“I don’t know what to do; no one is willing to help!”
Does that sound familiar?
If you’ve ever gone looking for help, then you would know the feeling.
Sometimes, getting help when you need one so badly could be frustrating. And you wonder what on earth makes people turn deaf ears to folks who come to them with genuine pleas for assistance.
In this post, I have highlighted five habits that could make getting help from people when you need it sorely, a lot less discouraging.
#1. Doing Your Best to Fulfill Promises
When you have a rich history of failed promises, people who are aware of that, may not be quick to lend a hand – particularly if your request this time is also tied to a promise.
One Christmas eve, a longtime friend phoned me desiring some urgent financial help with a promise to return it in no distant time.
The problem? It wasn’t the first time I was hearing that. It wasn’t the second either. It was the third! And the monies from the two previous occasions were still unpaid – with no plans to do so.
In fact, once he gets a loan, he says nothing about it afterwards, only to show up again when he needs another. And even then, he acts as if there is no pending repayment – never mentioning it or explaining why he defaulted.
They say once bitten, twice shy. Mine had to be twice bitten, thrice shy. How does he expect me to loan him cash when he had two outstanding repayments? What made matters worse was that, I was broke at the time. Truth is, I may have assisted with half his request, if I was a tad buoyant.
At such times when I’m cash-strapped and a friend is in need, I often go the extra mile to loan from someone else to give the person. But this time, I was hesitant to do that, because of his history. So, I suggested some names to him. In the end, my referrals too couldn’t help, but that was how far I could go.
See, hardly will anyone be willing to go the extra mile for you if you had disappointed them at least twice previously. If you know you would need people’s assistance, you may want to watch how you make promises.
And when you do, see to it that you make good your promise. If circumstances are biting hard, be polite enough to communicate with the fellow. He/she may be kind enough to write off your debt. More importantly, he/she may be more likely to help out next time.
#2. Never Forgetting to Express Gratitude
I once heard a clergyman I respect a lot, recount how he struggled with the bad feeling he had when a fellow he helped didn’t say “thank you”.
As simple as those two words are, not many people will spare you, if you don’t use them when you should. You might be lucky to find a few who don’t care. But in a matter of time, they would also find the habit unpleasant.
Gratitude not only gives a sense of fulfilment to the benefactor, it propels such to do more. When you do not appreciate people for what they’ve done, you make them feel you weren’t worth the sacrifice. We are all emotional beings and we feel good about being appreciated for who we are, how much more, for what we do (for others).
A relative often mentions to me how reluctant she gets, when it comes to helping one brother in the family. She has zero tolerance for ingratitude. What disgusts her is that the other person apparently sees whatever assistance he gets as an entitlement.
Regardless of how small or big the help is, or how close or distant the helper is to you, the rules of gratitude do not change. People will refrain from helping you when you have a low gratitude index. So, watch it, you may need to begin to pull it up.
#3. Always Having Some Effort to Show
One lesson that fundraising efforts have taught me, is that many people wouldn’t help you if they have a clue that you want to hang the entire burden on them. You hang your entire burden on people when you tell them to carry your load rather than join you to lift it. You do this when you ask for help and you can’t say, “I have done this and that”, or “I have so and so amount, I only need your help with what’s left.”
Before someone will reach within and lend a hand, he/she wants to be convinced it isn’t a lazy bone taking advantage of them. There’s a saying among the Yorubas that, it is the child who opens his/her arms that the mother will carry. So, when next you want to approach someone for help, make sure you can point to the efforts you have made and what that has brought in so far.
#4. Making Sure Your Purpose is Clear
Sometimes people would refrain from helping out when they discover that you have no clear purpose, aim or vision. This is encountered more when it has to do with an investment or a project. If the task you want to carry out does not demonstrate purposeful thinking and isn’t goal-driven, be sure that people will back away.
Why do you think you get all kinds of questions when you seek loans and grants? They want to be sure you are serious enough and worth the risk and sacrifice. They want to be sure they won’t be pouring water into a basket.
It is the same reason scholarships are handed out only to those who have shown seriousness of focus and distinguished themselves. No one will be willing to teach you anything, if they aren’t sure you’ll be committed enough. No serious, forward-thinking woman would give herself to a man who hasn’t shown clarity of purpose or direction.
Just in case you would be seeking assistance anytime soon, be sure you have a direction clear enough to convince someone other than you.
#5. Doing Your Best Not to Be a Spoiler
As rational beings, our minds link up things a lot. All you need to never help any blind person again is just one experience with a supposedly blind person who turned out to be a kidnapper.
We live in precarious times and people are becoming more scared of helping others by the day. The strange things we hear in the news keep making people distance themselves from helping others – especially folks they don’t know.
What we learn from all this is that, each one of us, in our daily interactions should refrain from being spoilers who would make people decide never to help others again.
When someone lends you a book, return it, and in good condition. I can’t count how many of my books are still out there unreturned. Some of them were bought for a specific purpose, which the lender would have deprived me of, had I not bought another or found a way out.
Those kind of experiences were enough for me to be extra cautious about who (and how) I gave out my books.
If you are asking for help from someone you have left many scars of negative experiences, chances are high you won’t get it. It may even get worse for someone who goes about leaving many negative experiences with people. The more people you hurt, the more people hear about it and the lesser the chances of getting assistance.
I am a diehard advocate of helping others and being good. In spite of how people repay our good uncharitably, in the words of Mother Teresa, “Do good anyway”. The bible also explicitly enjoins us to do this.
However, doing good does not mean throwing caution to the wind.
People may continue to offer the same assistance you need to others without delay, but will be hesitant about you, if they notice your indices are low on any of these five issues.
But the more you give people reasons to always assist you, the more they will reach out their hands to lift you when you dearly need a helping hand.
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Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.