Asking for Help

In an effort to avoid being a burden or annoyance to co-workers, friends, and loved ones, do you ever stop yourself from asking for help? Maybe you need clarification on someone’s expectations, have hit a roadblock with a project, or are struggling in an area of your personal life. Even though you know deep down you can’t go this alone, does it feel uncomfortable to reach out for assistance? 

Heidi Grant’s Ted Talk explores her research about asking for help, as well as concrete steps to get better at doing it. Remember that like most things in life, changing habits takes time, patience, and practice. Bring an awareness to your current patterns of asking for help and consider practicing new ways to get your needs met. 

Steps to asking for help effectively:

1. Acknowledge that you need help, and ask for it out loud. 

2. Don’t fall into the trap of the “illusion of transparency.” (Other people can’t read our minds!)

3. When you ask for help, be clear on the kind of help you want, and why you want it. 

4. Avoid adding in disclaimers, apologies, and bribes. 

5. Keep clear boundaries between strangers who provide you with services (for a cost) from friends who do things to help you (for free). 

6. Find a way to ask for help in person or via a phone call. 

7. When someone agrees to help you, follow up with them afterward and let them know their help positively impacted you. 

8. Remember that asking for help reveals your humanness--we all need each other.