Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as illustrated in the Instagram post above? I would dare to say, yes. We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we need help but struggled to ask for or accept it.
Each person has a different reason for not asking for help. But often, the outcome of not confiding in someone is devastating. Or contra-productive at best.
Sometimes, we feel like we’re alone in our situation despite having people around who’d be glad to give us a helping hand. As a matter of fact, one of the most effective socialization skills out there is to ask someone for help. People like to be asked for help for a variety of reasons. And when done right, they will gladly help you and they’d feel good about themselves for doing so. But when done wrong, their reasons to not help you will outweigh their reasons to help you. Curious enough, the people that need help the most are the people that never ask for help.
Why people don’t ask for help
There are several reasons why people don’t ask for help. Some of the reasons are as follows:
Some people are too proud to ask for help because it would make them feel vulnerable and hurt their ego.
Lack of trust
People that don’t trust other people easily or their trust has been betrayed before might be wary of asking for help.
Sometimes you can easily get the job done by yourself, sometimes it is better to ask for help. Some people overestimate themselves and end up with unnecessary workloads because they were overconfident in their abilities.
Some people feel like they don’t deserve the help they need. Or they think other people don’t value them enough to help them.
Difficulty getting help
Sometimes, the help you need might be difficult or unusual enough that you find it easier to learn to do the task yourself. In my first year of high school, I asked my natural sciences teacher a question. She came to school the next day and handed me an encyclopedia.
Why people like to help
There are some reasons why some people like to help. And it is not always for altruistic purposes. Whatever their reasons are, as long as they don’t take advantage of the person they’re helping, it’s okay. If they do, their goodwill is no longer help, but exploitation. Some of the reasons people like to help:
To boost their self-confidence
Some people like to help because it makes them feel useful and important which makes them feel good about themselves. Other people like to help because it makes them feel like they’re better than someone else (boosts their self-confidence.)
It gives them a chance to interact with you on a deeper level
One of the best ways to get to know someone is by meeting their need. The more personal the need is, the more you will know about them. Some people love to help because it gives them an opportunity to get to know other people on a deeper level.
It provides an opportunity to overcome an obstacle
Research proved that one of the major triggers of the so-called midlife crisis is lack of challenge. This is one more proof that constantly overcoming obstacles does improve life satisfaction. And people are more motivated to overcome an obstacle when they have a chance to help someone in need.
It motivates them to be better
Back in school days, I did better when working in a group or when a classmate asked for my help. I remember working much harder and getting better grades in groups than when I worked alone. Once in the university, I spent 9 hours straight trying to solve a coding problem when a classmate asked for my help. I had previously decided to not do this specific problem because I was exhausted. Who knew I still had 9 hours of energy left.
How to make people want to help you
Have you ever noticed you’re more willing to help some people more than others?
You don’t only choose friends over strangers, sometimes also between loved ones. And it’s not because you love one person more than the other.
Why is this so, and how can you make people be more willing to help you?
Make sure you need the help
Some people ask for help for the sake of it, as a form of interaction, because they’re too lazy to do the task themselves, or simply because they underestimate themselves.
People like to feel useful when they offer their help. But they don’t like to feel used. When you ask for help, do it mindfully and make sure it’s about something that really matters to you.
Nobody likes to use their hard-earned competence to help a lazy, incompetent person. Don’t ask someone to do for you something you’re too lazy to do for yourself while you sit back and watch. Help them help you. Prove to them that you’re willing to put more work in, according to your abilities. Sometimes, no matter how competent you are, with help, you will be able to do the task faster and more easily.
Offer value equivalent to or more than the help you need
People will be more willing to help you if you are capable of offering more value than the help you need. Take Bill Gates, for example. Anyone that knows who he is will be more willing to let him spend the night on their couch — without receiving anything in return — in comparison with a homeless person that’s willing to pay them to spend the night in their garage.
Don’t live the lifestyle of a consumer. Be a creator of value.
Be willing to accept help
Some people are as bad at receiving help as others are at asking for it. Some don’t feel like they deserve the help that is offered to them, others are too greedy and this makes them feel uncomfortable receiving help as they think the person offering the help is as greedy as they are and has a hidden agenda. The better you are at accepting help, the more happy people will be to offer you help.
One of the best things to do when you’re happy is to tell the people that you love how happy you are. If someone helps you, express your appreciation in the way they’d understand how helpful they had been to you. Don’t take anything for granted. As I said earlier, people like to feel useful. When you wholeheartedly express your appreciation and gratitude, you’re telling them how useful they’ve been. That will give them the feeling of happiness that no amount of money can buy. Money can buy help, yes, but not gratitude. You can neither buy nor sell gratitude, so, be generous with it.
Figure out if they can help you, first
Before asking for help, it is important to know if the person you want the help from can give it to you. No matter how sure you are, ask them to confirm. If you ask a person for help and this puts them in a tight corner, they might continue to be willing to help you in the future but they might not be happy to do so.
Don’t push it (unless you really have to.)
Each person’s style of asking for help is different. Same as the style of the people receiving the request. For some people, they like to hear what’s up with you then offer you the help they can. For other people, you must tell them exactly what you need. Some people like to be given space, and they will help you according to their convenience. While other people need you to motivate them into helping you. Human nature is complex, isn’t it?
Some people live miserably because they don’t ask for help. It doesn’t have to be so. If you live your life accordingly, and you know when and how to ask for help, your life will be improved more than you can imagine.
You can start with “I need your help” or “can you help me” or “please help me.” The rest will come easily.
If you ask for help but you don’t get feedback soon, gently issue a reminder after a while. They could have gotten distracted by something else. Don’t get upset and think you’ve been abandoned. Even if that’s the case, you’re the person in need of help, it’s your responsibility to do what you can to get it.
Asking for help is a more friendly side to the art of negotiation, which is one of the most difficult arts to master in life. But if you want to live an extraordinary life, this is a non-negotiable art you must master.
The better you are at asking for and receiving help, the better you will be at getting what you want and the better your life will be in general.
Start practicing today and ask me for help, it’s free. What can I do for you?