Asking for help…ugh. I hate it.
But what happens when you can’t do it alone?
Over the past few months I wasn’t able to do it alone and I had to ask for help.
When I moved from NJ to NY I found myself in the most difficult and anxiety provoking situation to date.
My lease was ending and I knew I was going to move into NYC. The plan was to stay at my friends NYC apartment until I found my own place that was dog friendly. The week before I needed to move from my NJ apartment my friend said it wasn’t going to work. He checked with building management and they would not accept my dogs, even for a temporary stay.
I reached out to everyone I knew to see if anyone could house my dogs for the time being, until I found our new place. No one was able to help. However the support I received was tremendous and I experienced an outpouring of love from friends.
When I felt I had no other options I got up the courage to ask a dear friend of mine if I could stay in her home. Her family too was in transition between residences and they weren’t able to take their pooch with them. Every day either herself or her husband had to return to the home and take care of the dog. My friend agreed and said we could stay. I was relieved beyond belief and so very grateful. As it turned out, my staying in their home allowed them a well needed break in their already maxed schedule plus their pooch had the company of my two dogs Colby and Chloe.
So why are so many of us afraid to ask for help or simply avoid it all together?
It really sucks. It’s difficult to ask. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing and definitely anxiety provoking. Right?
I’ve always been fiercely independent and I assumed asking for help would make my problem a burden to someone else or I would inconvenience them.
This goes way back for me…I can remember back as a child being afraid to ask my dad for anything. If I did, I was afraid it would upset him and he would leave. In fact he did leave. He left my mom and I when I was three. As a small child I probably thought it had everything to do with me – because that’s what young children do. In reality, it had very little to do with me and nothing about asking for something from him. This is a perfect example how early seeds are planted into our subconscious for long term patterns and avoidance behaviors are developed (By the way, this happens with our finances, our health and in our relationships).
If you tend to be an independent woman, which most of us are these days, we have the appearance we’ve got everything together. We do such a great job of showing what we want others to see that it’s often difficult to let our guard down. I know in the past there were times when I was going through some really tough things and I hoped for someone to notice and simply offer the help I needed. It didn’t happen. People typically won’t know what you need until you reach out and share what you’re going through. That takes vulnerability and courage.
So…Do you find it difficult to ask for help? If so, these may help.
Here are some tips when asking for help:
1. Be as clear as you can when asking for what you need. I know it’s tough but this makes it easier on the person you’re asking to know if they truly can help.
2. Have open communication. Identify the details such as how long, how much, and if borrowing money how will you repay and what time frame. This can always be changed with a honest conversation.
3. If something like money is involved put it in writing. You don’t want to tarnish a good friendship or end up on Judge Judy because confusion or resentment comes between you.
4. Go into it knowing they might say “No”. Don’t use persuasion, manipulation or guilt. Honor their response and don’t take it personally if they aren’t able to help.
If you are asked for help:
1. Recognize who’s doing the asking. What is your relationship like, are they trustworthy or is this a person who will take advantage of you?
2. Ask specific and clear questions. Make sure the parameters are identified to help you feel comfortable and everyones expectations are clearly laid out.
3. Don’t harass the person or make them feel bad. It’s probably already difficult enough for the person to ask for help. If you don’t feel comfortable with their request, say “No”. You may feel guilty or uncomfortable however you’ll save yourself from feeling resentment towards the other person later on.
4. Don’t feel obligated. Asking for help does not equal quid pro quo. If help is exchanged among friends don’t get wrapped up keeping a tally sheet. If it’s always one sided it might be time to look at your personal boundaries and start saying “No”.
What has your experience been around asking for help? Does it come easy or do you avoid it at all costs? Are you able to identify where the pattern started for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience.
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