Years ago, I dated a lawyer, and it always irritated me that when we would go somewhere socially someone would inevitably come up to get some free legal advice. One time I said something to someone who then responded, “Hey, if he’s in that line of work, he should expect that kind of thing.”

Well, yes, in a way for friends and family. But why should anyone give away a service for which he or she would normally charge? And why should someone be expected to do it in a social environment?

Of course, this is a question faced by IT pros as well. I can’t imagine that there’s an IT pro out there who has not been in the position of mentioning what he or she does for a living and then having someone casually say, “I’ve been having some problems with my computer…”

I’d like to get your viewpoint on the subject. Please take the poll below and let me know how you feel about giving free tech advice to near strangers in a social situation.