When trying to console someone, I’ve often found myself, at a loss for what to do, saying “Let me know how I can help.” Today, in just such a same situation, a friend modeled a different kind of behavior. She said, “Why don’t I….” and offered up a few very specific ideas of things she’d like to do to help.
This feels like the difference between not-so-helpful generic feedback (“Great job!”) and very useful, specific positive feedback (“What I particularly liked was when you…”).
Specifics help in all situations, especially when someone is feeling a sense of loss. Usually, a big part of the gift you give is taking away someone else’s burden of making a decision.
2 thoughts on “Here’s how I can help”
Thanks, i never did think of it in that way. Next hopefully i will remember to offer my help in specifics and not generics! Good one
New to following your blog, but this post resonated with me. Several years ago my wife was pregnant with our first child and was placed on bed rest for the last three months of her pregnancy. A chalenge to say the least. So many people offered up help in the non-specific way you mention; “let us know if we can do anything to help”. Being on the receiving end put a new spin on this statement(one I had used so many times). It puts the pressure on the person(s) in need. Making a decsion is as you say a burden, not to mention that you have to get additional gumption up to ask for it. Both are difficult in a time of crisis. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was when people just “did” something.