Asking for Help

March 4, 2020

Asking for Help

Most of us don’t like to ask for help. The more stressed we feel, the more likely we are say (or feel): “Oh, I’ll just do it myself!” These are generally the reason people think they can’t ask for help:

  • They fear looking “weak.” Asking for help is human. It is not a sign of weakness.
  • They worry about having to “owe” a favor. Most people don’t keep score. Many subscribe to the thought of “paying favors forward.” If they help you, you’ll help someone else another time.  But if someone does ask for a reciprocal favor, it may make you feel better about asking them another time.
  • They worry about “bothering” someone. Honestly, your good friends or co-workers will be delighted to have you specify what they can do to help. Those around you are generally aware if you’ve hit a bumpy patch. If you let them help you out, they’ll be delighted for guidance as to what they can do.

Asking for help is such a big issue that the Stanford Graduate School of Business has undertaken studies about it.

“Our research should encourage people to ask for help and not to assume that others are disinclined to comply,” says Frank Flynn, associate professor of organization behavior at Stanford GSB. “People are more willing to help than you think.”

The Best Way to Ask

Whether or not we have lupus, everyone hits a time when it is so much better to take a breath and ask for help. Here’s how to do so effectively:

Be specific. Don’t assume they’ll notice you are struggling.

  • If you’ve been sick, ask a neighbor if they could stop by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription your doctor has called in for you.
  • Ask a neighbor who loves cooking, if she would mind putting together a meal for you—it can just be extra of whatever is being prepared for the family.
  • Ask your teenager to walk the dog or unload the dishwasher. Teenagers are notorious for being oblivious to the world around them. Tell your son or daughter exactly what you need them to do. (Some families do well leaving reminder notes.)

When you ask for help, you are actually creating an opportunity for someone else to feel good. Many people actually feel happier when they are giving or receiving a gift or aid of some type. They will be glad you spoke up about what you needed.

Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it only means you are wise.