Part 1Being Helpful
1Assess the situation. Before doing something and attempting to help, stop and examine it from different perspectives, both to see different ways you might be able to help, and whether or not your help is necessary. Dig deeper. What is the source of the problem? The kind of help which should be extended to a person greatly depends on the situation and whether or not there are underlying causes.
- For example, if a friend's car payment is due and their car is about to be repossessed if a payment isn't made, you could loan the money for a temporary fix, but how possible is it that you'll end up in the same position in the next couple months.
- Instead, think about helping your friend set up a budget, or take out a loan. Help people help themselves.
2Remain calm. A calming influence can be just as helpful, if not more so, than offering someone money or advice. Staying calm is also as essential part of clear thinking and even-temperedness, helping you to see the different possibilities for solutions and help, and choose between them honestly and objectively.
- Read the situation and figure out which perspective needs to be represented to balance things out. If you're generally a worrier, it might be your instinct to tell a friend who is nervous about a big event that you're also worried, too, but will that be helpful? Instead, balance it out. Be the calm one in the situation.
- If, on the other hand, your friend is thinking about hitchhiking across the country alone with one pair of clothes and no money, maybe your natural-worry will come in handy.
3Use positive language to reinforce, not to discourage. Positivity is one of the most helpful things you can offer others. Encouraging people helps to inspire confidence, and saying positive things helps to make people feel better about themselves. Try to be the person who makes the extra effort to stay positive, even when things seem tough, and others will value your presence as a helpful contributing factor to the group. Aim for encouragement.
- Don't be afraid to dissent, though, if the occasion calls for it. In some cases, it's possible that positivity needs to be leavened out with some hard truths. Don't be afraid to be the one to provide it.
4Make time to be helpful. Being around is one of the underrated requirements of being a helpful person. If you want to be helpful for your friends and family, you've got to be available to be helpful and give them the gift of your time. Try to make time for the important people in your life and be willing to do things you might not normally want to do, to be as helpful as possible.
- It may not be ideal for you to spend a Saturday helping your grandmother clean out her basement, but if you schedule some time to visit, at least you can limit it to your schedule and avoid having to skip a meeting with friends to help out, when you'd rather not.
- You don't need to sit at home twiddling your thumbs, waiting for someone to call, if you want to be helpful. Live your own life, but consider scheduling time for the important people in your life you'd like to help, so you can give it when it's needed.
5Follow up. Invariably you will encounter a problem that requires some heavy lifting on your part. This could be taken literally, as when you're asking to help someone move, or figuratively, as when you're asked to help someone kick a drinking habit, or get through a break-up. Either way it does require some effort or investment on your part. If you are committed to helping, you may need to open your wallet, your home, your heart or your mind. None of which is easy but may be entirely necessary.
- While it may seem obvious to some, it's also critical to help yourself before you help others. If you're not taking care of your own situations, then it wears down your ability to extend help to others.
Part 2Listening to Others
1Ask how you can help. Want to know if you can be of some assistance? Ask. The best way to figure out quickly and efficiently if and what you can do to help out is to just ask, flat-out. See your dad struggling with a lawnmower? "Hey Dad, need a hand?" See your friend looking down in the dumps after being embarrassed in gym class? "Hey man, sorry about that. Want to talk about it?"
- Sometimes offering to help without asking can hurt someone's feelings, if they were confident about their ability to do it alone.
2Anticipate unspoken needs. Pay attention to the signs other people are giving you to find out how to help without having to be asked. Think about the ways you might want to ask for help, then apply that to other people. For example, when you're cooking it's nice to have one person chop vegetables while the other person makes the sauce, making the whole operation faster.
- If you see a friend drilling math problems with flashcards, offer to help test.
- If you see someone struggling to carry too many bags, you probably don't have to ask to know they could use a hand.
- If you see your flatmate tidying up, join in so you can both relax more quickly.
3Genuinely listen. Put away your phone, and give the person you're helping your full attention. Really listen to the person and evaluate the situation as objectively as possible. Digging deeper, asking questions and staying engaged in the person's issues will make you the most helpful presence possible. Don't look for the easy help, look for the real help.
- Do not give advice before asking them how they feel, or how they want to respond to a situation.
- One of the best things to ask someone who has come to you for help is to ask them how they feel about the situation, and what they think the best thing to do is. Then offer you opinion, not get upset if they do not take your advice.
