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how to ask for what you need

October 4, 2020

Try to remember a situation where you were faced with a challenge. One that you could have solved on your own, or you couldn’t. In either case it would have been of great utility to ask someone else for help, and you knew that you should too. And yet, you didn’t. You chose to try it the hard way. Maybe you were afraid that you might be asking for too much, or that they would look at you like you are a burden. Perhaps it was the fear of being seen as weak, for to ask for help is to admit that you are insufficient for the task. Whatever the reason for your hesitation, we have all been there. But it is important to know that asking for help is okay. Everyone needs help from time to time. That being said, knowing the best way to ask for help can make it easier on both you and the person you are asking. Here are the five steps to asking for what you need.

Acknowledged your needs

The first step to asking for help is to know what exactly you need to ask for. You need to acknowledge what is it you need for you to articulate your request to yourself and also to others.

Imagine the steps of solving your problems

Take a moment to think through your problem. Imagine for an example that Anna has just gotten out of a long-term relationship and it has left her world crumbled beyond recognition. After acknowledging that she is not in a healthy state it is important for her to map out a path to a better future. For Anna that might be learning to live a single life for a while, doing some self-improvement, and then testing the dating pool waters once again.

Who can help you?

It won’t do you any good to ask someone for help when that person is not equipped to help you. For Anna, her friend that is happily married might not be the best person to ask about adjusting to life after a committed relationship has ended. Instead, she might ask her other friend that has been single for eight months. Asking the person that is the most able to offer you help will yield the best results.

Ask for the lowest amount of assistance required.

Not only will this make your request more likely to be granted, but it also helps to ease your anxiety about asking. This does not mean that you ask for the smallest amount in order to avoid burdening the other person, but rather to ensure that you do the greatest amount that you are capable of. Anna and her partner used to go out to dinner three times a week, but now that she is single she does not want to go out alone. Instead of asking her friend to go with her all three times, maybe she asks that they come out with her one night a week. This allows Anna to keep some sense of the order she was accustomed to while still enabling her to heal and move on.

Express your gratitude

The final step to asking for help is to express your gratitude-whether they helped you or not. Be polite, be kind, tell them you appreciate that they took the time to listen to you and to help you. This will make them feel good, and ensure that they will be glad to have helped.

Everyone has struggles throughout life. We all bear burdens, and sometimes we lack the strength to keep them up. And that’s okay. That is fine. Everyone needs help now and again and there is no shame in asking.


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