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Is there such a thing as being TOO helpful? How does one tell?

Updated on April 3, 2008

Yes, there is such a thing as being too helpful.

This is my answer to a request made by a fellow hubber.

This varies from person to person.

If the person you are trying to help is happy when you offer to help, and say "thanks", then your help is very welcome. There is an exception here, I'll explain later.

On the other hand, if the person you are trying to help says "no thank you" on your offer to help, be ready to back off. Otherwise, you are being too helpful where it's not needed. You will just annoy the person you're helping.

Sometimes, the person you are trying to help is shy.

Normally, shy people say "no" when they really mean "yes". Try to repeat your offer. Maybe that person is just concerned w/ bothering you. Try to say I am free or something that would ease their mind. If the person is just shy, usually that kind of assurance from you will make them say yes. If however, their voice changes to something louder and firmer, the answer is definitely a no and don't insist anymore.Otherwise, you're being too helpful in an annoying way.

Spouses being too helpful

Sometimes men are too helpful to their spouses

If a woman starts telling the man her problem, the man just needs to listen. Be a good listener, a good sound board. Most of the time, that's all a woman needs--to vent. If you start giving her advice and sermon, you are being too helpful when it's not wanted and will just make your spouse resent you.

Sometimes women are too helpful to their husbands

They would look at the dishes the man has washed and will rewash them, thinking it's not washed properly. This is insulting to the man and the man will not be eager to help the woman because she made him feel bad the last time he did.

Too helpful parent

If a child needs help in his/her homework, and the parent helps him/her by showing him/her how to solve the problem, that's just helping. However, if the parent solves the problem without the child doing it himself, then you have been TOO helpful. What if your answer is wrong?!;-)


Too helpful employer

If there's an employer who gives an employee a lot of things, something not normally given by an employer to an employee, and says that he/she is just trying to help, watch out. This employer could be too helpful because he/she is expecting something in return.

Don't be a too helpful friend or sibling

Sometimes you see a friend or a family member immersed in a school problem. It's so tempting to help especially if you know the answer. Right? Right!

STOP! Hold yourself.

Ask the person first if he/she needs your help at all. If yes, then you can feel free to show how smart you are. If not, too bad, they don't need your help at all. Give them a chance to discover how smart they are by finding the answer themselves. Telling the person how to solve the problem is offering too much help because it's not welcomed at all

Another too helpful spouse

If your spouse normally don't cook, or normally don't do the dishes, then suddenly he/she is helping you, he/she is being too helpful (in his/her way). Maybe he/she needs something and is just trying to butter you up. Or maybe he/she just changed his/her ways. Maybe he she just feels a bit loving...Be happy.


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    • Mschanl profile image

      Mschanl 6 years ago from USA

      Yasmin, I'm sorry I just saw your comment yesterday. Haven't been in Hub Pages for a while. I don't know if you've solved your problems already but in case you haven't, next time you have the urge, ask the person first if they need your help. If they say they can handle it, you need to back off. If you think they might just be shy in asking, you could ask "are you sure you don't need any help?" then proceed according to their answers.

    • Mschanl profile image

      Mschanl 6 years ago from USA

      @ Gidget I think you need to be more assertive. You need to ask her why she gives things to friends saying it's from you. Tell her how you feel about it and ask her to stop. If she does it again, you need to remind her that you don't like a firm voice. If she calls you asking if you need help, tell her you'll call her if you need help. Tell her that you prefer to be the one calling instead of people calling you because you don't want to be disturbed with phone rings when you're sleeping or doing some work or you could make up other excuses suited for you. The important thing is that you need to be assertive. If she doesn't get it, just use the caller ID to screen for calls. Answer those that you think is really important. When you go to lunch, before even eating, tell her you need to leave at a certain time. Be ready to leave 5-10 minutes early (so you can accommodate a few minutes of delay without being rude). Also if you're in a hurry and you see her, say "hello" and immediately say "I'm really sorry, but I'm running late for an appointment... catch up w/ you some other time ok."

    • profile image

      Gidget 6 years ago

      I have a friend who is too helpful. I don't know how to stop her. I know she means well..but she had given people things and said they're from me when they're not thinking it was 'nice'. The latest is knowing I had laryngitis she called 4 times to see if I needed anything, then said to call back if I did. LARYNGITIS!!! If we have lunch and it's over and we're leaving...she will stand and lapse into another subject then another...You can't say goodbye or hello...If I see her and I'm in a hurry..I have actually tried to hide!!!

      Can you help me deal with this??

    • profile image

      Yasmin 6 years ago

      I hate being too helpful I just don't know when to draw the line. I do so many things but I don't expect anything in return and then I get in trouble for it. Its not fair

    • Mschanl profile image

      Mschanl 10 years ago from USA

      Thanks for your comment Rudy:) I appreciate it.

      2Honest: No problem at all, I'm glad to help. Sometimes, when you know a lot of things, it's just so hard not to help.Hope your experience will help you keep more friends. Thanks for your comment too.:)

    • 2Honest profile image

      2Honest 10 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for this page. I lost my best friend by being too helpful. I'm still learning how not to cross that line =). Thanks again!

    • profile image

      Rudy 10 years ago

      Can you say "codependece"? Great page!