DEAR HARRIETTE: How can I balance being independent and self-sufficient and still accept help when I need it? I am used to doing things on my own, by myself, and not really ever asking for help. I am the type of person who most often likes to figure things out at my own pace.
I just sold my house, and I asked my sister to help me pack up and move furniture out of the house. She agreed and was happy to assist. I wasn’t in a rush, but I wanted to get everything done over one weekend because I need to go to work during the week. The whole time we were packing, she was doing everything wrong! I told her how to pack the delicate items and store everything, but she just thought her ideas were better. I explained how I wanted the furniture moved and stored in the garage, but again, she offered up so many other ways. I told her that I have envisioned this move for a while now, and I want to execute this project the way I had it planned, so please follow the plan. It became a huge argument. She made me feel like what I was doing was wrong. I understood her suggestions, but I had a plan I wanted to keep. At that point, I told her if she wasn’t going to help me with what I needed, she could go home and I would do it by myself.
Is it me? Am I unreceptive to help? I hate the idea that I might be controlling, but I just feel like I have a certain order that cannot be improvised or else I lose concentration and become a foggy brain. -- Controlling
DEAR CONTROLLING: Sounds like you want to be in control of your life. The problem is that your sister may not be the best person to help you execute your tightly organized plans. When you have a volunteer family member, it may be best to give a bit and to welcome other ideas -- at least some of them. In the future, you may want to hire helpers who are paid to follow your plans. Start by laying out the plan and checking to make sure all involved are willing to comply.