Asking for help- Why is it so darn hard?!?
There are many different reasons why people have trouble asking for help. If you’re shy and don’t have a lot of experience asking for help, then of course it will feel awkward. Sometimes people have trouble asking for help because it undermines their feeling of being in control of their life; of being an independent, self-sufficient person. Or maybe you struggle with being assertive. Or maybe you just can’t imagine that anyone would want to help you! People who are depressed will often have this problem.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is ok to ask for help, and it doesn’t mean you’re needy or stupid, lazy, or anything else other than a human being! We all need help from time to time. None of us know everything or have it all together 100% of the time.
Make it Easier to Ask for Help
So, what will help make it easier to ask for help? Try some of these suggestions…
1. Remember how good it feels to help someone else? Chances are that when someone else helps you, they get that good feeling too! So, although you might think you’re being a burden to someone, you might instead be helping boost their mood. People really do like to help others. Think of this next time you’re having trouble asking.
2. Think of all your friends and family and coworkers. Now make up a list of people who you think wouldn’t mind helping you. Consider these your “Help Squad”!!!! When you next need help, approach these people. You’ve already decided that they’re helpful people!
3. Remind yourself that you have “Paid it forward” by already being helpful in lots of situations! Remember when you babysat for your sister? Or helped your college roommate move? Or volunteered at the homeless shelter? Maybe you lent that tool (or cup of sugar) to your neighbor? Or even the dozens of times you held the door open for the person behind you. It all counts.
4. Practice in the mirror asking in an assertive manner! We’ll talk more about this in a future blog, but in the meantime, look yourself in the eye and simply ask for what you need. Try not to make lots of excuses, don’t apologize, and try to be specific. I’m not saying be bossy or demanding, just be direct. Think of it as being the middle ground between the 2 extremes. And afterward, don’t forget to thank the person for their help!
5. Don’t forget that you can negotiate with the person you’re asking to make it easier for them. Maybe it’s easier for them on Tuesday evening. Or maybe they can only help with part of the project. That sort of thing. It never hurts to ask.
6. Graciously and politely accept if someone says no. They don’t have to help you after all! Just thank them for considering your request and move on. You don’t need to feel embarrassed at all. Maybe they’re just busy or they really, really hate doing the thing you asked. Who knows. But be proud of yourself for asking anyways when it wasn’t easy.
So, the next time you need some help, don’t forget to try some of these suggestions! Remember, we ALL need help sometimes, and really, asking for help is a sign of strength.
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