The line between lending a helpful hand and inserting yourself where you do not belong is not quite as thin as some men seem to think. Some of the most frustrating reactions to the #MeToo movement involved men declaring that they could
no longer perform basic acts of kindness for fear of being labeled a predator. In light of these slippery-slope logical fallacies, I have created a guide to point you in the right direction if you’re looking to help.
Times When You Should Step In and Assist Someone in Need:
– Whenever you are asked: This one is easy and fun. If they say they want help, then you are definitely allowed to help!
– Whenever you offer help, and they say yes: Go for it, brave knight. You extended, and they accepted. Time to save the day!
Times When You Should Leave Them Alone:
– When you are not asked: If nobody has requested your help, then there is a strong chance that they are able to handle things on their own. Whether it is getting home safely, opening doors, or explaining one’s ideas, these everyday tasks can often become much harder when a well-intentioned man decides to come to the rescue.
– When you offer help, and they say no: This one is a biggie. You showed your courteous and gallant spirit, and they decided they did not want or need it. You can walk away, head held high, knowing you tried your darnedest to help. No need to help anyway due to gender norms from the 1200s that you internalized!
If deciding when to help and when to steer clear is simply too difficult, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. In that same situation, would you feel empowered and supported if someone took over for you? Or would it feel condescending and unwarranted?
These lessons in empathy and respect will keep kindness and love alive and well, and will leave chivalry where it belongs — safe and sound with the Knights of the Round Table.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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