We all want to be helpful, compassionate and caring human being (weâ€™ll most of us do). Â Â Many of us, including me, try to practice this daily (yes, it can be considered a â€œpracticeâ€). Â Sometimes we donâ€™t know what to do or what to say to help others. We want to serve, but how? Â Â Four words: Â â€œHow can I help?â€. Â With those 4 words you are 1) putting yourself at service and 2) giving the other person the power to make their own decision on what they need. Â When we see someone in distress, itâ€™s human nature to jump in with both feet with unsolicited advice, maybe a lecture or unwarranted sympathy, etc. Â What about if you just said, â€œHow can I help?â€. Â Your friend now can reflect on what they need at that moment.
Note that this is not â€œcanâ€ I help itâ€™s â€œhowâ€ can I help. Â Most of us feel that asking for help shows weakness. Â We do not want to burden others. Â With â€œcanâ€ I help, the receiver will most likely default to, â€œOh, no, Iâ€™m okay, thank youâ€. Â When you change the wording to â€œhowâ€ can I help, you are saying, â€œIâ€™m here to help, what can I doâ€. Â It seems like semantics, but it has an entire different feel.
Try to anticipate the needs of others. Â Again, because folks are reluctant to ask for and accept help, you can anticipate or intuit what they may need and jump in. For example, youâ€™re visiting a friend in the hospital. Â Instead of asking, â€œCan I get you anythingâ€, try â€œDo you want a chocolate or vanilla shake?â€ or â€œDo you was People Magazine or Vogue?â€. Â Watch their eye light up. Or, to your multi-tasking, stressed out friend, â€œWhat time is your daughterâ€™s ballet lesson over, Iâ€™d love to pick her up for youâ€. Â Sheâ€™ll be thankful.
Speaking of visiting friends in the hospital, Letty Cottin Pogrebinâ€™s book, â€œHow to be a Friend to a Friend Whoâ€™s Sickâ€ advises on how to offer comfort or just simply talk to sick friends. Â If youâ€™re like me, you often donâ€™t really know what to say. It feels like there are too many doâ€™s and donâ€™ts. Â â€œHave You Thought of Going to Mexico for Coffee Enemas?â€, â€œMy Aunt Hilda Had That, and…â€, â€œAny of Us Could Get Hit by a Bus Tomorrowâ€, â€œHow Long Do You Have?â€ and Â â€œYou Have to Be Positiveâ€ are considered no-noâ€™s by Didi Gluck in Real Simple. Perhaps you could just say â€œHow can I help?â€