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Why Is It So Hard to Ask for Help?

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We all face experiences that are so difficult, it is impossible to cope by ourselves.

A family in my neighborhood has been quietly struggling for months. The mom has a stubborn virus that is taking a long time to heal and the dad is shopping, cooking, cleaning, and ensuring his kids get wherever they need to go. When he finally shared his family’s situation, neighbors quickly offered to prepare meals. I asked him why he didn’t ask for help sooner and he replied, “It is really hard to ask for help.”


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It’s really tough to ask friends for help since it makes us feel like we can’t handle our affairs. And yet we all face experiences that are so difficult, it is impossible to cope by ourselves. Some folks know the right things to do but others will look to you for guidance. Here are some things you might ask for when facing a tough time:

Start with errands that someone else is already doing. Is a friend or neighbor going to the pharmacy, the dry cleaner, or post office? What about the grocery store? It’s easy to run an errand for someone else while running your own.

Do you need transportation help? A parent already picking their kids up at school or other activities is used to carpooling and often willing to add one or more. Friends or neighbors with flexible schedules may be willing to manage other transportation needs.

Ask friends or neighbors to either arrange or refer you to their helpers for weekly and annual household tasks, such as: raking the leaves, cleaning the gutters, washing the windows, or cleaning the house.

Meals, especially homemade, can be big helpers. Many people will not just offer to bring you a meal; they’ll organize other friends or neighbors so you’ll have a number of meals to see you through.

Ask someone to grab you dinner. When dealing with long-term issues you can ask someone to pick you up a rotisserie chicken and vegetable or other dinner items weekly when they do their own grocery shopping.

Help is available in a myriad of forms and can make a difference; don’t be afraid to ask.


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Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.


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