How to Treat Friends Who Help You Move

Asking a friend to help you move is a big deal. Moving takes time and effort, and in the end, it's all for you. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips for how to properly treat friends who help you relocate to a new home.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #269

Tip #2: Schedule Properly

As I said in Tip #1, it’s proper to assess the actual move prior to calling a team to help out. Two friends can’t help you move a 4-bedroom house to another 4-bedroom house in a day. Just can't be done (and shouldn't, really). Also, moving multiple items that need to be loaded up and driven to another destination will in fact take a lot of time. So when you plan for a move, the first step is (say it with me)...PLAN!  Don’t wait until your friends arrive to start boxing up your items. Don’t leave everyone to go get the moving truck. These are simple things that fall under you role as the ringleader. If you need someone’s help but when they arrive you’re not ready to start, you are wasting their time. It may be your move but it’s their time.

Think of a move like planning a party.  I’d schedule a party for a time when I know all my guests could make it. I'd send out an invitation weeks ahead of time and I’d make it for a day/time that worked for everyone before assuming they were free.  I wouldn’t tell people that a party would take place tomorrow at 11am. No one would come and I’d be all alone in my party hat. Same thing goes for a move. Timing is key, and making sure you pick a time that works for your friends is essential in getting proper assistance with the move.

When you ask for help, you should first ask when they are available. If you prefer to move on a Saturday but they can’t until Sunday, well, that’s the day. But let's play Devil’s advocate and say that Saturday is the only day that works for you. So then you have to give them plenty of notice about that day and why it has to be that day. And don't argue with me, you do have plenty of notice when you’re moving. Moves don’t happen on the fly (for the most part), so when you know you have to be out on a certain date, start to gather the troops immediately. It’s never too early to plan, ever.

Tip #3: Reward the Team

When I was a sophomore in college, my brother started grad school and recruited me to help him and his roommate move into their new apartment. Since this was years before I became Modern Manners Guy, for me moving consisted of trash bags filled with clothes being squished into whatever car was available to borrow for the day.

However, when I pulled up for my brother's moving day, he had a team of eager friends ready to go and a well-planned list of tasks and items. Everything was boxed and labeled. It was easy (not to mention considerate). And in the end, my brother and roommate showed their gratitude with drinks and food for everyone. They had a stocked cooler filled with waters and ordered a few large pizzas to snack on between trips.  Afterwards, we were all rewarded with some refreshing beers to cheer a job well done. 

This experience made me totally rethink the entire concept of moving. I remembered this lesson for the future when it was my turn to do the asking. As I said in the beginning, between college and my home now, I’ve had numerous moves (of all shapes and sizes) and each time I made sure to show my appreciation to the friends who selflessly spent their time carrying boxes and lifting couches.

Take it as a given that you should provide ample food and drinks throughout the process. And if you are using other people's vehicles to transport your stuff, you should reimburse them for the gas that was used, Helping someone move is karmic - if you do good for others, they’ll do good for you. But if you don't....beware. Karma has a long memory.

Do you have a great story about a move gone bad?  Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

And check out more annoying coworker types and how to handle them in my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available in paperback, ebook, and even audiobook format!

Girls with boxesman with boxes, and couple with pizza images courtesy of Shutterstock.