Sandbox: Unwanted Assistance
Watch out on the right! (Passepartout turns around to find nothing)
...No, no, my right. (Passepartout gets ganged up on) Passepartout:
STOP HELPING ME! Phileas Fogg: (sheepishly)
In a crisis, nobody wants to feel useless or left out. They may want to run away, but otherwise they'll usually try to help. The problem is, sometimes this help turns out to be rather unhelpful. Depending on the situation, it can be anywhere from irritating to downright dangerous, for the "helper" and
the "helpee." As such, this situation can have several different outcomes, ranging from simple annoyance on the part of the people being inconvenienced to extremely dire consequences that involve a lot of people getting killed
Compare Chronic Hero Syndrome
, Unwanted Rescue
, Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like
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Anime & Manga
- Bokurano has our little friend Koyemushi, which is supposed to be the guide for the kids while on Zearth. While he is forced to obey the kids while they are contracted, he is extremely cynical, cruel, and will often "forget" to give out certain pieces of information, all because he loves to see the kids agonize and cry. Extra points for actually helping the kids exclusively when he knew it would hurt them more than it would help them.
- Future GPX Cyber Formula: Earlier in the series, Asurada tries to teach its partner Hayato how to drive properly, but he ignores his advices, and he even tries to destroy Asurada when the machine indirectly caused the crash involving him and his friend Johji (which resulted in the latter's retirement from Cyber Formula).
- In Infinite Stratos, When Houki, Rin, and Cecilia all try to explain to Ichika how to use the IS with their Techno Babble, it only serves to confuse him. On the other hand, Charles offers to duel Ichika, and after sounding stomping him, he offers some tips on Ichika's weaknesses and explains things that makes it easy for him to understand. He also helps train Ichika on using a rifle, and seems a bit too friendly, causing the girls to get quite jealous.
- In Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!, Shougo runs away from Miyabi and Konoe in episode 3 due to their insistence on "training him to like girls".
- Legendz: In the manga, Ken gains possession of the Golden Soul Doll, except that he doesn't want to use it — he even goes so far as to dodge the beam that the Golden Soul Doll gives Shiron when they're almost down for the count. Eventually, of course, he gets so tired that he has to give in, and Shiron transforms massively. More a case of Holding Back the Phlebotinum, but in this case, the Phlebotinum is actively trying to help. The reason Ken doesn't want to use it is because he's afraid he'll start relying on it to get him out of every scrape.
- The Mazinger series:
- Mazinger Z: Several times Kouji complained Sayaka she was getting in the way, hindering him and making more harm than good. And even though he can have a point, he could telling it in a more tactful way...
- Great Mazinger: Jun Hono was a Tsundere Action Girl with a worth-of-years extensive training like mecha pilot and martial artist. Likewise, her Humongous Mecha Venus A was clearly more powerful than the Mazinger Z Fem Bots). During her first mecha battle she fought the Mykene War Beast skilfully, gaining the upper hand several times. She could have won... if Boss would have not gotten in the way EVERY TIME she was about of finishing the Robeast off, telling her girls should not fight and he would look after the Mykene monster. Whenever she managed to shove him off, the War Beast had recovered and she had to begin again. The ironical part is Boss thought he was being chivalrous, charming and kind instead of an offensive and hindering nuisance.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has Yuma, who is irritated by Astral frequently giving him advice on what moves to execute in his duels, despite the fact that he is totally clueless without the help. In one early episode, in fact, Yuma gets so angry at Astral that he tells him he will not do what Astral tells him to do from this point. Astral then starts purposely giving Yuma ''bad'' advice, and as expected, Yuma does the exact opposite, which turns out to be what he has to do in order to win.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In Hudson Hawk, Anna tries to help Eddie (Bruce Willis), who's fighting Battle Butler Alfred, with a gun. Unfortunately, she's never fired a gun before. Her first shot ricochets off Eddie's belt buckle, causing him to quote the Fifth Commandment.note Her next shot wings him, causing him to exclaim "Stop helping me!".
- Jackie Chan's Passepartout in the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days yelled to Fogg to stop trying to help, in the middle of a big fight with multiple opponents.
