A thing happened.
Person A was in a bad emotional place.
Person B offered company and help with a difficult task.
Person A, not wanting to impose, declined the offer.
Except that Person B was also in a precarious emotional place, and helping would have also done them a lot of good, for a lot of reasons.
So instead of both feeling better, both stayed isolated.
People. Can we agree on two basic ground rules for this, please?
1- If you’re offering help, following through shouldn’t cause resentment. (If it becomes a scenario where they’re taking more than you’re offering, use your words–kind but direct words–and set boundaries.)
With #1 in place, we can move to:
2- If you’re offered help, take it if you need or want it. The person offered because the person actually wants to help. When we’re in positions of needing help, we’re often hyper-sensitive to being an imposition. But for most of us most of the time, even without explicitly establishing #1, we offer because we want to help. Saying no because of self-consciousness denies the person making the offer the opportunity. If you need help, take the offer.
And of course, there’s the third of the two rules which is: if you need help and no one is offering, ask.