Close this please

CoryCory New Scotland
edited December 2017 in General
When someone asks you to be a reference, do you ask what for?  (It wasn't a job reference, which I had initially assumed).

Someone is mad at me for saying OK, but asking what the reference was for.

Comments

  • MichelleMichelle California
    I think it's perfectly acceptable to ask what it is for.  If you're putting your name out there, you should know why.
    TraviscdriveBrawn
  • I think that's pretty weird. If nothing else, it's a pretty natural question to ask in a sort of "making conversation" kind of way. Also, references for different things require answers to different questions. Knowing what it's about is just allowing you to be better prepared to give the best possible answers. In my book at least, it's really weird that they're mad. For a whole host of reasons, it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask.
    Brawn
  • Not sure why they would be mad. It allows you to “prepare” for the eventual phone call/email. When people have asked me they always tell me what it’s for though. 
    Brawn
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    Apparently I was "being a dick".





    Disclaimer: I sleep with this person.


  • Cory said:
    Apparently I was "being a dick".





    Disclaimer: I sleep with this person.


    was it the way you asked? or that you asked? for me Id ask if I wasn't told so that I could be prepared for the future contact. Never know how some people will react when you ask for more information.  Some people think everything should be carte blanche *shrug*
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    It was that I asked
  • Did they tell you what it was? 
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    Yes
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I was going to say- that person shouldn't receive your reference. But now that I know it was your girlfriend, it puts another spin on it and I am wondering what the tone of the conversation was. But it's a little odd to use your partner as a reference anyway; it should be a professional contact. 
    JaimieT
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    I was going to say- that person shouldn't receive your reference. But now that I know it was your girlfriend, it puts another spin on it and I am wondering what the tone of the conversation was. But it's a little odd to use your partner as a reference anyway; it should be a professional contact. 
    Well he also said it wasn't a job reference, which I don't know who else would ask for one other then a school maybe. 

    I mean most of these job references aren't really checked anyway. my boss once joked to me that he only wants references because if you can't even make up three names and numbers you're a hermit and not suitable for the job... 

    I can honestly say that in school applications, job applications, etc my references have never even been called. A friend of mine listed me as a reference for a security clearance investigation and when I got a call they only asked me to confirm I knew the person and for how long. 
  • Cory said:
    Yes

    So what was the reference for, if not for a job application?

    And when you asked why this angered him or her so much, what did they answer?
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I was going to say- that person shouldn't receive your reference. But now that I know it was your girlfriend, it puts another spin on it and I am wondering what the tone of the conversation was. But it's a little odd to use your partner as a reference anyway; it should be a professional contact. 
    Well he also said it wasn't a job reference, which I don't know who else would ask for one other then a school maybe. 

    I mean most of these job references aren't really checked anyway. my boss once joked to me that he only wants references because if you can't even make up three names and numbers you're a hermit and not suitable for the job... 

    I can honestly say that in school applications, job applications, etc my references have never even been called. A friend of mine listed me as a reference for a security clearance investigation and when I got a call they only asked me to confirm I knew the person and for how long. 
    Our office checks references 100% of the time before hiring someone, and it's possible to be rejected based on what references say. 
  • For what it's worth, I've been asked to be a reference maybe 10-20 times over the years (I think just jobs and rental apps). and I think I would put the percentage of actual calls received at about 30%. I'm pretty sure all of the follow ups were job references.
  • I’ve been asked for references before in order to purchase a dog, take home a shelter animal, rent an apartment, apply for a loan, job, etc.  It’s possible I suppose at times that the person  asking you to be the reference expects you to be flattered that they value your opinion of them that much and not question any of it.
  • If my wife asked me to be a reference, my response would be "sure, what for?".  So, I think asking what you're being a reference for is perfectly acceptable just so you know how to answer should the person seeking out the reference start asking you questions.  Last thing you want is to be completely caught off guard and have someone calling you and start asking questions about the person and you're response is "wait, what's this all about?" to the caller.  Then, that reflects somewhat poorly on the original person that asked you to be a reference.

    Now, if your significant other said "hey, can you be a reference for me" and your response was "what for" (coming off more like "why should I do this for you?") without also saying yes, then yeah, I can get why their reaction would be to think that you're being a dick.  But still, realistically, they should be telling you what you're going to be a reference for so you have all of the information. 

    Brawn
  • Mofojones333Mofojones333 Fort Worth, Texas
    Will you be a reference for me? Job related. I would want nothing but a wonderful positive review.
    WinstonSmith
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    If I ever criticized someone about a way they lived their life, in the past or present, and they asked for a reference and I said, "What for?" I could understand them thinking that maybe I was still thinking that there were aspects of their life I couldn't give them a positive reference for. And people get defensive about that.
    Mofojones333
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I kind of think this is more of a relationship issue than a reference issue. 
    Mofojones333FlukesJaimieT
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited December 2017
    Nah mate, your SO is being a bit of a knob. It’s absolutely not unreasonable to ask what a reference is for. In fact, that would be my first question if someone asked me. 
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    Could be a reference for a few things.....like I used my dad as a reference when I bought a new (to me) car a few weeks ago.  You know, in case I high tail it out of town.

    I've been a reference for a bail bond applicant before.  I didn't ask and assumed it was for a job. But it was for bail.  And I felt kinda not cool about that to be honest, but it was a long time ago and I'm over it.  Water under the fridge.  
  • Mofojones333Mofojones333 Fort Worth, Texas
    I was only kidding. I guess sarcasm is hard to read. Haha
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    Cory said:
    Yes

    So what was the reference for, if not for a job application?

    And when you asked why this angered him or her so much, what did they answer?
    It was for a small loan, which I asked what that was for, which really angered them.

    Maybe I shouldn't have asked that, I don't know, but I thought we could be more open with each other (I try to never hold anything back).
  • michielterlouwmichielterlouw Helsinki
    edited December 2017
    I think in these situations it's always hard to know what really happened and how both parties perceived it. So much depends on the tone, the body language, the history between you two ... which none of us are privy to.

    If I try to speculate how the other person may have perceived it. Maybe to them, it felt as if your question suggested that your willingness to give the reference depended on what they needed the loan for. As in: "Well, I would be willing to be your reference, but only if I believe you have a good reason to get a loan".

    If my wife asked me if I happened to have a 10 Euro note with me, and my response was "What do you need 10 Euro for?" .... she would most definitely get a bit annoyed and answer "To buy stuff. Duh". The thing is: she's a grown-up woman, so it would be patronizing if I double-checked her plans like that.

    Perhaps in your case, "What's the loan for?" sounded like you were judging their decision (even if that wasn't your intention)


    Brawn
  • P.S. I'd be careful with the (forced) openess. People have complicated defense mechanism to deal with their fears and insecurities. If one person is more reserved than the other, it doesn't mean they are less commited to the relationship. Perhaps you have simply discovered a boundary, and this is an opportunity to show them you respect those.
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