little life living with homeless strange and hardened people. Staying in abandoned places, living in forests with hippies, artists and the aimless.

    I think begging is when the things you ask for are selfish. When you want something for no reason but wanting it. There are so many people I’ve met that go out searching for money or kindness that want it for nothing but to keep it and please themselves.

    Asking is when you feel that what you take from people is less than what you can give back.
    When you know,
    or at least hope that what people can offer will help push you farther than you could on your own.

  • SketchAP

    Asking and begging? I think the only thing really is the perception of the viewer. Companies ask for your money all the time, but no one calls it begging. That’s advertising.
    People ask for charitable donations often, but that’s rarely called begging.
    Selling your product is never called begging, though I’m sure some people and companies have been just as desperate as anyone who begs.

    I think it’s an odd cultural thing. There’s a narrative in America about some sort of boot-strapping thing. If you work hard enough you’ll succeed. Yet, some of the people working the hardest are also the poorest. Hell, just look at cleaning staff anywhere! There are a lot of hard working people out there, who are entirely unemployed. We’ve had a long period of anger in this country at the poor, and hell I’ve suffered for it.

    The problem is that this narrative is poisonous. It makes it harder and harder to ask for the help you need. This goes beyond economics too. I suffer depression, pretty badly at times. Honestly, if I didn’t have someone in my life as a youth who repeatedly botched suicide attempts I probably would have attempted it myself. I’ve gotten close though. I’ve gotten very very close. It has gotten to the point where I didn’t know how to get help. It got to the point that I couldn’t function, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t draw, and I had no idea how to get out of it, and most of my friends, even the closest, had been exhausted from dealing with me. Because some of them suffered depression too, or were already really stressed out about other things in their life, or were having these enormous wonderful life changes. Me? I was still stuck, and on the outside to everyone else it just seemed like I was being mopey.

    Some people were very kind, asked how they could help. I never knew how to answer that. A lot of the time, because I had this whole boot strapping narrative in my head, I wouldn’t even bother to ask. I’d just sit there, degenerate, rot, and watch the world go by. I couldn’t vocalize my needs because I had convinced myself that people would hate me for it. Because I’d just be whining, because I’d just be begging, and that would be worse than anything.

    I think the difference is just in people’s heads. Begging implies a certain sense of desperation that goes against that narrative. That narrative that says you must be alone, stand on your own, be self sufficient in a way that people just aren’t. We all have needs that we can’t meet on our own.

    Sorry, that was longer and a bit more ranty than intended.

  • Cara

    when you ask you imply you are capable of giving to others. When you beg you imply you have nothing to give

  • Svpervert

    You only beg when you don’t have the right to ask.

  • Lironron4

    someone may have already commented something along the lines of this (haven’t yet read the comments) and I feel that it’s probably pretty obvious but just in case I’ll leave it here anyway: I think the difference between asking and begging is how vulnerable you make yourself in the process. While when begging you supposedly “have nothing to lose”, I think getting a no when begging is, well, not exactly a loss as much as something that can make someone fall apart. considering that to get to the point where you beg you’d already have to be, in some way already in the process of falling apart to begin with… so maybe what I mean is that by begging you make yourself a lot more susceptible to falling apart. dealing with a no when begging can be kind of like dealing with a no from your mommy as a very little kid, in the way that it feels, sometimes. also getting a yes when begging is I guess a lot more rewarding. it can be like getting your breath back. so I guess it goes both ways… asking is something that you do from a place that’s a lot more balanced and thought-through… a place that can handle a yes or a no pretty ok, because it’s not as weak a place (as when begging) to begin with…

  • Lydia Toro

    There’s a third possibility that can be hidden in the act of asking. And it involves the position and intent of the “asker.” Someone who has no power, might beg, someone who is an equal may simply ask, and someone who is in a position of power may tell. Everyone’s had a boss “ask” them to do something. And there’s always sociopaths who “ask” in such a way as to secure the desired outcome.

  • Mary Howell Govaars

    Asking is raw and emotional, like showing your scars to the world around you and hoping that no one rejects you for being real. It is scary and heart pounding that one you realize you have put your asking out into the world there is no taking back. Begging is just pure pain, you have been left open to the world with nothing to protect you, just your dissected nerves waiting to be tortured.

  • Dragos Stoica

    Asking is a possible way to get to the truth (your truth) or even The Truth as Socrates taught us. Begging is a surest way to receive a numbing delusion. Asking can get you killed (Socrates again). Begging can make you wish never to be born.

  • Sarah

    Asking is giving someone the chance to step over and help you. Begging is pestering someone so they have no choice but to provide assistance, and most likely just as a means to an end so they can have peace again. Asking lets someone give genuine help that they want to provide, begging does not.

  • JJ

    Begging involves emotional manipulation and in somewhat plays with who has power–the person begging may act as if the other person has the power, but in fact there’s a sneaky (possibly passive-aggressive) weilding of power by the person begging. Begging is assumes an unequal power structure.

    Asking assumes that what is given or done is freely given; asking gives the ask-ee a choice, and implies that if the request isn’t granted, that will be accepted as a valid choice.

