Ever felt bad denying a homeless person help when you know you actually can help and you know they desperately need it? It sucks to look a person who is directly asking for help in the eyes and say “no, sorry I can’t help you” when you know you can probably help in some way. It also sucks to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. But most people do. I am guilty of it myself.
As I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in society lately, I’ve been particularly troubled by interactions with homeless people asking for help. I want to help, but I don’t yet know how and I feel that giving money is not the answer.
On a good day, I find myself either looking them in the eyes and saying “no, sorry I can’t help you” or giving them whatever little snack I have, thinking its the kindest thing I can do…or, on other days, ignoring them, avoiding eye-contact, thinking judgemental thoughts like: why doesn’t that dude with the nasty infected arm go to the hospital for help instead of roaming the dirty subways, getting mostly snubbed by people as he walks by asking for help, doesn’t he know there’s a better way? I find myself wondering, where is my own humanity in these interactions? I know I can help and I’d like to, but how can I actually help in this type of situation.
I don’t really like to give money, especially because I’m trying to survive myself, and I have my own cause that I’m saving for these days, chimp conservation. BUT, it is very important to me that I make a positive impact in my own community, maybe even more so than saving the chimps….so, my thinking cap is on.
Tonight I did a little research and found some good insights for kind ways to interact with the homeless people who are asking for help. This was the gem I found. Acknowledging them and saying:
I found this passage in the following article, which I recommend reading if you’ve ever struggled with this issue and need some tools for your social toolkit:
Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for reading.