Here’s How to Know When It’s Time to Ask for Help


There are lots of myths about real men with regard to what they do and don’t do. For some reason beyond my comprehension, real men don’t eat quiche. Real men don’t cry, defying everything we know about biology. And real men don’t ask for help. Every one of these notions is patently absurd, especially the last one.

This streak of stubborn independence in the face of obvious need does not just run through the male population. Plenty of women would also rather drive in circles and risk running out of gas before stopping to ask for directions. 

The problem is that somewhere along the way, asking for help has become associated with weakness. And in case you haven’t caught on yet, no man wants to be labeled as weak or incapable. But this ignores the reality that no one gets through life alone. We don’t generally make the clothes we wear, nor do we process the food we purchase, prepare, and eat. A lot goes into being human. And we don’t actually do most of it for ourselves. 

As children, we have parents, guardians, and teachers to help us with just about everything. As adults, it is hard to know where to turn and when to ask for help. Here are a few tips for recognizing when you need help, and where to get it:

When You Get Hurt or Have Legal Trouble

No one needs an attorney…until they do, at which point it often comes as a shock to the system. Whether it’s a personal injury attorney in White Plains, New York or a traffic lawyer in Tuscon, Arizona, most will agree that the overwhelming majority of their clients are bewildered, embarrassed, or traumatized by their legal troubles.

Personal injury attorneys probably see this more than other types of legal professionals because no one ever expects to be personally injured. It is always a surprise. And people are always confused and at a loss as to what to do next. 

Immediately following an injury, you are not going to be thinking about much besides getting treatment. But once the reality starts to set in, you will be in a better position to realize that you need a lawyer. Whether it be personal injury, divorce, or criminal accusation, you need help. When your fate is in the hands of a judge, you need an attorney. You don’t want to deal directly with someone else’s lawyer.

When You Have Enough Money to Get in Trouble

You should probably hire an accountant when you no longer trust the part-time tax preparer down the street. At some point, you will make enough money so that the EZ form isn’t going to cut it. Your business will get big enough so that you can get into real regulatory trouble if you don’t do things just right.

Financial advice goes well beyond taxes and business regulations. The role of a financial advisor is to help you meet your long-term goals based on your current level of income and investments. As a kid, you might have a job. But you have nothing like the responsibilities of an adult taking care of a family. There is nothing in your experience that will prepare you for that financially. 

When you find that you are in over your head, that might be a good time to call for help. Financial advisors are there to help you make sense of the financial responsibilities and options they didn’t teach you in school. When you have enough money to get into trouble, you will have enough money to need a financial advisor.

When Chicken Soup Doesn’t Fix It

Many people have an aversion to going to a doctor when they are sick or injured. They will only go to the emergency room if things are dire enough. But this is an attitude that will end badly, if not for you, for the people who look up to you. Sure, your mother’s chicken soup has magical powers of healing. But when that is not enough, see a doctor, and teach others in your care to do the same.

There will never be a time when we no longer need the help of other people. Tell all the jokes about attorneys you like. Just be sure to keep one on speed dial. When you have enough money to dream about the future but not enough to afford that future, call a financial advisor. And for those health issues too big for chicken soup, call a doctor.

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