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This is John’s version of the events:
There was a time that my friend Mark had no job and I noticed his stress level increasing, meanwhile he become more and more isolated. I was constantly hearing about his bills piling up and the fact that there were no job offers in the horizon. Even though we were friends, I didn’t feel close enough to race the topic of unemployment with him. One day, I decided to give him a job; to my surprise Mark felt humiliated and after some very bizarre discussions, the friendship was broken. Nowadays, I find myself very inadequate around him.
This is Mark’s version of the events:
Some years ago, I had a difficult time finding a job. It was hard on my family and for a while, all I could thing about was the bills piling up with no job offers in the horizon. To talk about my personal struggle made me fell alone and humiliated. During that time, some people gave me a couple of jobs, but that didn’t solve my situation; besides I didn’t know how to do those jobs. Even today I feel the tension when I see those guys.
To offer help is not the same as to give it.
To receive help is no the same as to ask for it.
These troubling notions are part of our lives.
Mark and John’s version of the events have one sentence in common: bills piling up and no job offers in the horizon; however each of them has a different angle on it, as a result of those interpretations, the relationship was a broken.
To see someone in trouble and want to help doesn’t mean we know or understand the situation he or she is in. The one listening is incline to connect with what they are feeling, not with what the other one is going through. Consequently, if help is offered without a clear conversation of what is needed, the risk is to offer what we think we would need in the same situation.
To be in Mark’s position can take us to a place of loneliness and humiliation that will probably determines his capacity to make decisions. On the other hand, John believes his gift is the solution to the problem.
How do we offer help? How do we ask for help?
There is not a right or wrong way to do it, sometimes we just need to take the risk; still, I think to help or to ask for help requires a fine level of human connection.
Humility, empathy, sympathy, credibility, honesty, depth, generosity, and understanding must be part of both, the offer and the need.
To find a place for options in which the offer and the need meet will require time, patient, clarity, openness, flexibility and adaptability.
The challenge of these conversations will be rewarded with connection and options, which will honor the word help.
I encourage you to find that fine line of connection; it will be an opportunity for personal growth and a deep sense of peace.