“Sure,” I said, “that would be great. What would you like me to bring?” Jen was seldom at a loss for words, but she seemed hesitant, apologetic.
After quite a long pause, she said, “Well, uhh, I know, uhh, you have diabetes, but, uhh—do you think—could you, uhh, maybe bring desert?” She looked relieved. She’d done it. She’d told me how I could help.
All you have to do is ask
“Glad to,” I said. “And how about cranberry sauce? I’ll make some of that too.” I brought my absolutely fabulous sour-cream apple pie —made with Splenda instead of sugar and no-fat yogurt instead of sour cream—and cranberry sauce made with Splenda.
This was a win-win solution. Jen and her BF got help from me with Thanksgiving dinner. I got to help my friend, while preparing a desert that even my BF and I could eat without worrying too much about sky-rocketing blood-glucose levels. And of course, all four of us got to eat a fabulous meal, drink a little holiday wine, and enjoy each other’s company.
But I’m afraid
Clearly, my friend wasn’t comfortable asking for help, even when I asked her how I could help. Part of this, of course, was her uncertainty about what desert, if any, a person with Type 2 diabetes could eat. But, basically, she was afraid.
Jen is not alone. I recognize myself in her behavior. I bet you recognize yourself. Maybe there was a time that you were so afraid of “bothering” some one that you never did ask for his help. Then you felt overwhelmed with all the things you had to do, all the details. You trudged along trying to get it all done by yourself, skimping on sleep when you had to.
But—even though it’s really hard for you—maybe you have asked a friend for help, and she’s smiled and said, “Sure, I’d be glad to.” Or maybe you’ve offered help to a colleague working on a large, complex project and seen the look of relief and appreciation that spreads across his face. If so, you already know the basics.
How help works
People love to help other people
People love helping others, especially when they can do something special, maybe sharing a particular skill or ability. When you help, you feel appreciated, generous, thoughtful. You know that you are contributing to a project or event. (For example, you help with the cooking, not just the eating.)
In fact, people love helping so much that—sometimes if you don’t ask them when they expect you to—they will feel disappointed, left out. If you’ve ever told a friend or family member or fellow worker, “Oh, you should have asked me” or “I wish I’d known. I would have been glad to help you,” then you know this feeling.
People love it when other people offer to help them
When you take on a big project or something new and challenging, what are the words you long to hear? Some thing like “What can I do to help?” Are there any sweeter words? (Just a rhetorical question.)
Everyone benefits when you ask for help or offer it
It can be intimidating to take on something new. Perhaps so intimidating that you carefully avoid finding yourself in such a situation. But knowing that people are willing, even eager, to help enables you to take on the challenge, to learn from it, and to succceed.
And if the project involves a group of people, the mutual helping creates a supportive atmosphere, builds cohesiveness, and facilitates learning. And what’s scary about that?
Photo by photofarmer