We all need a little help sometimes. There are moments where all it takes is a small assist. Other times, you need lots of resources to get you out of a dark, deep hole. Sometimes, it feels like help is hard to find.
On the other hand, have you ever noticed that there are some people who always have a long line of people willing to help? They don’t need help very often, but when they do, lots of assistance shows up. There’s a reason for that… It’s all in the way they respond.
You might need professional support, money, a borrowed item, a hide-out, or advice. Maybe you asked for help, maybe you didn’t. Regardless of the type of help you need, there are only a few basic responses for colleagues, friends, family and even total strangers.
Let’s take these one at a time…
Yes, with Gratitude – The best response to any offer of help, solicited or unsolicited, is “yes, thank you.” The other person is offering you their time, resources or both. The best way to honor that kind of generosity is with a heartfelt, “yes!” Make people feel your gratitude with a “thank you” now, and with reciprocal help when they need something later. You might not be ready for the help right away, and you can say that. You might believe that only a portion of their offer will suffice, and you can say that. But finding a way to say “yes”, graciously, is the best way to ensure that people keep offering.
No, with Gratitude – The next best answer is “no, thank you.” Of course, the devil is in the details here. It’s important to really express your gratitude for the offer. Thank and praise the person who made the offer. Thank them in front of other people, mentioning their generosity. The “no” is of much less consequence than the “thank you” . People should feel sincere thanks for the offer in your response. This too reminds people that it’s easy and enjoyable to help you.
No, with Resentment – You know, there are people who butt into your business and offer advice or help you didn’t want. Chances are, you feel a little resentful that they offered “help” to begin with. Or maybe you asked for money for training, and they offered to loan you a dusty book from their shelves. It’s not what you wanted, or needed, and you resent it. If you really can’t help yourself…if your grudge goes deep and you have no appreciation, then please say, “no” before you go off to sulk about how no one will help you.
Yes, with Resentment – Maybe you didn’t want to have to ask for help. Maybe the help that was offered wasn’t quite good enough. Maybe there were strings attached. But no matter the situation, the one way to be sure that no one EVER feels good about helping you is to say, “yes, I will accept your mediocre, last-minute, short-sighted and inadequate help.” And be careful here… If you resent the help, it’s likely to show up in your attitude, even if you don’t say anything rude. You will demonstrate that you are willing to consume their precious resources, but you want them to know that they were foolish to offer. If you can’t be grateful and appreciative, you owe it to your future self to say “no”.
So the next time you need help, or the next time someone offers, think about how best to respond. It can turn you into one of those remarkable people who always has friends and colleagues ready to assist. It’s help that will come in handy, over days and weeks and years to come.
photo credit: Shannon Kringen, https://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonkringen/4786965539/