Help Literacy Hub

7 tips on asking for help…

1. Start with understanding all of the help you really need.

When times get tough, it is often the build up of small things that can tip us over the edge.

While this feels awful at the time – it also means that asking for small acts of help can have a BIG impact.

So think of this as an OPPORTUNITY to ‘offload’ some of the smaller tasks you would normally need to deal with.

The first step in making this happen is to understand all of the small tasks you need to complete in order to keep your life (and the lives of your family) running – don’t forget to think about the frequency of these tasks and changes that occur throughout the week. For example, you may need to make meals every day but you only need the bedsheets changes once a week.

To help you create this list, have a look at the ‘task list’ within Gather My Crew. We have over 80 tasks listed under 8 categories.

Here are the top 10 help requests from Gather My Crew… Consider adding some of these to your list.

  1. Cook dinner
  2. Do the laundry
  3. Come for a visit
  4. Bake lunch snacks
  5. Transport to an appointment
  6. Take kids to school
  7. Walk the dog
  8. Make lunchboxes
  9. Take carer out
  10. Arrange a playdate

2. Turn offers of ‘let me know how I can help’ into meaningful support.

So often people will say ‘let me know how I can help’…. and so often we just let that offer go.

So next time someone says this to you; (i) take a deep breath, (ii) assume the offer is genuine, and (iii) tell them exactly what help you need using the list of tasks you have created.

Most of the time people really do want to help – they just need to know what they need to do and when they need to do it.

3. New skills need to be learnt.

Asking for help is a skill that we all must learn. Then we need to practice it over and over again.

So if you feel uncomfortable asking for help, because you don’t know how to bring it up or you are worried about how someone might react, it is OK.

If you have not done it before – of course it is natural that it feels awkward!

What you need to do is get out there and start practicing this new skill. Don’t give up on asking for help because it makes you feel uncomfortable.

If we gave up learning new skills because we felt awkward – then none of us would be able to ride a bike, write our name, or tie our shoelaces…

4. Remember that people lead busy lives.

Even though it can feel terrible when you ask someone for help and they are not able to provide it for you – don’t give up.

Try not to take it personally. Take a deep breath and ask the next person.

You can also try giving each person a list of options so that they can pick when they are able to help you around their own busy lives.

Remember – most people want to help, they just need to know how and when.

5. If someone offers you specific help – say yes.

Saying ‘yes’ to offers of help will open the door to more conversation, more offers of help and more connection to others when you are doing it tough.

You may find that if you say ‘no’ to genuine help when it is offered, people may be less forthcoming in the future. Don’t let that happen to you!

6. You might find it easier to ask someone to set up a help roster for you.

A help roster is a way to keep track of all the things you need help with – and all of the wonderful ways that people have offered to help you.

While you can do this in a spreadsheet – using Gather My Crew makes the process so much easier.

7. Set up a Gather My Crew account for yourself.

You do not need to wait for someone to create a help roster for you. We have made it so easy with Gather My Crew that all you will need to do it click a few buttons and invite some friends.

One of the great things about using Gather My Crew is that it removes the sometimes-awkward conversations required to ask for help.

All of our invites are sent out electronically. Your friends accept your invite and can have a look at your calendar to decide when and how they can help.

More tools and resources

How to provide the RIGHT help to someone doing it tough

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7 tips on asking for help…

When times get tough, it is often the build up of small things that can tip us over the edge.

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When asking for help feels too difficult… read this

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…but what does the family really need?

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Instead of dropping off a meal… try this.

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User stories

When my partner died, I couldn’t ask for help.

I didn’t seem able to reach out, to express vulnerability, to ask for help. In talking with a psychotherapist, I thought about others in similar situations. I decided to act. I was not alone as a man struggling to communicate his pain.

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We call them hidden angels

It is hard to bear witness to someone else’s pain – and the desire to avoid this pain can leave those in need feeling all alone at a time when community is so important.

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Reaching out for help saved my life …

When I asked him what he needed right now, he simply said “sleep”.

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She was just 15 when she died…

Be the person that can just sit with her and handle all of her emotions. Be the person that will not change the topic or pretend her pain isn’t real.

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And he thought he was all alone…

Frank was a much loved member of the dog park community. You get to know people really well when you spend every morning with them… rain, hail or shine.

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“Help… I’m worried sick about my wife and kids”

His wife had some mental health issues that meant her ability to care for their children when under stress was unpredictable.

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Rohan’s Story

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A story about asking for help…

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Merran’s Story

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Roxanne’s Story

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Jodie’s Story

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