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how to ask for help without being a burden

April 28, 2020

There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Even the strongest, most successful people need a helping hand from time to time. However, reaching out to others for support can be a great source of anxiety for many. Even when you know you need help, many people don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable enough to admit to others when they are struggling.

When you do need a little extra help, taking the right steps can make sure that you get the support you need without being burdensome. Here’s how:

Ask the Right Person

Asking the appropriate person for assistance can make all the difference in alleviating the anxiety of reaching out, while ensuring that you get the help you need. Pick someone who you feel comfortable with, but who is also equipped to help you. While you might feel comfortable opening up to your dad, it doesn’t make much sense to ask him to help you move furniture if he has a bad back. Choose wisely!

Be Clear About Your Request

Before you reach out to someone, sort through your thoughts and choose what you will say in advance. Less is more in these situations, so be concise. Rather than saying, “I need to get away for a while. My roommate is gone, my boyfriend and I are fighting, my apartment is a mess…” and on and on, try saying, “I could really use some company and a change of scenery for a few days. Would you mind if I stay in your guest room for the weekend?” This lets the person know exactly what you need from them, being careful not to confuse or overwhelm them with excuses or details.

Time is of the Essence

Timing is everything when it comes to asking for favors, so don’t delay. Putting off asking for support can make a big difference in someone being eager to help versus feeling put out by your request. If you know you need to borrow someone’s car next Wednesday, don’t wait until Tuesday night to discuss the details. Punctuality is courteous!

No one likes admitting that they could use a helping hand, but it happens to everyone. By choosing the right person to ask, being clear about your needs, and giving them the gift of time, you will have no reason to feel embarrassed, anxious, or burdensome. Who knows? Soon you could be the one returning the favor!


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