Author Topic: When the wrong people try to help...  (Read 569 times)


  • Member
  • Posts: 64
When the wrong people try to help...
« on: May 21, 2017, 03:51:20 AM »
I've recently had a few old friends reach out to me, some of whom I hadn't talked to in years. It's nice and all to have people express their sympathy, but some people have made me uncomfortable with their persistent contact. I think some people are just curious and want to know all the details, others want to feel like they're helping even if they're not, and ultimately most people really do have good intentions but they don't stop to ask what I actually need (or listen when I tell them). How do I tactfully let someone know that I don't want their help?
Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while." --The Princess Bride


  • Member
  • Posts: 471
Re: When the wrong people try to help...
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 09:48:36 AM »
A simple gracious, "Thank you but I'm okay. I keep busy but I will let you know if I need help." I did it to a lot of people to get them to back off. It worked. When I bump into them, they say that I can always ask them for anything if I need to. I just say, "Thanks,  I know." Simple and honest is best.


  • Member
  • Posts: 1176
  • Widowed x 2.
Re: When the wrong people try to help...
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 10:14:48 AM »
I think some of the key is trying to determine if people are genuine. I think most people believe that they are. Mobility in our society means that we lose touch with some people over time. This is not always intentional. There are many options for direction in life and all of us follow our own paths. When something like having someone die young and unexpectedly happens, it is a shock to the reality of other people, too. Often, others react to their own memory of the past relationship they had with us. I think that most genuinely want to do something to make a difference or they look inside themselves and try to determine what changed in the relationships they had with us. Sometimes, there are people in our lives that we can just pick up again where we left off. I think sometimes about relationships from college, for instance. My classmates and I went our separate ways to seek out our paths. The distance that occurred had nothing to do with any damage in our friendships. This is entirely different from relationships that drifted apart because of other factors such as differences in philosophy that were too much to sustain closeness.

I guess the bottom line is for you to decide if there is any potential in re-establishing real relationships with these old friends. We tend to become more isolated after losing a life partner and sometimes we are the instigators of the estrangement because early in our grief we tend to push people away. I truly believe that honesty is important in these interactions. "Thank you, but I'm not really ready for anything yet" might let people know you feel pressured, but it also might encourage them to give you space and come back again later. You might appreciate connection in another few months.

Another option is to actually tell them something very concrete. "You know, I could really use some help getting my yard cleaned up. I haven't been able to get myself to do it."  You might just find out this way who is genuinely interested in being there for you.


Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


  • Member
  • Posts: 406
  • widowed 5/20/12
Re: When the wrong people try to help...
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 07:04:47 PM »
People can really surprise you. Many people that I thought would have stood up and helped, didn't. I felt very overwhelmed with the offers of help during the first few months, and didn't know how to articulate what I needed.

I started approaching each offer of help as genuine, and started telling people around me what I needed, specifically. Like, "Can you come to take out the garbage on Sunday nights?" Or "My dog is running out of dog food, can you pick up a bag for me?"  People that really wanted to help, stood up. And those that didn't, didn't.

I didn't put too much weight in whether or not people stepped up to the plate.  I had been disappointed before. But people surprised me, and it made the weight a bit easier to bear. 
Gone but not Squish.

Miss you forever baby girl, my Pru!