Some of us have a hard time asking for help even though we’re going through a tough time.

I used to be in that category. But when I went through my divorce, I learned it’s okay to ask for help.

It helped me keep my sanity during that major life transition.

What prevented me before was my mindset about needing help.

I mistakenly thought I could do it all.

I mistakenly thought no one would want to help.

I mistakenly thought I was imposing on others.

I mistakenly thought it would show I was incapable.

I mistakenly thought I would have to share details about my situation.

What I didn’t realize is if I didn’t ask for help, I would continue to create more stress for myself – especially when going through a major life transition.

I was trying to do more than what was humanly possible.

Some of us have a great support system with family and friends who know intuitively how to help.

But most people need you to ask for help before they get involved.

It’s not that they don’t want to help. They just don’t know what you need.

Before asking for help, prepare yourself. Recognize if someone declines to help, it’s not personal. They may be busy themselves.

Also, some people have been burned by others taking advantage of their kindness. Unfortunately, this situation happens more often than expected.

If you’re asking for help from someone who has been burned, reassure them of your gratitude.

When asking for help, be specific about what you need and estimate how much time it would take.

Here are a few examples:

“I need a break from caregiving. Do you have an hour on Monday to watch my father? You don’t need to do anything because he reads or watches television. I just need someone there in case there is an emergency.”
“Being a new mom is exhausting. Do you have time this week to watch my newborn so I can take a nap?”
“Going through a divorce has taken a toll on me. Do you have time to help me pack for an hour or two?”

Asking for help can be uncomfortable when you haven’t done so in the past. But when you’re going through a tough time, give yourself a break.

Change your normal behavior and ask for help. It’ll save your sanity.

Also, don’t be surprised by the positive response you receive. Your family and friends want to help you, especially when you’re going through a major life transition.

(Update to original post from March 30, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”