I'm going to help you whether you like it or not.
Hello, lovely readers, I was out of commission for a few days attending a family funeral, doing what you do at funerals – cry until you can laugh again, eat, and tell stories. The most awkward thing I encountered all weekend was a brochure for Thumbies. Yes, you too can own cufflinks bearing the thumbprint of your dearly departed. Or, if you’re planning ahead for many deaths, why not start a Dead Loved One charm bracelet?
Eh, grief is weird, and I can see how this kind of talisman might be comforting to many people and I guess the owners of the thumbprints don’t technically have to be dead, but I can’t get past the cutesy name. “I love those unusual earrings you’re wearing!” “Thanks, they are Thumbies! The left one is my Grandma and the right is my Aunt Joan!”
Now onto today’s letter:
Dear Captain Awkward,
I’m in a bit of a tough spot these days, and I’m having to rely on my friends for help. I am very fortunate to have lots of wonderful pals who are happy — even eager — to provide all sorts of support. I know this because they’ve told me so, repeatedly. But for whatever insane reason, I’m finding it hard to ask. I don’t think it’s a pride thing; I fully admit that I need help. Rather, it’s my fear of being beholden or of asking for too much. Before I ask for even the simplest thing, I’m racking my brain, trying to think of who might be available, who would say yes even if they don’t actually have the time and how I can pay them back. I know I need to to let MY FRIENDS make the decision to help me (or not), but I’m stuck in a mire of over-analysis and totally useless guilt. How do I dig myself out?
Your letter tells me that you already know exactly what you need to do. Slow down, stop worrying, assume that your friends who are adults who can set their own boundaries about helping. By that I mean they won’t offer to help if they don’t actually want to, and they’ll say no if they can’t do a specific thing, and they’re not too concerned about being paid back because they love you and they know that if the shoe were on the other foot you’d be the one helping them. Since you will be friends for life it will all come out in the wash. In fact, they would be mad to know that you’re suffering in silence and not asking them for help that they can easily give and outright have offered to give.
So one thing you could do, when the cycle of “Oh no, I can’t inconvenience anyone!” starts up is to just remind yourself: “My friends are adults who like me and want to help.”