At Arm’s Length: Reaching Out To Someone Who Won’t Accept Our Help

At Arm’s Length: Reaching Out To Someone Who Won’t Accept Our HelpWe all need help from time to time, sometimes we are too proud to admit it. When you are concerned for the welfare of someone you love, or a close friend, the natural thing you want to do is reach out to them. But sometimes, they don’t want to be helped, no matter how important it is for their well-being. When it comes to our health, in a mental sense, we can easily deny certain aspects, especially if it means admitting we are “weak”. So, if you are concerned about someone, how can you reach out to them and support them at arm’s length?

The Importance Of A Gesture

It always depends on the nature of the problem, but sometimes people don’t reach out because they are afraid of what they might discover about themselves, but also, that feeling of being too proud to ask for help is something that is more common than not. If you know someone that is going through a tough time, but they are politely declining your help or flat out refusing it with aggression, it can be easy to feel frustrated by this. The temptation can be to push it further, when an actual fact, all you will achieve is them moving further away from you. It always depends on the nature of the problem, something like grief is an issue that people sometimes want to work through themselves, because it’s individual to them. The same applies to problems like depression; it’s very difficult to put yourself in their shoes when they’re going through this because they are suffering something in a unique way. This is why gestures should be something to let them know that you are there should they need to talk. It all depends on your definition of the word “gesture”; maybe a simple heartfelt message to them is what you would consider a sufficient gesture. Others go for presents and packages. Of course, flowers cheer most people up, many suppliers like provide many types of bouquets, and that little surprise at their office desk could be the little gesture to let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. This may encourage them to open up a little bit more, but if they don’t, don’t be frustrated by this. You have succeeded in letting them know that you are there for them, night or day.

Helping Them In An “Underhanded” Manner

“Underhanded” might be a very devious term, but getting someone to open up could take some time. If you feel that there is something beneath the surface that you can help with, it’s important not to force yourself upon them. You’ve offered your help, and at the very least, you have said you are there for them, no matter what. You can think that the ball is in their court now, but if they don’t want to talk about the issue, by being there for them, and doing things that don’t focus on the issue, can give them the opportunity to open up when they are ready. This is vital in allowing them the space to discuss the issue, or not. Sometimes, distraction is the best thing, especially if it’s an issue they have been dwelling on, but other times, providing a helping hand, and being there, while not necessarily discussing or forcing the issue, means that you are providing a metaphorical shoulder for them. If a loved one is going through an issue where they tend to feel isolated, forcing them outside the front door could have the opposite effect. It’s far better to make baby steps in the right direction than them retreat in the opposite. If you’ve got someone who is depressed and has been bed bound for a long time, it’s very easy for us to think about what is good for us and apply it to them. This is a very dangerous way of thinking. Instead, it is important for you to think about it from their perspective, and gently nudge things along. Even if someone doesn’t want help, you can provide help for them in different ways, not just by being there for them. But, you could also do duties around the house, as well as other things that they are unable to do for themselves at the time.

Knowing More About The Issue

And while you need to see it from their perspective, sometimes it’s very difficult to come around to that way of thinking. This is why researching the issue may be the best course of action. Someone who doesn’t want your help can make you feel like you’re powerless, so if you are struggling to have them let you in, understanding what they are going through is a great way to see it from their point of view. If they are going through an illness, understanding specific symptoms will give you a more sufficient well of information to draw from, but it will also give you any ideas on how to instigate contact. Medical conditions can be easily researched online, as well as numerous reputable resources from professional organizations. It can be easy to go online and to research a bunch of issues, but if you are struggling to communicate with the person on a human level, getting human help may be the best thing for you. You may have other friends who have been through a similar problem before, and the big mistake that we make is that because we’ve experienced someone go through a similar issue before, that we know everything about it. Instead, if it’s okay, talk to this person and get some advice. It’s far better for you to be armed with more information in a general sense.

Looking After Yourself

Because they aren’t letting you in, the sense of frustration and anger can build up. After a while, it could become all-consuming. As a result, you may find yourself run down or depressed by this. It can be easy for you to stop doing the things you love, especially if someone really close to you is going through a bad time. There are two schools of thought in relation to this, firstly, by you sacrificing your life to help theirs, you feel like you’re doing something beneficial for them, when in actual fact you are neglecting the things that make you happy. Secondly, the other person may feel that they are stopping you living your life, and so they will feel guilty, and potentially, the symptoms could get worse. It’s not fair for you to stop doing the things in life that you enjoy, and when you are trying your best to help someone, if they aren’t being receptive, it can really get you down. It’s important but if you are frustrated, that you don’t bottle your own issues up. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved, and there is an interesting article on that highlights why this is the case. It’s very important to not neglect yourself, and do the things that make you feel happy. But it’s only natural, at times, when we are so determined to help this other person, that we neglect ourselves. Striking the right balance can take some time to get right, but the best approach you can have is to ensure you give yourself the bare minimum to make yourself happy. This is, by no means, being selfish, but if you feel you are losing a sense of yourself, it’s time to address this issue.

Knowing When To Call It…

If it’s been going on for some time, you are really concerned about their welfare, and they haven’t come round or even considered seeking help, this is when you need to think about getting professional help. Having sufficient research, you will have a better idea of when they pose a danger to themselves. It’s a good point where you can seek professional help, even if it’s just for advice. But if they are a danger to themselves, it’s your prerogative to call it. This could take the form of an intervention, or by calling the appropriate emergency services to help. If they are in denial, it can be an incredibly difficult situation to be in. They will be hurt by the fact that you’ve done this, and no matter how much you say it’s for their own good, they may not see it like this at all. Of course, with people that have addictions, admitting they have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Depending on the situation, it may be a long time coming until they admit they have a problem. But sometimes, there are cases where it’s been too late to help someone. Depression is one of those problems that we feel angry with ourselves for not helping them sooner, especially if they end up in hospital, or in worse circumstances.

If someone won’t accept our help, it can be one of the most frustrating things in the world. But, giving them that space to come around is essential, but you can help them from a distance. By knowing the best techniques in which to help them, you can do a lot, by doing so little. We all go through rough patches in our life, but when it happens to someone we love, it can hurt. But remember, being there for them isn’t just about wrapping them in cotton wool; it’s about being there at arm’s length.

One thought on “At Arm’s Length: Reaching Out To Someone Who Won’t Accept Our Help

  • If the person isn’ t suicidal, sometimes the best thing is to offer help and then step away.


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