Monthly Archives: November 2010

How To Get People To Help You

It can be frustrating when you feel that you are getting no help at all and that you have to do everything alone. Sometimes all you want is for other people to pull their weight.

You can’t necessarily have a direct impact on the behaviour of others, but you can change your behaviour to motivate others to help you, and set up a situation where they are expected to help you out.

Here’s how to get people to help you

1. Examine your own behaviour

Do you make it difficult for people to help you? Are you critical of people’s efforts or unclear or ungrateful when people offer to help you? All of these things are guaranteed to make people less likely to want to help you.

So instead, be grateful for help offered and accept that if someone else is doing a task, it might not necessarily get done the way that you’d do it. However, it will get done and you won’t have to do it. Be grateful for that!

2. Don’t be so available

Moms are especially guilty of this. Their nurturing side takes over and they attempt to do everything that needs to be done for the family, even tasks far above and beyond the call of duty.

That doesn’t help your children or your partner. It disempowers them and prevents them learning vital coping skills. Also, if you are almost constantly available and then suddenly you don’t feel like helping out, this can frustrate your family members and make them angry, especially if your anger erupts at them for not doing a task which you have always done.

3. Establish a rota or routine

Just how formal you want to be about this will depend upon your family set up. The point is that household tasks should be divided up. Even quite young children can get a huge sense of achievement by doing small tasks to help out.

Sure at first it might make more work for you as you have to teach them how to do it and supervise. But you and your children can benefit from this far into the future.

4. Don’t expect telepathy

It could be that other members of your family simply don’t realise a task needs to be done. This can be frustrating in itself but try to remain calm and just say what needs to be done.

5. Ask for help

This point is linked to those above. Even if you have a well established schedule, sometimes tasks will crop up that aren’t covered. If you need someone to it for you or at least to help you, ask them. They won’t be offended and in fact are more likely to be offended when they see you doing the task later and you hadn’t mentioned it.

6. Be assertive yet reasonable

If you have asked someone to do something, you can’t necessarily expect them to jump right to it. Very few tasks need doing immediately, and if they do, you should say so. For instance, if you want the kitchen trash bin emptied because the trash cart is arriving soon, say so.

In the same way, if you want the children to tidy their rooms, set a reasonable time limit (probably in terms of days rather than hours or minutes) in which it needs to be done. Remind them periodically, and stick to your deadline. If it isn’t met, impose consequences.

7. Know people’s strengths and play to them

Try to make any task a group venture. Allocate tasks according to people’s strengths so that they find them easy to do. And play your part too.

Using these techniques can answer the question of how to get people to help you, whatever the situation. Try them and see.

How To Get People To Go Away

Whether it’s people wanting you to give to charity or sign their petition when you walk down the street, or your family demanding things of you just as you sit down to an evening’s relaxation in front of the TV or an urgent deadline that requires your undivided attention, sometimes you just wish you knew how to get people to go away, don’t you?

With the following tips, you can learn this and get the time and space you need, without causing too much offence.

1. Avoid eye contact

This method perhaps works best when dealing with people in the street that you don’t know: strangers asking you to take leaflets, sign a petition etc. Just avoid looking directly at them and keep walking. The vast majority of people won’t have the confidence or bad manners to push for contact under these circumstances.

2. Wear headphones

The various personal entertainment devices that are popular today can be great for avoiding unwanted attention. If you have your headphones on, it will be clear to the other person that you can’t easily hear them, so they won’t bother talking to you unless it’s important.

It works especially well if you also combine it with the previous strategy and don’t look directly at people. That makes it especially hard for other people to grab your attention.

3. Scowl

Just as a smile will encourage people to interact with you, a scowl will have the opposite effect. It sends out a message that you are not to be messed with, at least at this point in time.

The above guidelines are intended particularly for use out on the street, but they will also work at home. However, now let’s move on to some methods to get people to go away if you are at home and just want to be left alone for some peace or to get on with something you need to do.

4. Establish some ground rules

This is especially important when you are dealing with children. If you set up your house rules in such a way that a person’s bedroom is their sanctuary and that you must knock to enter, and that a closed bedroom door indicates that one does not want to be disturbed, you will find it much easier to get people to go away and leave you in peace.

5. Be honest

Again this works best with family and friends. If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t have the time or energy to deal with all the demands upon you, explain this to the people interrupting you.

6. Strike a deal

After being honest about your need to be left alone, put some limits upon it so people can see that you are willing to be reasonable and that there will be a certain point at which you will again be happy to communicate with them and meet their needs.

So, for example, you might say, “I really need to get this article written now, but when I’ve done that I’ll come and look through your homework” or something like that. It’s not blackmail, it is teaching your children in particular about give and take and compromise. That is a very useful lesson.

7. Get on with what you need to do

Be persistent and do what it is that you set out to do, regardless of interruptions. If you back down now, you will not be taken seriously next time. So, just calmly and in a matter of fact fashion, carry on with your business.

If you get a disgruntled response to this, then just calmly state, “Well, I told you that I need to (do whatever it is that you’re doing)”. You haven’t conned anyone and it’s their problem if they didn’t listen to or respect what you needed to do.

So, in these ways, no matter what the situation, you can learn how to get people to go away.