How do I learn how to ask for help?

I’m currently listening to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking audiobook.

I was born in the 1970s, grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and a latch-key kid. On top of that, I’m an only child.

Amanda’s only a few months older than I am. We both grew up in the northeastern United States. She has an older sister, so she’s not an only child, like me.

If I ever wanted anything, I had to figure out how to get it myself. I had no one to ask for help.

I never learned how to ask for help.

She describes asking for help as this wonderful thing, where you just put your faith in the universe that if you just ask, that you can trust people who will answer.

The audiobook is filled with great stories of times where she’s needed things and just by asking, got what she needed, usually.

She tells the story of someone who doesn’t usually ask for help, and the one time he does, when he really needed it–to have his aunt reconcile with his dying mom–and she refused, it crushed him.

I may be misremembering details of the parable, as I was listening to it while driving, but I seem to recall her advice is to not only ask for help when you absolutely need it, but to just ask for help all the time, so that you can learn to handle rejection which is inevitable. Definitely sounds like some sage advice.

I don’t know how to ask for help.

The times when I need help, it’s because I don’t even know what I need. Exactly how do you ask the universe for help when you don’t even know what you need?

This is my conundrum. As someone who has learned to be wholly independent, if I knew what I needed, I would just go out and get it or go and do it myself.

I’m only half-way through Amanda’s audiobook, so maybe she’ll explain what to do in this situation. I wanted to get these thoughts down in writing while they were bouncing around in my head, though.

Do you know how to ask for help?

How did you learn how to ask for help?


  1. Well hey there. The simple act of writing this is already asking for help. You did it easily so you should be okay asking for other people’s help.

    Take it one step at a time. If you’d rather not ask people, try to ask God first when you pray. Use it as your practice session maybe? Or talk to a friend and practice asking favors maybe.

    If you become really desperate that’s how it will naturally come out. There comes a point in our life when we are really powerless and the only way out is if we decide to change it to have a better life then we will ask for people’s assistance. At least for me that’s what happened.

    As much as we’d like to do stuff on our own we are part of a society for a reason. Asking for help is not like selling or begging. If someone is in trouble people can help better if they know what the problem is.

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