Four Ways We Can Respond To Those Who Offer Help
When people see your need and offer to help or are in an official position to extend the request, you'll experience numerous folks seeking to help you.
As you wonder how to reply and what to do. You have four options to consider.
How Can I Respond To Someone Offering Help?
- Actively Resist The Help (even when we need it).
- Apathetically Accept The Offer (which communicates a lack of appreciation).
- Enthusiastically Embrace The Invitation (energize the helper!).
- Respectfully & Gratefully Decline (when it's truly appropriate).
I'm a fan of numbers three and four above, as you'll soon learn in my personal experience extending offers of help to others.
How People Responded To My Offer Of Help
“Whatever is received into something is received according to the condition of the receiver.” - Thomas Aquinas
Every year, our former church hosts its services at the park on Easter Sunday.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a parking attendant. Part of this included helping carry guests' food and outdoor items to their destinations and an offer to park their vehicle in the larger lot.
After the experience, I recognized an interesting pattern of how people responded to my offer of help.
Some of the people I offered to help actively resisted it. In many of these cases, they clearly needed help, but they adamantly declined while they were dropping things and struggling with their children. Seeing the difficulty, I'd offer multiple times to help, but many were firmly committed to doing it themselves. I found this draining and demoralizing for me as the one wanting to help them. As a result, they left a negative and memorable impression on me. While I disliked helping these people, I knew they still needed to be served and loved.
The second pattern I noticed was the group of people who accepted my help but were fairly apathetic about me helping them. When I offered to help, they looked at me like a deer in the headlights. They said yes without much emotion or excitement, and I quickly forgot about them.
The third pattern I noticed was the people who accepted and embraced my offer to serve them. The more I helped them, the more excited they were to receive. They expressed their gratitude and were happy with the help. The more excited they got, the more I wanted to serve them. Their response and my immediate impact on making their lives better energized me. These were positive & memorable moments, unlike my experience with those who resisted.
When you receive an offer of help, this last response is the most fruitful for the person helping and the one receiving it. But, there are times you truly don't need the help and are not simply declining out of some social expectation. In these cases, simply decline the invitation respectfully and with gratitude. This opens the door to receiving their help offer next time.
Wrapping It Up
The next time someone offers to help you or give you a gift, which way will you respond? Will you resist, act apathetically, genuinely embrace it, or respectfully decline?
Other Notable Quotes on the Topic
- "He'd be a lot easier to deal with, let alone love, if he would allow himself to be helped." - David Zahl, Low Anthropology: The Unlikely Key to a Gracious View of Others (and Yourself)
- "Ours is an individualistic society. From an early age, parents teach their children to be self-reliant, sometimes to the detriment of their relationship with others. Sometimes this can even be a barrier to our reliance on God. We can convince ourselves that asking for help is a sign of weakness." - Traci Rhoades, Shaky Ground
- Watch: Are you a giver or a taker (Adam Grant)?
- Watch: Why We Resist Asking For Help (Discussion)
- Listen: Receiving and Giving Help; the Essence of the Christian Life – Ken Jones
- Read: Here’s the No. 1 thing that makes relationships successful, say psychologists who studied 40,000 couples
- Watch: Asking for Help is Hard — Do It Anyway
Image courtesy of PicJumbo.
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