I just got an interesting call from a friend.
He said: “It feels like I help people a lot, but get nothing in return. I’m considering to stop helping people but I don’t want to be a douche”.
I remembered how much I struggled with this. When I was a kid I helped my friends with their mopeds because I was tech savvy, and I remember how painful it was when they just took it for granted.
On the other hand, to just stop helping people is a surefire way to lose your friends. Help people the right way and you will get a ton of benefits in life. This was the advice I gave my friend:
- If you feel that people don’t value your help, it might be because you’re the one who devalues it.
Let them know that you enjoy helping them, but don’t say things like “It’s nothing, I didn’t have anything to do anyway” or “I need nothing back, I just think it’s fun to help”. You don’t have to talk down on what you did. Just say something like “I’m glad to help, I think this will turn out great”.
- Help people with things they would struggle to do themselves, but is easy for you to help them with.
For example: If you’re great at math and someone is asking for your help, don’t hesitate to help that person out.
- Don’t help people with things they could have done themselves with the same effort as you.
If someone would have asked me something just because they were too lazy to do it themselves, I would simply ask if there’s a specific reason why they can’t do it themselves. (But first, make sure they didn’t help you with something earlier and you just forgot about it.)
- Help people with things that are easy for you to help them with.
I gave the entire code of my website to a friend when he needed a new website. It didn’t take any effort for me so it’s obvious that I should help him out. (But I didn’t say “It’s nothing”. I said “I’ve spent a lot of hours on my page so I’m sure it would save you a lot of time”). Guess if he appreciated it?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for things in return.
If you paid for the last lunch, the next one’s on you friend. If you helped someone with the math, it’s just natural that they help you out with something you might struggle with.
- Be generous and help your friends as much as you can.
If you follow these rules, people won’t take your help for granted. Instead, they will look up to you because you’re in power to help them. They will see you as a generous person, which is attractive. They will also feel obligated to help you out in return, which will be great for you down the road.
- If it feels like you always give more than you get back, bring it up with them.
As long as you do it in a friendly tone, it will be great for your friendship: “Sometimes I get a feeling that I help you more than I get back. I’m mainly thinking about last time when I helped you with [the thing]. I just want to let you know and hear what you think about it.”
Some people use their friends and never give anything back. Avoid these people and don’t let them take away your faith in others.
Perhaps you feel that you can’t ignore them because they’re in the group of friends you’re stuck with. It might feel like you can’t risk losing them.
How do you feel about helping others and asking for help? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!