I'm helpful and courteous to strangers, but only within reason and safety. Of course "reason and safety" as I define them personally.
Ideally, it'd be nice to help everyone I could.
The world is not an ideal place.
Strangers do not always have the best intentions. That doesn't mean of course that everyone you don't know is an opportunistic parasite on the rest of humanity. But the potential is there, and I am well aware of it.
I used to walk or bike everywhere. On more than one occasion, people tried to offer me rides, and followed me for several blocks, even after attempts on my part to lose them. Somewhat traumatic experiences, to say the least.
I am hesitant to help others I don't know beyond holding doors, picking up something they dropped, etc. for that reason.
I'm not sure I would have offered that elderly woman a ride, unless she seemed as if she were in physical distress. A lot of older people don't really like to be offered assistance on the basis of their age, and take offense to it.
Just one of the little things I have to take into account if I'm thinkin' of offering my aid to a stranger..
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Well, I have a slight physical handicap and strangers on a daily basis ask me if I need help w/ something. So I guess I am on the receiving end of what you said in the OP regularly. It is incredibly nice that strangers are so willing to help but after awhile it's tiring. To give them credit, I do kind of appear mentally slow sometimes (but I'm not... got on the Dean's List) because I'm always thinking and spacing out. That's just maybe another way to look at why someone may possibly refuse your help even if they need it. You don't have to feel guilty about not helping them if you have already offered.
Yes, I do often go out of my way to help people that seem to be in need of it. If I don't I feel extremely guilty. If someone on the street asks me for change I HAVE to give it to them. I have even befriended some of these people (some are homeless), which others view as insane. When I talk to them they never ask me for anything, I suppose because they consider me a friend. I always end up buying them lunch or dinner, it would feel wrong not to.
Today, driving to Guitar Center, I passed an old woman walking in the opposite direction. She had silver and white hair and looked to be in her 60's. It snowed about 4 inches last night and was raining all day today. I thought about it for a minute and turned around to ask her if she would like a ride. She said, "oh no, I live right up there."
"Are you sure? It's really no trouble."
"No, I'll be fine. Thank you, though.
I said okay, and then turned around to get to my destination.
I know she refused my help, but I still felt I should have helped her. Ever experience this?
[EDIT]Also, it was a good half-mile before the next houses in the direction she was going.[/EDIT]
I understand her pride, or whatever it was, but I can tell you there were so many times when I was struggling up a hill in my manual chair with my two young children trying to pull a cart of groceries behind me in bad weather when I gladly would've accepted help...but no one ever stopped and asked.
Good for you for offering at least. And don't feel bad; she had her reasons, whether pride or fear of strangers, even habit...whatever. I had a therapist once who described me as "pathologically independent" and it's only got worse since becoming physically disabled; the only time I was willing to accept help was when my sons were young and it was for their sakes, not mine.
It's a blessing...and a curse.
Originally Posted by Anja
I don't have room for shame in my life.
Well, I have a slight physical handicap and strangers on a daily basis ask me if I need help w/ something. So I guess I am on the receiving end of what you said in the OP regularly. It is incredibly nice that strangers are so willing to help but after awhile it's tiring.
This is very common. Whenever I see someone who could use help I get into a small internal battle on whether I should help or if I should let them take care of themselves.
It's sometimes a bit stressful because if I decide the person can handle it himself, I feel a bit rude for at least not offering a hand.
I have even befriended some of these people (some are homeless), which others view as insane. When I talk to them they never ask me for anything, I suppose because they consider me a friend. I always end up buying them lunch or dinner, it would feel wrong not to.
Originally Posted by IDK123
well, you can offer help but if they refuse it's best not to press the matter. In a way, it's win-win situation for both parties.