So, why can’t I pick up the phone?


I stare at my “to-do” list, the phone number daring me to call! It has days, weeks maybe, since I added this entry. And my reluctance is still palpable in my body. It’s actually an easy call to make. It’s to someone I know, not well, but certainly not a stranger. It is not the person I am calling that causes me to pause; it is the nature of the call. I will be asking this person for money—not for me, but for an organization in which I have been very involved for years and of which I am very proud. And the person is expecting the call.

So, why am I reluctant? What is it about asking for money, asking for help that makes me, and perhaps others, look for other things to do. Oh, the house needs cleaning — do I know where the vacuum cleaner is? The kitty litter box hasn’t been emptied in at least fifteen minutes. I’d better get on it right away. Hmm, it’s pouring down rain outside; seems like a good time to go for a long walk.

I know – I will write a blog post about it. That way I can feel OK about not making the phone call, because I am doing something creative and, at the same time, crossing an item off the “to do” list. Sooner or later, however, preferably sooner, I will have to pick up the phone and make the call. I don’t know what’s stopping me. The result of the call can only be good. Nothing bad can happen as a result.

Why do we balk at asking people for help? Is the spirit of the independent American, false as that image may be, so ingrained in our being that we feel we must do everything alone, while at the same time, advocating community. I have little to no compunction about responding to a request for help. Glad to lend a hand, run an errand, assist in a project, even give a donation — although I do resent having my day interrupted by unsolicited phone calls. Yet, making those same phone calls, even when they are being half-expected (I did leave a voice message that I had called and the purpose of the contact,) generates an entire different set of feelings.
A friend told me that asking for help is offering a gift to those being asked. People want to help, and yet are reluctant to offer on their own. They want to be asked so they know their assistance is desired.

OK. I have talked myself into being ready. Here goes. Picking up the phone and dialing. . . . dang, voice mail. I get to go through all this yet again.

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