Previous research conducted in the United States has demonstrated that help-seekers fail to appreciate the embarrassment and awkwardness (i.e., social costs) targets would experience by saying “no" to a request for help. Underestimation of such social costs leads help-seekers to underestimate the likelihood that others will comply with their requests. We hypothesized that this error would be attenuated in a collectivistic culture. We conducted a naturalistic help-seeking study in the U.S. and China and found that Chinese help-seekers were more accurate than American help-seekers at predicting compliance. A supplementary scenario study in which we measured individual differences in collectivistic and individualistic orientations within a single culture provided converging evidence for the association between collectivism and expectations of compliance. In both cases, the association between collectivism (culturally defined or measured) and predicted compliance was mediated by participants' ratings of the social costs of saying “no".