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How to ask for Help

Thursday, August 11, 2022   /   by Becky Trujillo

How to ask for Help

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How To Ask For Help


Many people struggle with asking for help. But it’s unrealistic to think any one person will know how to do everything. We have no qualms about asking for experts to help with leaky pipes or car maintenance, after all—why should it be any different if you feel depressed, or you’re stumped on a work project?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you realize you need a little help but you’re still feeling uncomfortable asking for it.


Figure out what you need help with.

Be as specific as possible. You might be frustrated and just thinking, “I can’t figure this stupid project out”—but your helper will need to know exactly what the hurdle is if they’re to be of any use. Think about a piece of information, for instance, that might unlock a clear path to completion, and then seek out someone who can help provide that information.


Skip “sorry.”

When you apologize first, it sends the message that what you’re asking for is burdensome, when studies show most people genuinely want to help others. It may feel polite to start with “sorry,” but resist the urge.


Think of “help” as a team effort.

Asking for help usually isn’t about asking for someone to swoop in and rescue you—it’s about getting their help with something you’ll work on together. Collaborating on a solution often produces better results—a second set of eyes on a challenging problem can give you insights you’d never have reached alone.


Say thank you.

Gratitude is powerful stuff, so be sure to express yours when you’ve gotten someone’s help. Saying “thank you” verbally is a must, and it’s also extremely good practice to send a note to them later on with an update on the problem you sought their help with.

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