How can I help?
Recently, a friend’s young and insanely full of life husband passed away suddenly. I was with her the day before he died. It still runs through my mind every insignificant thing we talked about that day. Even writing this now, it is hard to believe this isn’t a fictional story. When truly awful things happen to people we care about we want to help them. We want to be doing something (anything) to make them feel supported.
I came across the Lotsa Helping Hands website when offering to deliver food for my friend following the funeral. Someone had set up a private community page for her. Once accepted into her community, I could sign up for days to do tasks and deliver food. These communities can be used for shorter term support like during the early days of grieving or when someone is recovering from a medical issue. It was originally designed to provide longer term support to care for caregivers. These are the people that provide daily assistance to another person like an aging parent or a special needs child.
The possibilities to coordinate and serve each other through these sites are endless. I just wanted to pass this on as we are all likely to need it some day. Please tell everyone you know.
You can find them at www.lotsahelpinghands.com.
Would this have helped you during a difficult time?
Do you think of Facebook as a place to serve? If not, check out these seven ways to serve your Facebook friends more. This is just another way to weave more serving into your day.
- If you really like it – Like it. Sometimes I read a funny status update and literally laugh out loud. Then that’s the end of it. I don’t like the post or engage with the poster in any way. The same goes for interesting shared articles. I enjoy the message and then quickly scroll on to other updates. It’s a missed opportunity to send a small positive message to the poster. And let’s be honest – it takes half a second of effort. This isn’t about liking every post that comes our way. It’s just about giving others more genuinely positive interactions.
- Broaden your circle of commenting. Most of us limit our comments on Facebook to things posted by our bestie, our family, and the people we talk to offline anyway. Facebook is a great place to interact with our close friends. But we may miss a chance to strengthen our broader social networks. Think about the last 10 comments you’ve posted and consider if they were all to one group of friends. If so, maybe it’s time to give others some love.
- Support the dreamer in your life – Share their content. If you have someone in your life that is trying to get a new community service or business venture off the ground consider sharing their posts. This is a simple act of support. It shows that you want to help them spread the word. It also sends information to your network that could be useful to them.
- Consider compassionate online celebrating. When you get engaged, most people in Facebookland will be happy for you. The same goes with when you get pregnant, when you have a baby, when you celebrate an anniversary, when you get to go out with your mother on Mother’s day (because she is still alive and vibrant), when you take that trip to Paris, when you lose 20 pounds, and when you realize you’re gorgeous and that everyone should see your face frequently so they can appreciate just how gorgeous you are. When these things happen, most of us on Facebook are genuinely happy for you. Please don’t censor happiness out of your posts. Just try to consider the feelings of those in your audience that may be wishing for what you have in that exact moment. Try to post with humility and with compassion. This isn’t a science. I don’t know exactly how to do it. But if merely thinking about it makes our posts more compassionate then I hope we will be serving someone.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. It opens all of us up to privacy issues or something worse like pictures of discount sneakers routinely showing up in our Newsfeed. Please don’t do this. You’ll serve us all. Thanks.
- Write unique Birthday messages. Someone recently told me that writing only “HB!” on someone’s Wall was an appropriate birthday message. I thought it seemed a bit impersonal. Try to take an extra minute and craft a sentence or two that expresses a unique message for that recipient. Our online friends are worth it.
- Defriend your ex-boyfriend and anyone else you might use Facebook to make jealous. Does defriending them seem too mean? Then create a list that sends your updates to everyone but them. Sure making them jealous was fun the first few times. But you’re better than that. Plus it is probably making your posts less authentic. This makes it harder for your real friends to experience the real you. Do yourself and the defriended person this favor. It will serve you both.