Think before you respond. This sounds easy, but is a challenge for most people who wish to interject or offer advice too quickly. Offering an open ear with patience and without judgement is more than most people expect and what most people really need. Let them vent while you think of good advice and courses of action, and you will be helping out immensely.
5Keep your friend focused on the bigger issue. Often, the help you're offering may be simple, like offering someone a ride. Or it may be difficult, like helping a your friend out get a GED, or a job. The person you're trying to help, though, may have no idea what he or she needs, and may be confused, meaning that you can help out by listening closely and telling the difference.
- For example, your friend may think the biggest problem in the world right now is that she can't scratch up enough dough to buy a pair of the new Jordans, but maybe the real problem is her inability to keep a job for longer than a week. How can you be the most helpful in this situation?
Give your two cents and then stop talking. Helping out doesn't necessarily mean offering your advice, your opinion, or even trying to solve the problem with a tidy solution. Sometimes, people will just need a listener and a sympathizer. It's not necessary to fix things to be helpful. Just listen and you can offer a lot more of your time.
Part 3Sharing Your Time
1Figure out whether or not you're capable to actually help. Some people have a super-hero mind, wanting to jump in and help anybody and everybody, no matter what the circumstance. But in reality, there are a lot of things you won't be capable of doing yourself, practically. In that circumstance, it is best to see if you can help them out by finding someone who can better assist. Then, you will be able to see more successful results than had you tried it yourself, and you will know that you were the one to help point them in the right direction.
- If your friend calls you from three hours away because of car trouble and is asking you to come pick them up, you could hop in your car and waste the next 6 hours of your life, or you could start looking up body shops in the area, or friends close by who might be more able and eager to help.
2Get your hands dirty. Sometimes, the best course of action is just to hop in and start helping. Don't wait to be asked for help, just volunteer. This is especially true for big jobs, like garage cleanings, or yard work, things that nobody is especially excited to do, but just need to be done. Instead of waiting around and debating, just hop in and volunteer to get started.
- Your willingness to work might have the effect of inspiring others to hop in and stop hemming and hawing about what to do. Be a leader.
3Keep your help quiet. Sometimes, receiving help can be a little embarrassing, so try to put yourself in the shoes of the person you're helping and not make a big deal out of it. This is especially true if you're doing something like lend money, or get someone out of a pickle that might have been somewhat embarrassing.
- Don't underestimate what might be embarrassing for some people. If your buddy needed help changing a tire because he didn't know how, it might be somewhat emasculating to bring it up in front of all your friends. If he offers to tell the story as a joke, hop in, but don't volunteer the information yourself.
4Help because you want to. If you want to be really and truly helpful to others, you need to act from the goodness of your heart, not because you want something in return. This will only lead to disappointment, resentment, and manipulative behavior, making you bitter in the long run. Acting from a place of ulterior motives only makes you less helpful in the long run.
- Don't push your help on people. If someone's committed to doing something solo, it's not your business to force your aid on them. Be available if they should have a change of heart.
5Be careful. There are people out there who will take advantage of your generosity. The joy you derive from helping your fellow man is worth the risk, but such risk should be mitigated wherever possible. Use common sense. Understand your own limitations and bless you for helping.
- Look out for leeches. Learn to understand who actually needs your help and who might just be conning, or manipulating you. Don't be emotionally manipulated into doing too much for someone.
Can I help sick people?
Yes, helping sick people is a wonderful way to be helpful.
How can I be helpful when people tell me to mind my own business?
It's really good to be helpful, but only when that help is wanted. If someone tells you to stay away, listen to them.
How can I be helpful?
Do favors, help your friends study and help those in need.
Ask a Question
- If anyone asks you do something, do it because, you never know, they might do something helpful for you one day.
- Be friends with people because you like them, never ever because of what they have. If you hang out with someone because you truly like them by who they are, that friendship will be great and that person will genuinely like you too. But if you hang out with someone because they are popular or have clothes in the latest fashion, it won't work.
- You don't need to forget about yourself, but you need to care about somebody else's feelings. Asking their opinion about something won't hurt, maybe they want to speak up, but have no courage for it. You should help out all people.
- You should always try and find the courage to speak up but also know when to have the courtesy to listen :) .
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