Learning to ask for help

I spent today thinking and admiring people who know how to ask for help, because face it, I am the worst when it comes to asking for help. You know one of those questions during an interview session where people would sometimes ask, “What do you think is your weakness?” and I think I would not hesitate for one second to say that I have trouble delegating tasks and asking for help. So today when a friend texted me saying she needed help with some of her work, and I am happy (not obliged!) to help, I thought to myself, this is something I must try one day. Because how else do you know if you are going to get some help, if you are not going to ask?

While I have seen — for example — personal donation links going around in Twitter by non-Malaysians, I feel like asking for help is not quite welcomed in our society. We are a society who look down — and sometimes all armed with pitchforks — on the posts asking for personal Venmo or Paypal donations. You have to earn the right, or to appear desperate or poor enough, to ask for help, especially if it’s concerning money. Asking for help could signify weakness and ineptness, and if done on a much different tone, bossiness — especially if you are woman, damn if you do, damn if you don’t. There are conditions before you ask for help, and if done wrongly, could incur some psychological cost on yourself — for example, asking for help regarding mental health while having to deal with the whole stigmatisation. It could also be attributed to one’s ego, which again, relates to the idea that asking for help correlates with weakness.

I am honestly lucky to have a bunch of close friends who know to intervene whenever they sense I need help. I do not know how, but a lot of times when I am struggling, any of them would text and drop a hint. At the same time, these are the very same people who never hesitate to ask for help in a very respectful way, and because their projects are often so amazing, I would never hesitate to chip in.

The last few years I learned to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out” or “I don’t know enough of the topic to have an opinion about that, but I will find out” whenever I was asked about something I don’t have much prior knowledge in. I guess this year I can learn to ask for help.

Reading in my tabs:

Mapping our roles in social change ecosystem from Deepa Iyer of Solidarity Is and Building Movement Project (Thanks Fariha!)


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