A friend of mine was having a tough time. Her life had hit one of these bumps that tend to show up once in a while. Because she and I are not very close friends, I did not know what the best way to bring a little relief to her life would be.
I considered asking her to "let me know if she needed anything," but somehow, I sensed that while it would make me feel better to have offered, not much of anything useful would come out of it, for her.
Then I considered offering something specific. Maybe bringing her some soup or some chocolate (this usually works for me). And yet, it still did not feel quite right.
Guided by a burst of inspiration, I chose to take on a more direct tactic and asked her to "tell me three things she needed, right now."
Three things. Three things she needed. Right now.
Immediately, she answered:
Within an hour, I showed up at her door with a hot meal for that night and her medication. Later that evening, I set up a "Meal Train," that would allow other people to join in the privilege of making her life a little easier AND would provide her with some nutritious, effortless food for a while - not to mention remind her of how much she is loved.
I am so glad this very specific question came to my mind. I have a feeling that this is one I will use again and again.
"Tell Me Three Things You Need, Right Now."
I invite your to try it.