When Help Isn’t Needed: Time to Stop Helping Someone

by | Jun 13, 2023 | About Life, friendship, life | 0 comments

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

A toddler reaching out for their toppled milk needs help. An animal trapped in its cage deserves help. But should people step in voluntarily if someone is struggling and they don’t ask for help? How do people know when help isn’t needed?

Whether it’s a child with untied shoelaces or a bird flapping its broken wings, one can expect somebody to step up and help. With or without a reward, people will help nonetheless. It could be because they’re simply selfless or because they thrive on the emotional reward they receive from helping others.

People’s capacity to help is impressive. Whenever they see someone in trouble, the unconscious drive to assist often pushes them to act and reach their hands out. The feeling afterward can be the most wonderful and elating. At the same time, it can brighten one’s day when a stranger goes out of their way to help. It makes them feel seen and heard, a reminder they aren’t alone.

However, as ironic as it sounds, helping isn’t always good.

If it’s appreciated, people can be the most joyous and grateful. But when help isn’t needed, they may feel their space violated and their vulnerability is exploited.

When Is It Right to Help?

“Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one friend.”
– John 15:13. NIV

People have been molded to help. The Bible has spoken about this principle time and time again across multiple verses and its many sections. With this deeply engraved principle, people often forget how the most important thing isn’t helping in itself. Instead, it’s the consideration of the person asking for it.

Regardless if it’s done with the purest intentions, the act won’t have good results if the receiver isn’t open for help. Helping shouldn’t only consider one’s satisfaction but also the other’s vulnerability. Else, helping becomes an obligation, and receiving it becomes more of an added burden than the alleviation of it. If it’s not needed or welcomed, receiving help feels like one’s autonomy has been removed.

Knowing when it’s okay to step in and when help isn’t needed can be tricky. But with the proper assessment, people can learn the right timing. In the book Encouraging a Friend with Our Trials by Jamie Pulos-Fry, the author lays down what can be taken as ground rules when helping others. Although the book is aimed at those needing encouragement, it’s also a guide for those who want to help. With the Bible as its basis, people will learn when helping is right and when it’s unwarranted righteousness.

The book serves as a reminder that what’s more important than helping is knowing one’s limits. Helping shouldn’t feel forced, disruptive, or invasive. It shouldn’t make one feel disrespected or belittled.

When Help Isn’t Needed, What Should One Do?

There are many reasons why people don’t want anybody’s help. It can be scary and overwhelming when one realizes they’re going through something. This can make them hesitate and act as though help isn’t needed. When this happens, it can become a touchy subject and, at times, frustrating when it’s obvious they need help but don’t accept it.

People must remember not to take it personally. Again, helping isn’t solely about the giver’s satisfaction but the receiver’s decision and comfort. Giving help may be easy, but asking for it is a different story.

If people’s advice isn’t welcomed, they shouldn’t be forced through. But this also doesn’t mean they should abandon their ailing friend. It can be frustrating, but rejection isn’t always equal to asking to be left alone. Instead, what people can do when help isn’t needed is to remain available for their friends.

Sometimes, one’s presence is more valuable than any material or assistance they’re offering. Support can be given by staying silently beside each other. This validates their emotions, reminding them they aren’t alone and their problems matter no matter how minute.

By simply being there, people aren’t pressuring others to express what they don’t want to. This gives them the appropriate space, allowing them to process things personally first. Likewise, this makes them realize they aren’t alone, but nobody is trying to take their autonomy away. They’re given the chance to solve things alone. However, once they feel like they can’t, someone will be there.

When Things Are Serious and Taken for Granted

While giving one space is the right idea, there can be circumstances when one acts like help isn’t needed when it is. This happens when they’re already in danger by not seeking help. During these situations, people must act on the urgency and seek help immediately.


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