While I find the statement, “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know” very nice and thoughtful I have come to realize there is something else that is even better.
Don’t ask, just do.
What does this mean? Instead of saying “Is there anything I can do?” reach into your friend pouch of your brain and figure out what would make the person feel better and just do it. Many of us, especially in times of need, find it very difficult to ask for help. We don’t want to burden anyone. Well, guess what? That is what your friends are for! It’s still hard to do however. Even when someone offers to help, I often won’t ask because I feel like I should be able to handle my crisis on my own. I am getting better at asking for help though but it’s still difficult.
What I have found I really like and appreciate is when someone just does something to help me out instead of offering. They don’t ask…they just do! This is easiest to do when you really know someone and know what will be helpful. Not everyone handles things the same way so you need to be perceptive. Isn’t that what we should be to our friends anyway?? I try really hard to do this. When I see a friend who is going through a hard time I try not to ask what I can do but just help out instead. At the very least I will voice what I would LIKE to do and hope they allow me. It is so much easier to accept the help of someone if the idea was theirs then to say “This is what I need right now.”
Here are some examples in case I lost you in my wordy definition!
When I get sick my sister is usually the one who takes care of me. Sweet isn’t she? She will call and say “Can I bring you some food? What would you like?” Even if I tell her that I’m fine and that she really doesn’t have to go out of her way for me she will then say something like “Well at least let me bring you some medicine or do your dishes for you…is it okay if I stop by?” That is called doing and not just asking! She knows me well enough to know that I’m probably not going to call and ask her to drive across town to bring me some food. She also knows me well enough to know that I probably will pass on her offer but she knows I need some help and love and so she will word things in a way to where I more or less have to accept her help. She’s not pushy about it though. I can just tell that she cares enough to not be generic but to go above and beyond and act upon what she knows is best for me.
I propose that the next time you see your loved ones down and out instead of saying “If there is anything you need, let me know.” Instead say something like “Let’s get together for dinner tomorrow” or send them some flowers or something… anything that is an ACTUAL action instead of just an offer. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love offers as well! Just remember how hard it is for people to reach out and ask for help. So if you don’t make them ask, you are helping them out even more by letting them know you understand them AND you are there to help them out regardless.