  • lynnefavreau

    One aspect that came to mind is, asking infers reciprocity, an invitation to participate not predicated on moral obligation. Begging infers that you (the beg-ee) is privileged, you have something that is needed otherwise denied to them, the beggar, and only out of moral obligation would you consider granting the request. It’s the difference in pressure to comply. The answer to an asked question may not be examined as closely or judged as harshly as a denial of a begged request.

  • Amanda Goins

    When you “ask” someone something — you are receptive to any response. When you “beg” you are incessant and will only be satisfied if you get your desired response.

  • Kelle Martin

    I think the essence of the difference between the two things lies with the one who is asking/begging and those who give. Power is what tilts the balance. Asking, while passive, lives in a place of power. Simply being able to ask is a choice. One who asks is reliant but not dependent on being granted a request. Dorothy asked for the wizard’s help, but she had the power to get home the whole time! Begging transfers all power to the giver and therefore, she who begs is not only totally reliant on the giver but regardless of the outcome, powerless to another’s will.

  • Douglas Frederick

    Asking is acknowledging the other as a viable, interdependent being. It is an act of love, inviting another to join with you in creation. Begging is what we do when we have lost our vital connection with self and others, when dark clouds of desperation obscure our remembering that we are one.

  • Nick Cotton

    Asking or begging? Both transactions in pride,
    Where one side pays before the other decides,
    You expose where you’re weak to show where I’m strong,
    Then I choose to refuse or I play along,
    Asking or Begging? A difference in degree.
    In hopes that I’ll give, you show deference to me

  • janet rosado

    Asking carries hope behind it, begging carries a level of despair/desperation. When you ask for something, your heart and mind are open… when you beg, you stand behind a wall (or lay beneath a pile of your own crap) and already have some expectation of being denied (maybe you already asked and were denied, but more often you only thought about it so much that your evil monkey convinced you that asking would get you nowhere and now you are despairing) It’s got a different tone.. like think of kids, ones who ask for things in the store (mom can I have this snickers bar?) and the ones who just go right to begging (whiny tone and all, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease????!) Asking is usually specific too – you’ve taken the time to think about what it is you want/need… begging is often more vague (though not always… sometimes we’re fixated on something to the point of begging for it)

  • Maigan Lacy

    I am one of those people that hates asking. It’s something that makes me feel weak and I find it really hard to distinguish between the two. I think that asking is a reasonable thing to do, I think that sometimes it’s something people need to do. I think it’s something people should realise is okay. Begging seems to come from a more desperate place. I think that sometimes people beg if they don’t get what they asked for. Sometimes people beg because they truly need something, sometimes because they should be letting go of something. Having said that I am shocking at telling the difference when it applies to myself. Having to ask always feels like desperate begging to me and I try to avoid it.

  • s

    asking leaves no as an available option–if i ask and you say no, I’ll still like you just as much. begging only takes yes for an answer.

  • Katherine Marino

    Asking implies confidence in oneself and respect for the person you ask. It allows thecesoncbeing asked to be empowered to decide what is their best course of action. Whereas begging implies that the lines between individual accountability are blurred… It implies that the one person has an obligation to fufill another persons needs regardless of their individual opinion, and that if the request is NOT fulfilled that person has acted immorally.
    Katherine Marino

  • Melissa McAllister

    When you ask, you want to know or confirm something. When you beg, you’re in fear & you feel like your class and self worth fail in comparison to this fear in your heart… You let the person you’re begging see your weakness… And maybe you know this but your prefrontal cortex decides this is the only way. I pity myself and others when reduced to begging. I feel like a lot of the time we are at our lowest when on our knees looking to someone to save us.

  • Random_Ood

    Asking is the art of letting down your walls and showing how vulnerable you are at this moment. I’m here and I’m not OK and I need your help.

    While Begging is the slutty sister of asking. It the robotic asking response that lacks the heart or vulnerability. You have asked so many times that you’ve forgotten the core reason why you’re asking.

  • Gretchen

    Begging is an occupation and asking is not?

  • Anon

    On one hand the level if desperation. Though it could more appropriately defined as the attitude if the person being asked, not the person asking.

  • Rivka

    Asking is an act of need, begging is an act of desperation.

  • Dom BurningHand

    Asking- Begging. You have to step back and look at the situation to get the context. I asked you to take out the trash, I begged them to take me back. I asked for a raise, I begged for forgiveness. It comes down to words. We all use words improperly. We live and love and hid behind words. Who the fuck cares if there is a difference. Everything you say can be misconstrued by being taken out of context and out of situation. If you weren’t there you don’t know (absolute), you can guess or surmise or throw out big words to pretend you know, but you can’t really know. Words can be strong and powerful but have different meanings to different people. Keep on touching people the way you do…..( I made myself chuckle).

    You asked for a reply. I beg you to be true to yourself. In the words of Strongbad, “Keep on doing what you are doing!’

  • Katherine Salerno

    The difference between asking and begging is the same as the difference between Social engagement/intercourse among self defined individuals who have cultivated valuable resources to share and support social equality and Social Shaming among perceived other defined unequals who have contributed to the perpetuation of the same social inequalities.