What's the difference between reaching out to help and reaching out for help?

Kirk shrugged, and he knew that the look of disgust was returning to his face, but he was sick of it. He’d tried to reach out for help — and reach out to help, on some level — and got sand in his eye. Screw it.

Context: Kirk asks his teacher who is obsessed with ghosts for help, because he discovered the girl he likes is curious about them. The teacher, who knows Kirk doesn't like ghosts and doesn't like him, thinks Kirk is doing something to mock him and declines.


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    If you're reaching out to help, you're offering to provide help. If you're reaching out for help, you are asking to receive help. – Dan Bron Nov 26 '14 at 18:21

To reach out for help is to make an effort to get help from someone. Kirk tries to get help from the teacher.

To reach out to help is to make an effort to give help to someone. I presume this refers to Kirk's attempt to help the girl.

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