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How to Ask for Help

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How to Ask for Help

You’re not weak or lazy – everyone needs support. Follow these steps to learn when to reach out, who to go to and what to say


5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you feel uncomfortable asking for help, try out clinical psychologist Debbie Sorensen’s practical solutions.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


Humans evolved to cooperate and help one another. So why doesn’t asking for help come more naturally to a species that is wired for collaboration? Why does it feel so uncomfortable and embarrassing? Clinical psychologist Debbie Sorensen explores the tender practice of asking for help and gives practical advice for overcoming discomfort. Because ultimately, collaboration will get you much farther than independence.


Asking for help is uncomfortable, but it’s a vital life skill. Acknowledge your discomfort, and ask for help anyway.

Most people are reluctant to ask for help, which often evokes some level of discomfort or embarrassment. Many consider appeals for help to be a sign of weakness, so they suffer in silence, bearing the brunt of the load alone. In many cultures, independence and stoicism are prized characteristics, passed down through generations, and feelings of guilt often accompany appeals for help.

While carrying a burden alone may make you feel strong, over time you’ll fall prey to fatigue, burnout, and reduced mental and physical well-being. Learning to ask for help is a vital life skill that benefits everyone: Research shows that acts of kindness improve the well-being of not only the receiver but also the giver.

The human mind will invent many reasons not to ask for help. You may feel embarrassed or assume that your request will be rejected, but those concerns are probably unfounded. People agree to help more often than not, and performing random acts of kindness releases a dopamine hit in the altruist. If you...

About the Author

Clinical psychologist Debbie Sorensen, a co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast, co-wrote ACT Daily Journal: Get Unstuck and Live Fully with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

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