Good Help versus Bad Help: Understand When Helping Isn't Really Doing Its Job

Updated: Aug 31

Out of our compassionate nature, we might always find ways to help others. However, the act of helping isn't always doing its job. It can either build or destroy the person who receives it.


For this reason, helping requires more than just reacting to our emotional desire to help alleviate other people's suffering or misery.


Do you know the difference between good help and bad help?

Good help is when we assist other people to become self-sufficient. We aid them to make sound and informed decisions so that they may take control of their life. Through this they'd feel confident to face the world and hopefully soon, they may live life even without our constant help.


People who receive good help are able to find their purpose in life. They know their limitations and capabilities, and are able to seek for resources that will solve their problems.


Some ways we can offer good help are:

  • helping one understand his/her own emotions/ behaviors

  • actively listening and offering self

  • providing information and suggesting options (provided that you have an expert knowledge about it) so that that person makes autonomous decisions to solve his/her current dilemma

  • sharing empathy

  • assisting the person identify healthy coping mechanisms that worked in the past.



On the other hand, bad help, is when we allow people to develop constant dependency upon us. They may feel so helpless and hopeless if we're not around to offer guidance. These people don't grow personally (such as emotionally, socially, spiritually, financially, etc.) or professionally. The benefits of bad help are self-limited and temporary, and once exhausted, the rebound can be more more devastating for the person who received it.


Common instances when we offer bad help may include:

  • offering constant financial support to a person who is able but lacks motivation to be financially independent

  • spoon-feeding information or resources

  • over-accommodating to the needs of others


Whether you are a parent, a colleague, or a boss realizing how to offer good help is important in truly helping a person reach his/her highest potentials and succeed in the future.


Our moral values may include love and compassion but let us not forget to consider the long term effects it would create to the person we're helping. If we're truly concerned about that person's success, let us make a conscious effort to assess whether we are doing a good or bad kind of help.


Created under the concepts of caring and helping others, you might also want to read about 20 Effective Communication Techniques For Better Interpersonal & Interprofessional Relationships.


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