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  • Writer's pictureaden sanlano

It’s Okay Asking for Help and Getting It

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Asking for help is tough. But to get through life, you have to do it all the time. But why is asking for help so hard? According to Psychology Today, the primary reason is fear. We fear that we’ll be turned down, laughed at, or revealed to be a fraud. Though these fears are usually unfounded, we are loath to ask for help because this seemingly simple act carries a number of high social risks: rejection, vulnerability, diminished status, and the inherent relinquishing of control.

As funny as this may sound, it remains a reason why some people find it difficult to ask a favor of others. You probably understand the law of reciprocity and are trying not to put yourself in a where you have to return a favor. Here are some simple tips to empower you to effectively ask for the help you need, and ensure that you get a yes in response to your thoughtful request.

1. Ask briefly and specifically. Asking for and offering help can only be productive under one crucial condition: clear communication. Don’t use language that implies they have been instructed to assist or have no choice but to help. The feeling of satisfaction that comes with genuine generosity derives from the helper’s conscious choice to give their time, energy, or expertise to someone or something else. They should feel that they are offering the assistance of their own volition.

2. Avoid apologies and disclaimers Don’t apologize for asking for help. No one gets excited about a task that the asker feels the need to apologize for. People fail to understand how uncomfortable they are making the other person feel with their apologetic request. It’s common for people to try to prove that they are not greedy or incapable when trying to help. This leads them to sound apologetic when trying to make that request. Well, remember that people need to find satisfaction in helping you. But when you do this, you make them feel uncomfortable and unmotivated making them less likely to help you.

3. Make it personal, not transactional. Don’t ask for help over email or text. Though it’s easier to send a written request, it’s also a lot easier to say no to one. Make your request more personal by explaining why the person’s skills or expertise make them uniquely suited to this task. And while text-based communication can sometimes be the only option, you should aim for face-to-face communication (where possible) as that is most likely to get them to say yes.

4. Follow up with results and Show appreciation Beyond expressing your gratitude, you should follow up with the helper to share the tangible results of their aid. As much as we’d like to think that acts of generosity are their own reward, the reality is that people long to feel effective. We want to feel that the work we do and the help we give matter. Take the time to show the people who help you why their support not only matters to you, but how it makes a larger impact on your life, work, or community.

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