Why do many people find it hard to ask for help, even when the same people willingly offer help to others?
I am interested in this because on the Collaborating Minds members’ site we have a small “request for help” button. Members can post a request for help on anything they want, and few members use it. In my conversations with individual members, I’ve learned that many of us face some challenges in our lives. It made me wonder why more people are not asking for help.
Rachel Kaberon wrote a post on her blog about this topic that inspired me to dig deeper into the original post to which Rachel was responding.
In America, it is hard to ask for help. I wonder if it is because we are unskilled (or untrained) or if it is something cultural. In Mayday: asking for help in times of need, by M. Nora Klaver, the author claims people don’t ask for help for several reasons:
- Fear of losing control (because asking for help means someone else gets some control)
- Fear of being left alone (because in asking for help we fail to live up to other people’s expectations and that might make them fire us, leave us, or otherwise give up on us) and
- Fear of the humiliation we feel when we have to ask for help (since we are all supposed to be capable people who can do it all ourselves).
This reluctance might vary by culture – I don’t know.
I’m going to ask for help now. I want to figure out how to generate more “asking more help,” which I know will lead to more “providing help.” Please, tell us about the conditions or situations where you will ask for help, and then explain what stops you from asking at other times?