Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

In thinking back to my knee surgery, it really got me thinking of the importance of friendships.

The things we will do for our friends: I’ve cleaned houses, brought over food to the sick, made ridiculously early or late airport runs, and ran errands as a social activity. I’ve never considered any of those occasions as particularly onerous, and I have some rather pleasant memories from some of them. Yet I’m often reticent to ask my friends for help (okay, maybe not too reticent about rides to the airport – I love you, Ms. M !).

Helping Hand
Thank you, Matt Sessions, for the use of this photo

I remember more than a decade ago on Christmas day I was hit with the flu, strep throat, and a sinus infection all at once. The doctors at urgent care seemed impressed by the perfect storm.  I was not as impressed. Out of his own initiative, my friend Mike brought me over food and orange juice and didn’t say anything when I told him the sheet covering the couch was a burial shroud. He did, however, suggest I take more drugs to bring down the fever.

About five years ago, I was getting ready for a dance competition and felt completely overwhelmed. Kurt asked if there was anything he could do to help. My immediate response was to say no. I stopped myself just in time and asked him to deposit a ton of cash into the bank that a friend gave me to repay a loan. I couldn’t make it to my bank during its counter hours, and it was just down the street from his house. “No problem” was his response. My shoulders immediately dropped. That simple action took so much pressure off of me and wasn’t that inconvenient to him.

I think I’m getting better at asking for help. Since I was introduced to the “how to” of networking thanks to Never Eat Alone, I no longer feared asking friends for introductions that might help me.

I figured I paid it forward all the time, so why not ask? You know what? About 90% of the time, they are more than happy to fulfill the request. And sometimes those fulfilled requests open up whole new worlds to me.

Sometimes I am still afraid to ask, that fear of having someone say no, but the generosity of my friends amazes me every time I do.

Are you more comfortable offering or accepting help? or What was the sickest you’ve ever been?

2 thoughts on “Get By With a Little Help From My Friends”

  1. I don’t mind asking for help if I’ve tried everything else first. I just think that if I can do something, I’d rather do it. Perhaps it’s an independence thing or it could be a pride thing. Whatever it is, I’d rather do things on my own. However, when I think I don’t have a choice, I’ll ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t prefer to do it. Of course, I’m like you and will ask for help when I’m sick. If I’m really sick, I like to be taken care of. And since my wife is around anyway and likes to take care of me when I’m ill, it’s hard to refuse the help (it helps that she’s a nurse too). I haven’t been extremely sick in a long time, but I’ve had a few days of the flu here and there over the past year.


    1. For me, I’ve always been so afraid of asking for help, thinking I’d be putting someone out. Then one day I realized that I didn’t feel put out when my friends asked me for things, so that helped make it more okay.

      I’m with you in wanting to do things on my own if possible. Helpful hints are greatly appreciated, but if it is a skill I want to learn for myself, I definitely want to give it go before I have help.


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