How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Asking for Help


Techniques > Conversation techniques > Conversational Traps > Asking for Help

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



One of the things we sometimes do in conversation is to directly ask the other person for help, from physical help in moving things to intellectual help in solving problems.

The problem is that other people, even friends, may not want to help. Perhaps they are busy or the task looks too hard. Perhaps they are not as good friends as we thought they were.

But if you ask persuasively, if you plead or remind them of what they owe you, them they may well feel obliged to agree. And they may also feel coerced and aggrieved and see you more of a user and less of a friend. This situation may be worsened if you ask them in front of others so they feel they must comply or appear stingy to other people.


I need your help moving house next week. I've booked the truck and I'm depending on you to help shift stuff on Saturday and Sunday.

Oh, oh! Sam's kicked me out! You've got to help me! I've got nowhere to live and can't afford anything!


What we expect from friendship varies greatly with each person, as does what we expect to give. Some see friends as acquaintances whose purpose is little more than everyday conversation. Others see friends as people who are obliged to provide any assistance required. Most of us have some balance of both and can name what we would and would not door expect from specific friends.

The problem comes when one person wants more than the other is prepared to give, and nowhere is this tested more than when time, money or other resources are being requested. Money in particular can be a troublesome subject, especially if it is not repaid soon.

General rules with regard to help include:

  • Never ask for more than you would genuinely give freely.
  • Try to help them before you need them to help you.
  • Avoid asking for or lend money unless it is a small amount that will be repaid soon
  • Ask for help. Don't demand it. Don't pressurize them to help.
  • When they do help, be very grateful.
  • If they ask for help, think kindly of them and help if you can.
  • If they ask for something you would feel uncomfortable giving, politely refuse.
  • If they insist, refuse. If they persist, repeat the refusal.
  • If they regularly ask for your help, consider avoiding them in future.

Having all said this, asking for help can be a great way of building a relationship, but it must be done carefully, in particular, the question should:

  • Be about something in which they are very interested.
  • Is something where it is easy for them to help you.

For example, you can ask for their opinion about something, to do a five-minute task, to borrow something (that you are confident they will be happy to lend), etc.

See also

Questioning Techniques, Ben Franklin Effect

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |


You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book

Look inside


Please help and share:


Quick links


* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design


* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower


* Principles


* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values


* Alphabetic list
* Theory types


Guest Articles


| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed