How to Help Someone That Doesn’t Want To Be Helped

Have you ever found yourself wanting to help someone, only to be met with resistance? It can be frustrating and confusing when you see someone struggling but they refuse to accept your help. But before you get discouraged, it’s essential to understand why they might be hesitant and how you can approach the situation with compassion.

Why May Someone Avoid Help?

1) They're Not Ready Yet

One common reason why someone might resist help is simply that they’re not ready for it. Think of it like a journey—some people are still figuring out where they’re going. They might not even realize the extent of their struggles or that help is an option. 

Others might be aware but feel uncertain about taking action. It’s all part of the process, and pushing them before they’re ready can do more harm than good. It’s like planting seeds in a garden. You can’t force them to sprout—they need the right conditions and time to grow. 

Similarly, people need to reach a certain level of readiness before they’re open to accepting help. Patience is key here; rushing the process can lead to resistance and frustration.

2) Seeking Help is Hard

Let’s face it—seeking help isn’t always easy. There could be barriers, like stigma around mental health or beliefs that they or their community might have, that make them reluctant to reach out. Plus, past experiences might have taught them that it’s safer to face it alone.

It’s like they’ve built a wall around themselves, and breaking it down takes time and patience. Imagine carrying a heavy burden on your shoulders. Asking for help might feel like admitting defeat or weakness. 

It’s a vulnerable act, and not everyone feels comfortable showing that vulnerability. Understanding and acknowledging these barriers can help you approach the situation with empathy and compassion.

3) Barriers to Seeking Help

Even if they want help, there could be barriers standing in their way. Maybe they don’t have the physical or emotional capacity to seek help right now. Or perhaps they’re struggling to find the time or motivation.

 It’s like wanting to go on a road trip but realising your car needs repairs first. Sometimes, some obstacles need to be overcome before they can move forward. Life is full of challenges, and adding the task of seeking help to an already overflowing plate can feel overwhelming. 

It’s essential to recognise these barriers and offer support in overcoming them. Whether it’s helping them find resources or simply being a supportive presence, your role is crucial in breaking down these barriers.

4) Mismatched Help

Sometimes, the help we offer isn’t what they need. It’s like trying to fix a leaky tap with a hammer—it’s not going to work. Everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. 

That’s why it’s crucial to understand their needs and preferences before offering assistance.Think of it as offering a menu of options rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Some people might benefit from professional therapy, while others might prefer more informal support from friends and family. By understanding their unique situation and preferences, you can offer the best help for them.

So, How Do You Approach Someone Who's Resistant To Help?

1) Lead with Compassion

It is natural to feel frustrated or helpless when someone you care about is struggling. But getting angry or judgmental won’t help. Instead, approach the situation with empathy. Listen to their concerns without judgment and communicate your own feelings and needs calmly. 

Remember, it’s not about being right—it’s about understanding each other. Compassionate communication is essential here. It involves active listening, empathy, and non-judgmental understanding. By creating a safe and supportive environment, you can encourage them to open up and explore their feelings more freely.

2) Understand Their Needs

Are you a problem solver or a shoulder to cry on? Before offering help, try to understand what they need. Some people want emotional support, while others prefer practical assistance. 

By aligning your support with their needs, you can make a more significant impact. This requires active listening and empathy. 

Pay attention to their verbal and non-verbal cues to gauge what type of support they’re seeking. Ask open-ended questions and validate their feelings to create a space for honest and meaningful conversation.

3) Take Care of Yourself

It’s easy to get wrapped up in someone else’s struggles, but don’t forget about yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say. Set boundaries for what you can offer and make sure to improve your wellbeing too.

Self-care is crucial in any caregiving role. It’s not selfish—it’s necessary for maintaining your own mental and emotional health. Take breaks when you need them, seek support from others, and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

At the end of the day, it’s up to them whether they seek help or not. You can’t force someone to accept assistance, but you can offer support and understanding along the way.

 So be patient, be compassionate, and remember that everyone’s journey is different. By approaching the situation with empathy and understanding, you can make a positive difference in their lives.

Dr Aika Hui

Clinical Psychologist

The Oak Tree Practice


Our socials

© 2022 | All content copyright Been There | Been There is a registered charity no. 1191044 | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Community Guidelines | FAQs

Website by Jane Rosie & Moordigital

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.