We are stubborn, fearful of rejection, and don’t want to “bother” anyone, or at least that’s how I feel when I think of asking anyone for anything. I get anxious even just asking my roommate/best friend/therapist if I can eat some of her chips. Okay, so, normally instead of some I eat them all, but that’s besides the point!
It dawned on me recently that while my dream is mine alone, I am not alone in bringing it to fruition. I can already count a dozen people that have had a hand in this blog from reviewing concepts to proofreading posts, and even promoting. I owe a great debt to each of them for their solicited assistance.
I might not have made this blog live if I hadn’t womaned up and asked Becky Sarwate to take a look and give me some feedback. I have found it to be true that most people are willing to help. All you need to do is be respectful, direct and work up the courage to ask.
There are two caveats. One is to make sure that you are making a reasonable request. Consider that this person is taking time that could have been spent elsewhere to help you accomplish your goal. Be specific in your request so they know what agreeing entails.
The second is to be grateful. Appreciate their kindness and the next time someone asks you for help before you say no graciously consider the request. Do not let the magic of these simple exchanges fall away!
Here’s some tools to help you ask away:
7 Effective Ways to Ask for Help (and Get It): I love number four the “Foot in the Door” or “Door in the Face.” Ask a smaller question to get the chance to ask the bigger one!
5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help: Cannot get over how excellent number five is: create a culture where asking for help is encouraged.
Asking For Help Reveals Strength, Not Weakness: “The truth is we all have gifts to share -” YES!
Savvy Psychologist: How to Ask for Help: Effective tools to use when the anxiety about the ask begins to set in.
2 Words That Make Asking for Help a Lot Easier: I wasn’t sure what the words were, but this makes sense. Those words connect with the human instinct to help those in need.
I couldn’t close a post about asking for help without mentioning Chester Bennington’s suicide. The weight of losing someone so pivotal in my survival as a teen and seeing the collective suffering of others has been tragic this week. One question keeps kicking around my brain, what can we do about it?
As much as this post is about someone asking for help, I think some of these techniques might be able to apply to those surrounding someone who’s struggling. We often know something is wrong, but don’t know where to begin or how to get someone to open up. Maybe if we follow that “foot in the door” method and start with some small asks with friends (ex. how has work/school/hobby been lately? what do you want for dinner? how is your family?) these might open a space to ask the bigger more personal questions. There’s so much stigma around mental illness that reaching out can be an insurmountable task, perhaps we can help those we love towards that step.
I wrote about my own struggles with suicide previously in Bouncing Back From The Blues. Sometimes my days are filled with suicidal thoughts, and other times, like now, I am lucky enough to only have a few a week. You are not alone. Have hope. Reach out. We need you.