How to Kindly Reject Help from Someone

Though life isn’t exactly full of them, you’ll come across some incredibly kind people on the way toward your goals.

Friends you make whilst traveling will let you stay at their place for a couple of nights, after your flight back home gets canceled. Some, will come to the rescue when your engine fails on the freeway. Others, will answer your call to check up on your elderly father’s health whilst you’re out of town. You’ll discover, that though the maliciousness you experience is sometimes demotivating, others’ kindness will never seize to take your breath away.

Some people are extraordinarily kind. They’re kind to the point of not only answering the phone when you call for help, but to going out of their way to help you without your asking for it. Some people make it a mission to improve the lives of others, and their perceived helpfulness can sometimes be a bit too much. It’s a challenge refusing help from a kindhearted individual without coming off as rude and ungrateful.

This article is about finding a solution to that challenge.


The Triggers for Needing Help

When someone offers to help you in some form, they’re responding to specific triggers for you needing help. As they perceive your day to day situation, they make their own judgement on whether you have “enough,” and whether they should offer you something more. Irrespective of what that “thing” is, help is often triggered by a perception of you not having enough of something. Perhaps you don’t have enough coffee in your cupboard, and your friend brings you a big jar of ground coffee the next time they visit. Maybe they’ve noticed that you don’t have enough time to shovel your driveway in the mornings, only for them to begin shoveling your driveway for you during heavy snowfall. 

The first step to kindly declining help from someone who perceives you to need it, is to address and counter their analysis of you needing it. Figure out the triggers behind  their offering for help. Analyze what it is that they’ve noticed you to need help in, and begin addressing that specific thing. Be specific in your address of the triggers, whilst working through them one by one. For instance, rather than simply stating:

“Hey, John, I’m honestly fine. I appreciate your offer but I can handle shoveling my driveway myself.”


“Hey John, I know it looks like I don’t have time to shovel my driveway; that’s a result of me not checking the weather and sleeping in. I’ll handle it from here! Thanks for covering for me.”


Being accurate and specific in your addressal of the triggers for help will entice those who see those triggers as valid to have their mind changed. If your rejection of help is more generic than the triggers for you needing help, then you wouldn’t make a good case for not needing it. People who want to help you will still feel like they’ve figured out something you haven’t, thereby you need to show that you see exactly what they see.

Once you do that, explain why what they see may not be right in its aesthetic. Perhaps there are reasons for the triggers for you needing help that they’ve failed to realize. Perhaps you’re trying to cut down on coffee, or maybe you’ve made it a challenge to walk to work without needing a ride from them. Figure out the specific triggers for you needing help that the kind individuals latch on to. Once you do, disprove them one by one; in a calm and kind manner.


Internal Factors Warrant Less Help than External Ones

Whilst addressing the triggers for you needing help that others discover, make every attempt to explain them away by way of internal, personal factors. For instance, rather than blaming the weather (external), blame your tendency to sleep in (internal). Rather than saying the store didn’t have enough coffee in stock when you last went (external), say that you simply forgot to walk past the aisle where the coffee’s on display (internal).

People are more likely to help when we’re struck by uncontrollable external reasons for needing help. We’d rather help someone in their battle against the elements rather than help them mitigate the effects of their laziness. If a situation someone finds themselves in happens to be entirely their fault (sleeping in), we’re less enticed to help them out of any sticky situation that puts them in.

Use this knowledge to reject help from others. Wherever possible, blame yourself for the triggers for you needing help existing. Try not to blame external factors which are out of your control, as people will be enticed to help you get out of those situations. Rather, blame things because of things which are under your control. Own the triggers for you needing help when attempting to explain them away, and present solutions as to how you’re planning to mitigate them.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.