Offer help without waiting to be asked

Altruism, of course, is unselfishly giving something to someone with no expectation of anything in return. This could be something physical, like goods or money, or it may be something less tangible, such as your time.

Some argue, however, that ‘pure’ altruism is never really possible. Why? Well, because there’s almost always a sense of satisfaction or gratification when you’ve given something away, an effect psychologists refer to as the ‘helper’s high’.


Years ago I asked a friend who was at the time working as a clinical psychologist in the British national health service for his top tip for helping a friend who was feeling low.

Without missing a beat he wholeheartedly recommended asking them to help you. Quite simply, he said, see if they’ll assist you with some small task. I think he was spot-on with this advice. It’s nice to be asked, and it feels good to help.

Knowing how this process works, maybe you can also use it to your own advantage on days when you’re not feeling completely great yourself? Don’t necessarily wait to be asked for your help, just roll up your sleeves and offer it.

So when’s a good time to do this? Well, how about this very day?

2 thoughts on “Offer help without waiting to be asked

  1. Great post that is so true. I love helping others but found it so hard to ask for help when I needed it. Someone made a similar point to me. Who would I help if no one let me help them! I am trying, it is still hard for me.

    I use this logic with my kindergarten class when we play freeze tag. If you get frozen, someone gets to save/help you. If you don’t get tag the others can’t be heros. We tally the saves at the end of the game. (Kids love the superhero theme)

    Thanks for the reminder!

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