What makes us more inclined to help some people and not others?

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  1. Born2care2001 profile image74
    Born2care2001posted 10 years ago

    What makes us more inclined to help some people and not others?

    What would cause you to help a homeless person or a stray animal but not a family member who has an issue that somehow just rubs you the wrong way?

  2. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    I suppose because others cannot help themselves and others can if they would try. This is a subconscious feeling I think.

  3. Lucky Cats profile image82
    Lucky Catsposted 10 years ago

    Hi there Born2care2001...Well, first of all, in my humble opinion...I believe that the homeless person and the stray animal are probably in situations/predicaments which need immediate attention.  Of course, I am an animal rescue person so, my sympathies tend to be focused on the most helpless and I believe those to be animals, children and disabled, "down on their luck" people.  Mostly, the children and animals have little choice; they are usually, if not always; victims of neglect, disregard, abuse, abandonment and a myriad of other mistreatments foisted upon them by adults in power.   A recalcitrant family member (as I read your question; perhaps I'm in error) usually has an extended support system and (since you didn't say the relative was homeless or mentally impaired, etc.) as well as choices.  Animals, children, do not.  Adults who just need to grow up don't get much sympathy from me. Neither do combatitive or confrontational people who have made their own life miserable due to attitudes.....so, this is why my heart, hands and help will always be extended to the weaker among us...

  4. fpherj48 profile image61
    fpherj48posted 10 years ago

    Nothing would cause me to not feel the inner pull to "help" anyone........the poor, homeless and/or under-privileged, perhaps are foremost, but at one point or another, everyone needs help.
    How I feel about someone, or some personal opinion I may have of them.....has nothing to do with my compassion for all of my fellow human beings.
    On a final note.....if someone deceives us by fabricating a need and seeming down and destitute, simply to use and manipulate us.....remember this:  That's "ON THEM,"....on their conscience and heart...............
    Peace, love and home made Ice cream!

  5. maxoxam41 profile image62
    maxoxam41posted 10 years ago

    When someone is altruistic, why would he help a total stranger and not her/his own blood? It is incoherent!

  6. Attikos profile image77
    Attikosposted 10 years ago

    We all make judgments about who has priority, and about who deserves help and who doesn't. I choose to help a family member before an unknown stranger on the other side of the world, and a street person who is trying to overcome the problems that put him there before one who is just looking for a little more drug money.

  7. Express10 profile image85
    Express10posted 10 years ago

    We help those that we prefer to, even for petty or illogical reasons such as the person coming from a similar background or geographical area. Bias appears to be human nature and we aren't always able to keep it in check. People help others at their alma maters or church but goodness, never would they think of helping that loudmouth in-law that makes it known they don't think highly of them.

    LuckyCats made good point as well. Immediate needs are urgent and we may be close enough to a family member to know that any aid to them would result in them getting drunk, gambling it away, or some other non-productive end.

  8. profile image0
    Garifaliaposted 10 years ago

    Definitely how we identify with them. Another thing is whether we feel threatened by them.

  9. d.william profile image77
    d.williamposted 10 years ago

    Good question.  Compassion is not limited to, or even expected, just because someone is blood related.  Circumstances dictate the needs of others.  I wish i could take in all of the homeless and stray animals.  I have rescued many (both animals and humans) over the years and most humans were grateful and found their way back to self reliance.  Some simply felt the world owed them a living and expected people like me to take care of them.  Those were pushed back out to fend for themselves.   The animals lived out their lives with me and gave me years of comfort, love and companionship.
    There are many wonderful caring people who help others out of the goodness of their hearts, but more who take advantage of the needy by further exploiting them for selfish reasons.
    I have also taken in humans that tried to do me harm by stealing from me, and wanting more than i could give them, or more than they needed to regain their self reliance.  It is those few that make people hesitate to help others. 
    Charities that pocket the donations they receive and give little or no help to those they say they help are the worst kinds of people on this planet. 
    Sadly there are more of them than those who actually do help others.

  10. Hector Rosales profile image58
    Hector Rosalesposted 10 years ago

    I guess it's the attitude of the "helper" and the way he/she views the person in need and their situation. I have no problem helping out someone who is doing what they can to help themselves. Every day on my way to work I see the same "homeless" man on the same corner panhandling. He has a dog with him in a baby stroller and like clockwork, as soon as the traffic lights on his side turn red he starts spraying the dog with water (this summer has been brutal!) and petting him and when he sees that enough cars have stopped he begins his car-to-car walk. I can see it on his face! He figures this little act will win him sympathies and more money. I see it every day. I see through it. He's about my age - I'll be 35 on 08/26. A couple of years ago I worked the graveyard shift at Wal-Mart stocking. A 65 year-old man worked the same shift. He put in the work like me. His wife was laid off and soon they fell into some hard times. They reached a point where they had nothing to eat at home. He started stealing frozen dinners for his wife. He approached me with his situation and asked me for $10 for a loaf of bread, some ham and maybe a gallon of milk. I helped him with $75 a month until they got back on their feet. People may need help but not everyone deserves it.

    1. Born2care2001 profile image74
      Born2care2001posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you Hector for you honest, robust and caring answer. I am grateful you chose to help you WalMart compatriot. I will say if help only went to those who really deserved it, I may never have been helped by so many. Thanks again.

  11. profile image0
    danielabramposted 10 years ago

    We are more inclined to help people who are attractive, make eye contact with us, or can help us in some way. Everyone should be helped, regardless if they are family or foe.

    1. Attikos profile image77
      Attikosposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If you have limited resources, you have to make choices about who to help. It being a finite world everyone and all institutions have limited resources. Therefore, all aid to others must be selective, and not everyone will be, or can be, helped.


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