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August 27, 2023

Friday Five: Five Tips When Asking for Help

Just recently I offered help to someone in a surprise medical situation that was upending her life. She replied with ‘I would feel bad if you did that for me’. As a veteran of many life changing situations where I have been in need of help, I have helped others, and facilitated help networks, I have learned a few vital things.

People Love to Help. (When they can.)


Be Specific with Your Requests

As much as people like to help, they want to know that their help is truly helpful and not creating more work for you. So instead of ‘We could use some food’, try ‘On Wednesday night would you be able to drop off a meal for dinner? I can give you a list of three things we like that are easy to make.’ Or instead of ‘I don’t have the time to do anything’ try, ‘Would you be able to go to the dry cleaner for me this week at your convenience? I don’t have the time to get there with all my medical appointments.’

Spread the Joy.

As much as people do love to help others, there is also a point at which they need to take care of their own lives as well. Try spreading your support circle as wide as you can and rotating the requests. Or better yet, ask your closest friend/family member to be the asker and give them a list of names and needs. That way you can be relieved of the mental task of balancing out who has done what and when.

Make It Easier.

If you are going to be needing help for an extended period of time, make it easier for yourself and everyone involved in helping. -Ask 1 or 2 trusted friends/family members to be the facilitators -Use virtual tools to coordinate so everyone is in the know (as simple as a shared Google Doc, or sign up for an app such as Meal Train or What Friends Do)

Remember to Say Thank You

People like to help for the sake of helping, and for the ‘thank you’ to know their efforts made a difference. If using a group app, you can post a broad thank you to everyone involved with updates on your journey, or ask your facilitator to do it for you. A simple verbal ‘thank you’ or a quick text. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, no card and stamp, just 2 words- thank you. And know that they were happy to help you, and one day, you will be happy to help them. I’m not sure why it is ingrained in our culture to be so self-sufficient, but can we all agree that it’s ok to ask for help? And it’s ok to admit we need help? And that we enjoy helping others when we can? Let’s start a movement to make asking for help a healthy choice.

Meet Sara Kelly

Sara Kelly is CEO-MOM of her home in Upstate NY and runs Your Aligned Home, a home management consulting business. Her passion for home management, reducing stress, and most of all, helping others, is what led her to this work. Find out all the ways she can help you at YourAlignedHome.com. You can also listen to her podcast No Shame in the Home Game, the podcast that cares about how your home feels not looks.


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