When “Let Me Know How I Can Help” Isn’t Enough

August 19, 2020

Have you ever said or typed, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” to a friend or loved one? Yeah, admittedly, I’m guilty of using this phrase too.

I didn’t think about how insensitive it can come across to the person on the receiving end until I went through two horrific tragedies in my life within one day of each other. ONE DAY y’all!!! Whew, I thought I was going to lose my mind…BUT GOD!!

Side bar: Have you ever said, “Lord did you really think I could handle all of this at one time? Please enlighten me because I’m about to nut up! This TEW much God!”

Anyway, back to the reason you’re reading this blog post today lol! When I went through those tragedies I received multiple messages daily from different people saying, “Let me know if you need anything”, “Let me know if there’s something I can do to help”, “I’m here if you need me”, etc.

Think of a way to help, then do it

I remember receiving one too many of these messages one day, so I yelled at my phone, “I wish I knew how to tell you to help me. If I knew what I needed I would tell you, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW!!”

When someone is dealing with the death of a loved one, a miscarriage, caring for an ill family member, divorce, overwhelmed with work, life, etc., they are probably having a hard time navigating all of their emotions and the demands this unexpected interruption has caused.

How about instead of putting the responsibility on the one who is usually carrying the weight of tragedy in their life, you offer to help in a way that you think they need you to. Better yet, how about you take the initiative to just do? Don’t wait on them to tell you how.

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there, not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel we are supported and cared about.”
-Author unknown

How To Turn “Let Me Know If I Can Help” Into Actions:

Today I’m sharing some simple ways that has looked in my life in hopes of giving you some ideas on how you can help a friend with more than the words, “Let me know if you need me”.

  • Here are a few dollars to help with gas to and from the hospital to visit your sick parent.
  • Here’s a few dollars to pick up dinner.
  • I want to fix dinner to take some of the load off of you. What day will work best for you?
  • Let’s meet up for ice cream or at the park to catch up. I’m concerned about you and want to give you a safe space to process your thoughts.
  • Hey, can I watch the kids for you this weekend so you can get a break? If this weekend doesn’t work for you, let me know when will be a better time for me to help out in this way.
  • I know it’s tough feeling like you’re in a never ending battle with your child. Sometimes they respond better to someone outside of the situation they’re dealing with. Do you mind if I chat with your son/daughter to see if he/she will open up to me a little.
  • Hey, look on your front porch. I picked up a few items from the store I thought you could use.
  • Hey girl! I made brownies and want to share them with you. I know you’ve had a tough week.
  • I know the weight of finances have been weighing on you heavily. I’d love to help purchase some of your kids school supplies/clothes.
  • Hey, I’m heading over to sit with you. We don’t have to talk. I just want you to know that I’m here for you.
  • I’m on my way over to help you clean up and I’m not taking no for an answer. We’re friends. Friends help friends!
  • Send a surprise Amazon gift card or order a gift and have it delivered.
  • Make a small goodie bag with some of their favorite things.
  • Attach a note to a Powerade that says, “You are more ‘Power’ful than you know. You’re not alone. I’m here to ‘ade” you.”

Honestly, this is still hard for me. Don’t let this blog post fool you. It’s a habit I’m trying to get out of. When I say or send someone this type of message I really mean it, but I don’t quiet know how to be helpful. So, I settle for what feels safe and comfortable.

With that said, give yourself grace as you try to find a different way to communicate your desire to help others who may be like I was over 2 years ago, and have no idea how to communicate their needs to you. In the same way, give grace to your family and friends who really want to help you when they say or send this type of message. It takes time to get rid of learned behaviors.

I’d love to hear some ways you’ve helped others without putting the responsibility on them to tell you how. I’m always looking for new ideas.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

In Love and Grace,

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  • Kay Summerset March 20, 2021 at 8:13 AM

    Hi Tiffany,
    Great suggestions! Yes I have used those same statements before. The ironic thing is that we always mean well when we say them. In order to help those who are hurting we must be willing and prepared to give them some time and willing to use our resources. That is called Love In Action. Thanks for the insight ?
    Lady-Kay Summerset

    • Tiffany Z. Williams March 31, 2021 at 5:43 PM

      Hey Lady-Kay! Thank you so much for reading and sharing such great insight as well. I love that…Love In Action!!! So good to hear from you. Hugs and kisses!! Muah!

  • Nikita August 22, 2020 at 3:23 PM

    Love love love this! Intentional specific help definitely takes the pressure off and makes such a difference!

    • Tiffany Z. Williams August 26, 2020 at 12:59 PM

      Thanks Nikita for taking the time to read it. I agree, it helps take off some of the undue pressure we put on ourselves and lessen the expectations we have of others.