The other day I got a text message from a friend. She needed someone to watch her daughter later that day for a couple hours, and she wondered if I could help her out.
I was so excited to get that message – and to say yes.
Was I excited because I love babysitting – or even my friend’s daughter in particular? Well, not really (although her daughter is a complete doll and super easy to watch for an evening). I was excited that someone was asking me for help, and I could help her. That simple.
Nobody likes to ask for help, right? It’s awkward and we feel needy and nobody wants to be a burden. But sometimes, well, sometimes we need help.
As I was thinking about this, I realized that in general I tend to make friends with women like me. Many of my friends are type A, organized, got it together [or at least look like they do] women. And as a rule, women like that (women like me) don’t like to ask for help.
We don’t want to bother anyone.
We don’t want to be “the needy friend.”
We don’t want to admit we can’t do it all.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my friends will leave me comments or send me emails telling me that they DO, in fact, have it all together all the time. But I don’t think so.
Since my husband has been working nights, I’ve been forced to ask for help several times. And every time, it feels awful. Partly because of the reasons I mentioned earlier – I don’t want to be a bother or appear so needy – but also because my friends don’t seem to ever need MY help in return.
I’m not saying that I feel like I owe my friends something if they help me. I know the women I call friends don’t keep score that way! But I honestly enjoy helping people I care about and am always thankful for the chance to do so. Helping a friend blesses me just as much as being helped by a friend.
Have your friends ever said things like, “If you ever need someone to watch your kids, let me know!” “Can I help?” “What can I do?” or “Let me know how I can help.” If you have friends who say things like that, thank God – and then take them up on those offers. Bless your friends by letting them help you!
By building walls and wearing masks and refusing to admit we need help, much less ask for or accept it, we’re shortchanging ourselves and our friends. We’re trading authentic friendship and rich relationships for smoke and mirrors and false pretenses of perfection.
Let’s not do that.
Let’s ask for help when we need it and accept help when it’s offered. And, of course, let’s help each other when our friends are brave enough to ask.
When was the last time you had to ask for help?
This post is part of 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect, because helping each other is way better than looking perfect and standing alone. All month long, I’ll be writing about my fight against perfectionism and my quest to get on with life, already. For more 31 Days, visit The Nester.
yup. this hit home. I’m the “I have it all together” person. Although, recently, I think I’m beginning to learn that showing what’s really on my heart and needing help is ok too :)
Yep, showing what’s on your heart is awesome. It lets people in and helps you, but it also allows others to do the same and ask for help when they need it! (And yes, I AM reminding myself with those words!)
Wonderful post! Thanks for giving us permission to ask for help.
You’re welcome. :)
Ouch. I am not always eager to help like you are. :( Maybe because I don’t need help as often, just because I don’t have kids. But (also because of not having my own), I often feel like I wouldn’t be good at helping! Sigh. :(
Well, I think there are lots of ways to help, some involving kids and others not. But I also think we’re all wired differently and Sally said it so well. Acts of service (helping) is just some people’s love language. But if it’s not yours, that doesn’t mean you don’t love your friends well!!
Love this post, Mary!
“Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my friends will leave me comments or send me emails telling me that they DO, in fact, have it all together all the time. But I don’t think so.”
I laughed really hard when I read that because I can barely get Emmett to the babysitter on time, haha. I’m a mess!! But I’m okay with that-at least I am today! Because I’ve got awesome friends like you to help me! You’re an amazing person, Mary! I’m glad you’re in my life and I’m glad I get to read your blog posts everyday. They make me happy :D
Thanks, Hilary. We can be messes together, friend! :)
I think this is true, and I also think there are those who love to help so much that letting them help you is a way to say, “I love you” and not letting them help you really hurts the relationship. I have a friend who is always eager to help with my kids and I almost always let her because I find it builds our relationship.
Yes! That’s what I was trying to say and couldn’t spit out. Helping IS the way some people love, and not letting them can actually be hurtful. You took the words right out of my brain, Sally. :)
This is great stuff. Thanks!
good post! wish i had a local friend like you :) i am also a try-to-be self-sufficient, independent person – b/c it just seems easier that way. i am also sensitive. and perhaps it’s just my perception, but some people are hard to ask for help. some seem too busy, into what they have going on, and honestly, don’t seem to want to help. b/c i’d rather not get my feelings hurt, i don’t bother to ask.
Heather, that’s such a great point. I wonder how many times I’ve been the one who seemed too busy to ask…
Amen sister. I needed to hear this message today. I miss my KC friends and know that I need to work on taking my local friends up on their offers too. I appreciate you and all you have done for me in the past. You have definitely offered your fair share of help to this gal. I need to remember how blessed I was because of that assistance and remember to accept the help of others once again. Miss you.
I miss you, too!!! But yes, open up to your local friends. They will love you just as much as I do!