To get through life, we all need to ask for help - here's how NOT to do it - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

deepstash

Beta

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

To get through life, we all need to ask for help - here's how NOT to do it

https://ideas.ted.com/we-all-need-to-ask-for-help-to-get-through-life-heres-how-not-to-do-it/

ideas.ted.com

To get through life, we all need to ask for help - here's how NOT to do it
Asking for help isn't just about what you say and do; it's also about what you don't say and do. In my research, I've found there are specific things you can say that can really backfire on you.

4

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

"You're going to love helping me!"

"You're going to love helping me!"

Don't try and convince someone how much they will enjoy helping you. It reeks of control and is presumptive. It drains their joy out of helping.

How they feel is for them to decide.

136 SAVES


VIEW

A small favor

One common tactic is to portray the help we need as so small, that it is barely a favor. "Would you add these updates to the database? It won’t take you more than five minutes.”

It is ...

138 SAVES


VIEW

Scorekeeping

While reciprocity does make people more likely to comply with the request, it also makes us feel controlled, which takes all the fun out of it.

Reminding someone that they owe you a favor doe...

119 SAVES


VIEW

Focus on the benefactor

The motivation to be helpful is tied to your helper’s identity and self-esteem. People help because they want to be admired.

  • Other-praising (Acknowledging and validating the chara...

138 SAVES


VIEW

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness

Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness
  • Strong sense of in-group: the belief that the person in need is on your team makes us more helpful to them as we care about what happens to the in-group. 
  • Opportunity to reinforce the helper’s positive identity: people help more when they reflect on why it’s important to them to “be a benefactor to others.” 
  • Opportunity to see one’s own effectiveness: people want to see or know the impact of the help they have given or will give. 

2 types of gratitude expression

  • Other-praising: involves acknowledging and validating the character or abilities of the giver;
  • Self-benefit: which describes how the receiver is better off for having been given help. 

The former makes people feel better with themselves and that you are more grateful when compared to the latter.

Reminding People That They Owe You One

If you have to remind someone that they owe you one, chances are they don’t feel as if they do. Reminding them that they owe you a favor both makes the other person feel as if you’re trying to control them and it makes the other person feel as if you’re keeping a scorecard, and that’s fundamentally bad for relationships.

6 more ideas

What Not To Do When Asking For Help

What Not To Do When Asking For Help
  • Instruct people.
  • Tell or imply that they should help our debt they don’t have a choice about it.
  • Using unnecessary prefaces makes people feel trapped.
  • Profusely apologizing makes the experience seem less positive.
  • Emphasizing reciprocity can make people feel indebted or like they are engaging in a purely transactional exchange.
  • Minimizing your need suggests the assistance is trivial or even unnecessary.

Reinforce A Request For Help

  • In-group: Assuring that you’re on the helper’s team and the team’s importance taps into our need to belong to and perpetuate supportive social circles. 
  • Positive identity: Creating or enhancing their recognition that they are uniquely placed to provide assistance and that they aren’t just “people who can help” but routinely helpful people. 
  • Effectiveness: People want to know the impact of the aid they will give. Knowing one’s actions have an effect is a fundamental human motivation. 

Research Results On Helpfulness

  • Studies indicate that people are willing to help more often than we expect.
  • Studies suggest that we underestimate how much effort those who do agree to help will put in.
  • Those who help others get to feel better with themselves than those who don’t.

Pick One Person to Ask

It’s best to ask one person instead of a group. Pick someone who you think can help you the most, or at least send individual requests to several people at once instead of dropping a line in a group chat. 

Asking a group leads to the “diffusion of responsibility” phenomenon, where nobody feels like they have to help because they think someone else will. 

Make It Clear You Want Help

... be specific about what you want.

Don't use phrases like “Can you do me a favor? ", because they are manipulative - they force someone to commit before you tell them what it is you need. A simple “Can you help me with [specific thing]?” will do.

Give a Timeframe and an Escape

When you ask for help, give the person some kind of timeframe or soft deadline. Phrases like “whenever you can” put more pressure on the person who is already doing you a favor. 

It’s also nice to offer them a way out if you know they’re busy. It ensures your request for help doesn’t feel like a demand.