When You Offer Help, Be Specific

June 29, 2020

Categories: Helping

One of our friends had a baby last week. They had just gotten home from the hospital, and Jenn and I thought it might be nice to see if they needed any help.

I sent a text first: “Let us know if you need anything!” I didn’t get a response back.

Jenn sent a second text: “Can we bring you dinner this week? What night would work best?” Our friend responded to this text, and we set up a date to bring over dinner.

It’s Better to Be Specific

There’s a lesson here that is important to keep in mind if we want to actually be helpful to our friends and family. When you reach out to offer help, it’s better to be specific.

Vague Offer

My text was vague. I put the responsibility on to my friend to think about what would be helpful and figure all that out. When someone is exhausted or having a tough time, this is too much work. If you reach out with a vague offer of help, you probably won’t hear anything back.

Specific Offer

It’s better to be specific about your offer. Think about what might be helpful for the other person. Then, make a specific offer of help. Jenn did that when she offered to bring a meal. This is something tangible, and the person can respond quickly and easily.

Take Home Message

If you want to help, do some thinking ahead of time about what would be helpful, and offer something specific.


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