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A few years ago, while preparing to move apartments I asked a friend if she’d be willing to help me move my clothes and other household odds and ends in our cars the 1.5 miles down the road to my new place.

“I’d love to! Now we’re real friends!” she exclaimed.

Before this request, we’d had a great friendship. We talked about personal matters in our lives—it was by no means a surface-level relationship. Yet, our encounters exclusively consisted of meeting up for a meal or some other activity we could do together. Now, I was asking her to help me—and in the years that have followed, we’ve helped each other with countless favors. These invitations have signaled a level of trust and vulnerability that have strengthened our friendship.

We often want to help the people we love. Yet we also so often struggle to ask for help for ourselves. Why is this? It’s a question we’re tackling in our articles this week.

Our longform article this week takes on this very question, entitled, “Why Is It So Hard to Ask for Help?” And our “Consider This” column this month explores the meaning of friendship in the life of a single woman and a married woman. We know we need each other, but so many factors get in the way of healthy interdependence.

What holds you back from asking for help from those around you? Let us know here.