Why we don’t ask for help

The last thing many of us want to do is ask for help. Many people, even when they’re at a dead end, are afraid or forget to ask for support. Some even go so far as to refuse it when it’s offered to them. Why does this happen?

Why don’t we “reach out”?

Some of us don’t want to burden others. Others fear rejection. Some of us are shy or vulnerable and there’re those who can’t find the right words or the right time to ask for help. Thus, we prefer to fend for ourselves rather than admit that we need a helping hand.

Experts argue that almost all of us have grown up with the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Our upbringing is dominated by the social stereotype, that successful people are capable of taking action on their own.

In addition, before asking for help, we often ask ourselves, “What are the chances that I will get it”? We aren’t socially “trained” to reject. The only danger in asking for help is… not getting it, however. So simple! For better or worse, we have to come to terms with “no” as an answer as well.

It’s also important to separate “no” as a word from the person who says it to us. A friend may just as well refuse us because he may indeed be unable to help.

However, studies show that “success” in seeking help is more likely than “failure.”

The consequences of not asking for help

Feeling hopeless and not asking for help is extremely stressful. It’s known that chronic stress is extremely harmful to health. In addition, a person experiences, among other things, feelings of isolation, despair and difficulty coping with trouble.

Apart from all this, this process is also a test of our interpersonal relationships. For example, if we ask a friend for help and are repeatedly told no, this raises questions about the trustworthiness of our relationship with them.

The importance of “asking” and “offering”

All of us have felt good about helping a friend, relative or even a stranger. By not asking for help, we deprive those around us of the opportunity to have a very pleasant experience. On the other hand, by asking, we feel a deep sense of relief and our stress levels go down significantly.

Helping is a “medicine”. It improves our connection with others both individually and socially. Thus, both the health and quality of life of everyone improves.

Encouraging children to express their needs

Children usually ask for and offer help on their own. However, asking for support is a skill that needs to be practiced. It’s important to give them honest answers, clear “yes” and “no”. Always telling them, “yes” creates a false expectation. And “no” sounds destructive growing up.

So, we have to say “no” but give them alternative solutions or an explanation. This way, children learn that it isn’t a bad thing to ask for help. And that “no” often leads to “negotiations” and an outcome that everyone can be happy with.


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