Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's Your Take on Asking for Help?

How do you feel about asking for help?
  • Do YOU ask for help when you need it?
  • How do you feel when other people ask YOU for help?
  • Do YOU think asking for help is a sign of weakness?
Once upon a time, I used to think that if I tried harder, I could be perfect. Okay, not perfect ... exactly. No one's perfect--everyone knows that. But close to perfect. Real close.

Which meant I had to do everything exactly right. And alone. Because needing help was one thing, but asking for it? That was something else. When you ask for help you admit, out loud, and in public, you're inadequate. Right?

WRONG! A wise person pointed out to me that you alienate people when you don't ask for help. People think you don't need them ... because they can't live up to your high standards. Or you don't want the help of other people because ... they can't live up to your high standards.

Here's another way of looking at it: If you do everything on your own, you're a one-man band. When the time comes to make music, you're a melody without harmony: one-dimensional, flat.

Asking for help doesn't mean you're inadequate, it means you're asking for help. It means you'd like the input and assistance of another person or persons. It means you embrace teamwork and you consider yourself to be human. In other words,  you don't poop vanilla ice cream.

People who poop vanilla ice cream alienate people all the time, don't they? They're a pain in the ... well, you get it. Our bodies simply weren't meant to store all that ice cream at 98.6 degrees.

Seriously, when you ask for help, you indicate you're open, honest, and human. Other people can relate to you and are more willing to offer you the assistance you need. They're relaxed with you because you are human ... just like them.

Yes, there are some people (and bosses) who will view your request for assistance as a weakness. I'm thinking their bathrooms double as ice cream parlors.


  1. No I do not always ask for help when I need it. Sometimes this decision has worked to my benefit, allowing me to learn and grow while at other times, the decision has worked to my detriment, making situations even more difficult to handle.

    How I feel when other people ask me for help varies because it depends on whether or not I'm in a giving mood and whether or not I am actually in a position to help those in need (for instance, if you just got off of a plane here from's going to be hard for me to give you directions to the nearest restaurant if both of us only speak our native language!) and whether or not the person asking for help is truly in need of it and truly wanting to help themselves.

    Yes, I often feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness but that is all relative to the circumstances surrounding the need and also what led up to the need in the first place. I would be more willing to help someone who suffered loss of belongings or loved ones due to some kind of disaster or someone who lost their job unexpectedly and suddenly was homeless for a little while than I would be to help someone who refuses who get help for their substance abuse, yet continues to expect their friends and/or family to foot the bill for their 3, 4, 5, and 6 kids to cover their living expenses.

    Your post was a helpful read. It also has a nice blend of practical wisdom and humor....a recipe for getting readers to pay attention and keep coming back :)

    I'm glad to have found your blog during the Post Challenge Challenge of Alee Bird's A to Z.

    The Madlab Post

  2. Nicole, Thanks for sharing. It's helpful to me (pun intended) to collect other people's viewpoints and perspectives. And thanks for the kind commments.