Allison: “Don’t be shy, wonderful things can result from a simple message”

The following is a story from Allison, a Simbi member based in Austin, TX. Allison joined Simbi to “get back to the basics,” to a place one can “give, get, and grow.” Allison is a self-taught jack-of-all-trades and UT Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student. This story is about how a simple message led to her symbiotic success on Simbi.

I am a broke college student, so Simbi’s entire philosophy certainly appealed to me (especially the part where there’s no real money involved). I’ll admit, at first I had my doubts, but Simbi has proven to be a very fulfilling addition to my life, from helping me meet new friends, to connecting me with others who have the skills that I don’t. In this story, I would like to talk about my most successful Simbi deal to date.

I met Maria when she posted a request. We was looking for someone to make a week’s worth of lunches for her. I had been on Simbi about two months by then, and I thought “I cook delicious and healthy meals, I could do this!” so I sent her a message. We struck up a deal where I would cook her meals, and she would give me two hours of minimalism life-coaching in exchange.

Conveniently, we have similar tastes in food, so it was simple to fulfill her needs. I created a detailed menu listing all the ingredients that would go in each dish for Maria to choose what she would like to have for her lunches, and from that, I made a list of groceries for her to buy. It worked out serendipitously nicely, because the grocery list was made such that I would be able to provide some of the ingredients (such as rice, tortillas, and condiments) while there would be surplus in the groceries she bought (extra celery sticks, half an onion), resulting in an equivalent exchange if I kept the extra groceries.

For both of us, it was our first local Simbi exchange as all our previous exchanges have been virtual. We arranged to meet on a Thursday evening, and that night, she delivered groceries and tupperware containers to my apartment, and I received a life-coaching session. We hit it off right away, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I really enjoyed Maria’s company and the life-coaching was a remarkable experience I had never had before. I cooked her meals over the weekend, and she came to pick them up the next Monday morning.

In her words, it was “definitely a win-win for the both of us.”

As I mentioned previously, this exchange of one week’s worth of meals for two hours of minimalism life-coaching is my best Simbi deal to date. The key things for this success are communication and personal touch.


The importance of communication is self-explanatory. Maria and I texted and messaged one another frequently while we were arranging the meeting, and while I was completing my end of the deal by cooking. I would tell Maria about her menu options, customizability, and give her progress updates by sending her pictures, and she would respond promptly to my questions about her preferences. Without the constant communication, I would not have been able to cook towards her palate to the best of my abilities.

Personal touch

Personal touch is putting forth a little more effort and to leave your impression. Maria sent me a questionnaire before the life-coaching session that revealed to the both of us what I wanted to improve on and the best way of going about doing so. Then, upon delivering the cooked meals to her, I placed cute handwritten notes on top of each tupperware container to label what was inside. These small doings made each one of us feel individually cared for, which ended our Simbi deal on a good note.

As a platform, Simbi is a great way to give, get, and grow. Maria and I have been keeping in touch, and I went to a local minimalism meetup group with her earlier this week. Simbi is a constant subject in our conversations. My suggestions to newer Simbi members is simple:

“Don’t be shy when trying to make connections on Simbi; you may never know what wonderful things could result in a simple message.”

Allison H.

Simbiotic Stories are real anecdotes told by you and other Simbi community members. Tell us about your Simbi deals and experiences with other members. If your story is published, we’ll credit your account with 150 simbi. Submit your entries by starting a conversation with us via this link.


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