Asking for “help”

The words “Can you help me?” are powerful. My friend Aaron posted recently about this. Two points from his post made me feel called out:

Be direct and explicit. Don’t ask to “pick their brain,” or “to chat,” ask for what you specifically need.

Ask a specific person, or specific people individually. If you pose the request to a group, you’re less likely to get help due to what psychologists call “diffusion of responsibility,” which is where group members all assume that someone else will help you.

Aaron Bieber

I’m 100% guilty of asking to “chat” or “pick your brain.” I ask groups because I feel guilty asking individuals. I avoid the words “Can you help me?” because they make me feel like a burden. But, as Aaron points out, people like to help if it’s an informed decision.

So my new weekly challenge to myself is to ask for help honestly and directly every time I need it.

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