Offering help is usually a welcome form of kindness. Even those we’re closest to can struggle to ask for help when they need it most, so being the first to offer a lending hand eases this burden. In addition, offering help is one of the best forms of condolences after a loss.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Say ‘Let Me Know How I Can Help’ After a Death or Tragedy
- Alternatives to ‘Let Me Know How I Can Help’ at Work
- Other Ways to Say ‘Let Me Know If I Can Be of Any Help’
If you’re wondering how to help people in your own life, it can be tricky to find the right words at first. The “right” saying is empowering, and it simplifies the process of speaking up when it matters. While it’s common to say ‘Please let me know how I can help,’ don’t feel limited to this phrasing. Instead, here are 18 alternatives to get you off on the right helping hand.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
How to Say ‘Let Me Know How I Can Help’ After a Death or Tragedy
When tragedy strikes, it’s important to act. No matter your relationship with the bereaved, you can show support by offering to help. Because you need to choose your words wisely, these alternatives make it easy to be there.
1. Is there anything you need?
To start, keep it simple. Don’t wait for them to ask. Speak up and see if there is specifically anything the recipient needs at this time. From food to a listening ear, you could be that support system.
2. Can I get you anything?
Similar to the above, this phrase gets right to the point. If there’s something you could offer, why not help?
3. Can I bring some food or groceries to your family?
One easy way to offer assistance after a tragedy is through food. Food brings people together, and it’s a trusted form of comfort. Ask if it would be alright for you to bring a home-cooked meal, groceries, or takeout to a family in need.
4. Do you want me to take care of that for you?
After losing a loved one, there are a lot of menial tasks to worry about. Things like paperwork, organizing a funeral service, and even just taking care of the house suddenly become very important. Taking over these tasks is a huge way to be there.
5. Do you need someone to talk to?
Sometimes the best way to show someone you care is by listening. Being an open ear for someone in crisis shows them that they’re not alone in this time of need.
6. Would you like to be alone?
On the other hand, some people like to be alone with their own grief, especially in the beginning. It’s okay to ask if they’d like to be alone at this time and to respond accordingly. Don’t take their answer personally. Remember that everyone expresses pain differently.
7. Would you like me to go with you?
Finally, many bereaved individuals struggle with a number of tasks, from visiting the hospital to attending the funeral. Offering to go with them is a kind way to show you’re not afraid to be present for life’s ups and downs.
Alternatives to ‘Let Me Know How I Can Help’ at Work
At work, it pays to be a team player. If you notice someone struggling or going through a rough patch, be there for them as a member of the team. These alternatives to ‘Let me know how I can help’ are appropriate for any workplace situation.
8. Can we meet to talk about this?
A lot of workplace misunderstandings could be solved simply with a meeting. Scheduling a time to talk over what they need could go a long way towards increasing productivity.
7. What can I do to help your process?
If your workplace team member already has a plan, ask how you can be of service. Even if the best way to help is to stay out of the way, you’ll know how to stay on task.
8. Is there anyone else I can recruit to help?
Sometimes it takes more than two to get things in motion. Offering to recruit others into the team speeds things up and delegates more challenges.
9. How are things going?
If offering help directly feels out of place, this question is a more open-ended option. This poses you as an interested team member rather than someone who is poking into other’s problems.
10. How do you do X?
This is another open-ended way to offer support. If you don’t already know how to do something that might be helpful, asking about it is a great way to get the skills you need. From there, you’re ready to take on more responsibility.
11. What are your biggest goals right now?
You can’t offer to help if you don’t know where your coworkers or boss are heading. By asking about their immediate goals, you can form a plan to take greater action.
12. Why don’t I…?
A lighthearted way to ask to help is by suggesting you take care of something. By offering something you can easily do yourself, there’s no confusion about how you can get involved.
13. May I offer you…?
Another lighthearted option is to offer something useful. It might be an hour of your time or a coffee from the kitchen. Either way, it’s sure to be helpful.
14. Would it be okay if I took over X?
It’s important not to overstep when offering help. If you feel like the situation is right, ask if it’s okay that you took over something specific. Make sure this is something you can deliver on before you offer.
Other Ways to Say ‘Let Me Know If I Can Be of Any Help’
Finally, let’s discuss some miscellaneous ways to offer help no matter what situation you’re in. "How can I help?" doesn’t always cut it, but these phrases ensure nothing gets lost in the process.
As always, there are no hard-and-fast rules about when you can or can’t use a certain phrase. Follow your instincts to make the most of each opportunity.
13. I’m happy to help with X.
Instead of asking, let them know you’re available and willing to be of service. This shows that you don’t have to help if it’s not needed, but you’re more than willing if need be.
14. It’s no problem at all if you need me to do X.
Another way to let them know that you’re available and willing to help is to let them know it’s not a problem for you. It’s often hard to speak up when you need help for fear of overstepping or taking too much of someone’s time. By showing you’re free, you take care of this worry.
15. It sounds like you might need…
A tentative way to offer assistance is by using this phrase. If you understand their problem and the solution, make a suggestion lightly like this. From there, you can offer ways to help that they might be more open to.
16. Do you want to do this together?
Your loved one might not know that you’re willing to share a task or challenge. If you’re open and able, ask directly if they’d like to do this task together. From planning a party to handling work-related tasks, this could be a big form of relief.
17. What do you think about X?
An indirect way to offer advice and help is by asking their opinion about something. They might not be clear on the answer, and this is an opportunity to step in when appropriate.
18. Is there anything that would make this situation easier?
Finally, show support by asking if there’s something that would make this easier. Maybe a warm meal, extra time, or just a lending hand is all they need. You’ll never know unless you ask them yourself.
Use Your Words for Good
Words are more powerful than we give them credit for. If you’re not sure how to do good with your words, look at these phrases above. It’s easy to get caught in the same wording time and time again, but this might be holding us back. While there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘Please let me know how I can help,’ this doesn’t always serve the purpose when trying to properly offer help.
Rather, put these phrases above to good use. Whether you’re stepping up at work or with a loved one, show the people in your life that you’re aware of their struggles. Not only that, but you’re also willing to go the extra mile to lend a helping hand.