Friday, 15 July 2016

I tried to do something to

help someone yesterday. It didn't work.
I didn't rush in. I thought about it. I made the necessary preparations. Then I offered quietly. 
I really wish I had not bothered. "I DON'T NEED ANY F..... HELP!" It could hardly have been clearer. 
I prowled off trying to tell myself that it didn't matter. At least I had tried.
I tried with someone else the other day. This was someone I was much less sure about and I made it very plain that I would understand if my offer was not accepted. I had a stiff but polite response. She would manage without any help from anyone. I suspect she has but it would have been better for her if she had talked her problem through with someone and accepted some help.
But yesterday's problem was different because the problem was one she could not cope with alone. Two more people offered help and got an even more violent reaction. We've all had to leave her to it even though we know it is going to end up costing her money she can't afford.
I know I am much too independent. Someone offered to carry my bag upstairs the other day. I didn't accept. I probably should have. It was something I could do myself but perhaps they needed to be allowed to help?
This morning I read a small piece where someone I know eventually bought a rail ticket for a distressed teen and sent him on his way. He had been asking for help and not getting it. It reminded me of the occasion on which a younger boy I knew was mugged and left with no way to get  home. He went into the only shop around for some distance and asked if the person behind the counter would make a phone call to his mother and tell her what had happened. The person behind the counter refused and the boy did the only thing he could think of doing in his distress. He started to walk home even though it was cold, raining heavily, and going to be dark long before he got there.
The police picked him up almost two hours later. He was about half way home by then. When they had delivered him they apparently went back and spoke to the person who had refused to make that simple phone call for an obviously distressed child.
It's left me wondering about this offering to help business. Should I have just said "thanks" and passed my bag over even though I could do it myself? Is doing something like that more likely to ensure that people offer help when it really is needed? I was polite but I wonder whether the person who offered feel rebuffed? I hope not.
I know I won't want to offer the person who swore any help again. It was an effort the first time. Would I help if they asked me? I suppose I would but I am not sure how I would feel about it.
This business of offering and accepting help is complicated. It's still better to offer and be rebuffed. I am going to tell myself that anyway.


Place to Stand said...

Yup you did the right thing. Better to offer and be sent away with a brusque no thanks than to not offer.

All my life people have poured out their hearts to me, sometimes only having met me briefly. I see it as a privilege, if sometimes a complex one.

Offering kindness and help must be a good thing. Beautifully written.

Jodiebodie said...

The right thing to do is to offer help if you are certain it is warranted but be prepared to be refused and don't take it personally.

Be aware that your idea of what is helpful may differ from the person needing or accepting help.

Trust that most people in need of help are their own best expert about what they need and how someone should help them.

Your story has raised a number of issues for me which I will follow up in more detail on my blog in due course.