Asking For Help and Why I Struggle With It

2009 August 17
by Grace Boyle

It’s hard for me to ask for help.

I recently had to move out of my house into a new apartment and maybe it’s because I’m stubborn and pride myself on my independence but I told myself I would just do it alone. I was even moving in with a friend and she willingly employed some of our mutual friends to help her/us (she had more stuff than me) but I still kept my mouth shut about help.

I eventually ended up asking my cousin because I needed his truck for my bed, new dresser and couch that we were picking up but 1) he is my cousin/family and 2) I felt comfortable because it was absolutely necessary. If I had a truck I would probably attempt moving all that on my own.

The Giver

I have no problem giving. I’ve helped people move that I’ve just met, because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s part of who I am. I was raised that way to give back but I assume whether it’s a phone call in the middle of the night due to troubling times to or an evening of heavy moving…well, I’m hesitant and don’t want to be a bother. I’ve also noticed there are certain people I’m close to that I am able to ask for help with ease. I think it’s because we have a strong, foundational relationship. It’s established that we will help each other, for life.

Undoubtedly, my friends want to shake me. Verbally my two closest girlfriends from college recently laid the smack down (in the kindest and most necessary way) that there’s no time they would say “no,” to me. They never have in fact. They know I would do the same for them. It’s a two way, healthy friendship. I have their trust.

My friend continued, “I know you’re a giver, not a taker…but you have to take from us from time to time. We know you give back, even when you don’t think you’re doing it.”

Asking for help is a widespread fear

Turns out, I’m not the only one. M. Nora Klaver, author of “MayDay! Asking for Help in Times of Need” believes there are many reasons people globally are scared to ask for help. The primary reasons are: not wanting to seem weak, needy or incompetent.

A New York Times article, “Why is Asking For Help So Difficult,” suggests proper ways to ask for help: ask in advance, be clear in what you need, be concise and do so without making the person you ask feel guilty. [Okay, note to self, good pointers]

I think the most important thing to remember is that most people want to help and actually find gratification from it. Psychologist, Dr. Deb reinforces, “Asking for help creates an atmosphere of empowerment. It communicates to others that, while you may not have the answers, you are willing to find them and make things better.”

Just like saying, “I don’t know,” is okay to admit, asking for help is part of human nature. I’ve said it before: we’re human, not machines. Everyone needs help and I need to remember that where I’ve gotten today has been because of the good-will, kindness and help of others. I too, give back so I should realize it’s a full circle.

These past two weeks have helped me learn my lesson (slowly but surely, I’m still stubborn). Currently, I’m learning to ask more.

Do you or someone you know find it difficult to ask for help? Why do you think it’s hard to ask?

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  • Kittie

    I’m also one that has a hard time asking for help. It’s ruining my relationship with my husband. Any advice is welcome.

  • Bianka Toth

    I just got here because I had a mini break down over the fact that I had to ask my neighbour to look after my cat while I go to visit my family. Why is it so hard to ask for favours? It was bothering me for weeks then left it last minute, I called her I was shaking, my head was burning up and felt like crying the whole time. She said it’s not a problem for her and she’s happy to help but still, it physically hurts, I feel like I got kicked in the head :( why is it such a big deal??

  • Nicholas Nelmsoverholtzer

    By accepting help from others, you allow them the joy of giving. You give them the happiness that you get from helping people.

  • Vignesh

    Good to know I am not the only one. Well for me i have been let independent from my young age. I took my own decisions from studying, career choice and stuff. I was always a giver and didnt realize till late that i could have my life a lot easier if i just opened my mouth. And did i atleast change? Nope!

    I find it so difficult to open my mouth and say those words “I need help”. I get so overwhelmed that i give a very complicated picture of what i am seeking help for. Or i feel totally lame and stupid in front of the person i am seeking help for. And in other case, i feel a lot obligated to the person who helps me. Its good to be obligated, but even if that person(friend) does something wrong, i sulk it inside and become very emotional.

  • conon

    its really toughy to be alone and i now cause i live alone and i need help some time but thier is no body to rely on