on being helpful


While going through a lot of medical problems–while going through any problems–there are always people who want to help. (I assume that many people want to help. There are probably a few who merely want recognition. But I’m generally optimistic and will assume that most people mean well.)

I have been both on the receiving end (ugh, too many times) and on the giving end, wanting to help those in need. Thing is, I know when I’m on the giving end, it’s hard to figure out how to help the recipient. Do I make them food? Do I clean their house?

Having been on both sides of the equation, I will tell you this: if you’re trying to figure out what to do for someone, simply ask what they want or need. A few times after surgeries, I have had no appetite and been totally unable to eat, and friends have thought themselves “helpful” by making me a lot of food. I would’ve rather they spend their energy and time sitting and talking with me, rather than making food that I wouldn’t eat.

In the end, just ask for specifics–the recipient will feel like you really are offering your time and talents.

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