In a mutually dependent society, we all need each other’s help and no good life can be imagined without it. The sole purpose of having friends and relatives is to seek their help or to extend our help to them whenever such a need arises. At the same time, it is also a fact that only close relatives and friends turn into enemies when such obligations are not met as per our or their expectations. Therefore, it is essential to understand what precaution is required to avoid this situation.
Many years back, I was attending a seminar of the famous motivator Shiv Khera in Nainital. During the course of the discussion he touched upon this aspect and I drew a very important lesson out of that. He mentioned that most of us are very casual in seeking help and take it for granted. Quite often we seek help from others in a very by-the-way manner. Help is sought in such a manner as if no effort is required on the part of the helper and further, as if it is an obligation on his part to help. Moreover, for seeking such help, a lot of time is wasted on irrelevant talks. What Mr Shiv Khera meant was that if we seek help from others, howsoever small it may be, it should be sought with great politeness and without beating around the bush. Also, the difficulty or the dilemma of the person should be kept in mind and so a margin should always be given to him to apply his discretion. When it is not done, sooner or later it affects our relationship and no wonder a point may come when such a relationship turns into enmity.
I myself have experienced this difficulty in my long career in the Administrative Services. Since we have access to almost all areas of public administration, help is sought by a large number of people. Quite often, they don’t come to the point immediately and waste time talking about other things. It is so annoying that one feels like snubbing the person concerned. Apart from that, they feel it requires no effort on our part and judge our sincerity, competence or influence on the basis of the outcome. This affects the relationship further. My own approach is to try my best in the case of a genuine need, but generally I am immune to the outcome and don’t get overjoyed by positive outcomes nor get upset by negative ones. But certainly, it is not the case with the person who seeks help.
The message of this discussion is that when we seek help from others, we have to be very wise. The point to be kept in mind is that putting a demand or expectation is very easy but it requires quite an effort to act on that. So many factors play their role when something happens or does not happen. First of all, one’s expectation should be genuine and not unduly selfish. Secondly, the limitation of the other person should be understood and thirdly, it should not be placed as a matter of right but only as a prayer. The fact is that no help is small and each requires commitment, energy and sincerity. If nothing else, all these should be respected even if the outcome is not positive. If we take care of these factors, not only will the chances of a positive outcome increase, the chances of a souring relationship also decrease greatly.