When do you ask for help? How and to whom?


One day I was net surfing. As my computer OS is XP whose support will be terminated soon, I have been studying what I should know and do before the support finishes. In the process I started learning the limitation of XP compared with newer OS, possible problems and solutions due to the older OS and so on.

When I came to one web site, the 2/3 of the monitor turned out blank and the partial information showed up on the reminded 1/3. The monitor was not frozen but just didn’t show the site properly. It was only that site but others showed fine. After checking here and there for a while, I turned to my partner who was sitting just beside me at his own computer and said ‘Can you just take a look? Do you know what is going on?’ He took a look, came to my seat and started clicking the help for that website which I had already checked. While he was playing with it, remembering what I had been reading, I started wondering if it was because my current browser was either not updated or suitable for this particular site.

I had lots to do that day and getting impatient to reschedule the day using my calendar on the computer. Looking that he knew nothing more than I did, I asked him to free my computer. Then he said ‘You are not patient. It will cost you a lot someday’. Within an hour, with a bit more research, I figured out it was the browser I was using and fixed the problem.


Later I brought up the matter again. He said ‘If you asked for help, you have to give the person to exam and understand the problem first to solve it’. I replied ‘I did not ask you to fix the problem. I just asked if you knew anything about it. It is a simple yes/no question. You didn’t answer but watching you, I quickly found out you knew nothing more than I did. On the other hand, the conversation with you gave me the valuable information like the same site looked fine on your computer (he has newer OS). That already helped me detect a certain area to dig in with the best bet. Instead of letting you sit and occupy my computer, I could start working on the possible solution. On the top of that, I wanted to check my day timer and reschedule everything to set the time to deal with it. But you were there, occupying my computer and desk. That part I got impatient with. Yes, I asked you if you knew anything about the problem, but if you knew nothing, why would I ask for your help, especially when I had already started seeing the solution? It was my call when and how I sacrifice my space and equipment to deal with it based on my priorities. I simply chose the most productive way to deal with the situation. And I succeeded.’


This is not the first time. My partner habitually acts as if I am expecting his help when I ask a question about my issue. It took me a while to understand why he reacts like that. He likes to be useful. When a girl tells him about a problem, it automatically means she expects him to fix the problem. I don’t know about other girls but definitely I do not.



If he agrees with me or not is a separate issue, but the bottom line is that a wrong interpretation is rather more trouble than help when someone is in a difficult situation.

When we try to help someone, often we reflect our good for him. But is it really good for him? Who decides it?

Maybe someone expects you to solve her problem when she talks about it as my partner says. But taking over her problem is really beneficial for her, especially in a long run?


Although we should and want to help each other, taking someone’s problem over easily and habitually is taking the opportunity to learn and grow away from him. I rather appreciate someone supports me to take my own matter myself with his great patience.