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.