- The Producers: In the original movie, when Leo Bloom stands up at their trial to speak in Max Bialystock's defense, he starts by listing all of Max's faults and shortcomings. "Stop helping me," Max says.
- In All of Me, Roger provides a concise summary of the ways that Edwina, whose soul has been trapped inside his body for a large part of the film, has tried to help him, and the less-than-desirable effects this has had:
Roger: Since you started helping me, in the last twenty-four hours, I've lost my girl, my job, I've alienated my dog! I broke my sunglasses! You can't even get that kind anymore. Stop helping me!!
- Mr. Shoop from Summer School (1987), an hour and seven minutes in, goes to court and his students try to help him, to which he replies, "Guys, don't help."
- Neo holds this attitude towards "Kid" in the sequels to The Matrix.
- In John Woo's Broken Arrow, the Big Bad tells one of his henchmen, with gritted teeth, "Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" when they're in a fight with the main protagonist.
- In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry manages to blurt this out a few times to Gay Perry, who is fiercely pissing off the thug who has some electrodes attached to Harry's googlies.
- The Abyss: When Lindsey is trying to get the rest of the crew to believe her about the underwater aliens, Hippy, the resident conspiracy nut, goes into his usual Conspiracy Kitchen Sink speech. This results in a zinger:
Lindsey: Hippy, do me a favor? Stay off my side.
- Sir Robin's minstrels in Monty Python and the Holy Grail praise him as a hero to potential enemies he'd rather run away from.
- In True Lies, Gib is trying to help Harry get over his wife cheating on him (she isn't, but Harry thinks she is):
Harry Tasker: Stop cheering me up!
- In Shaun of the Dead, friends' help is just as likely to hurt, to the point of a Running Gag. During Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" scene, Diane 'helps' Shaun fend off a zombie bartender by throwing darts, with mixed success.
Shaun [after Diane scores a hit]
': Yes! In the head! Aaaaow!
- In Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond switches out a real computer tape for a fake one to derail a villain's plan ... only to find that his latest Bond Girl, out to be helpful, also switched the tapes.
Bond: You stupid twit, you put the real one back!
- Team America: World Police. Paris is attacked by four terrorists. Yes, you read that right: 4 terrorists. The titular protagonists head there to save the day. By the end, all of the terrorists are dead... along with hundreds of Parisians. Oh, and the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre are lying in ruin.
- In the novel based on the Infocom game Wishbringer, the hero is supplied with a magic radio that provides helpful advice and alerts him to danger... by turning itself on and playing music very loudly, invariably alerting the danger to him as well.
- Harry Potter:
- Dobby may be the personification of this trope. His attempts to "save" Harry from danger inevitably led to Harry being worse off, and in the end Harry makes him promise to "never try to save my life again." ...He broke that promise, too, leading to his death.
- Percy has a few examples:
- At one point, Harry alludes to a game of chess with Ron that he might not have lost so badly if Percy hadn't been trying to help him every second.
- Another Percy example occurs in Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry is depressed over not being allowed to visit the wizarding village of Hogsmeade. His other friends try to cheer him up by promising to bring him home candy and such. Percy offers what Harry considers the worst attempt to cheer him up, by trying to describe Hogsmeade as dull and not worth the excitement, but only manages to make it sound like a lot of fun.
- In Life, the Universe, and Everything, Zaphod Beeblebrox's ship, the Heart of Gold, is invaded by deadly robots from the planet Krikkit. In an attempt to gain passage to the bridge without the robots noticing, Zaphod instructs a door to be completely silent upon entering, instead of its usual content sigh. It then proceeds to loudly ask him immediately afterwards if it did a good job.
- Relatively minor example, in the picture book "Too Many Babas", everybody attempts to help out with the stew to the point it tastes like crap.
- In Darth Bane, during the Duel on Tython in the second book of the trilogy, Johun Othone's attempts to help are more a hindrance than a benefit. Darth Zannah herself remarks that had Johun not constantly been getting in the way of Sarro Xaj while both fought Zannah, she would have died. Later on, he does get called away. And she very nearly does get killed. Fortunately, Bane indirectly saves her.
- Don Quixote: Many characters (most memorably Andres, the flogged boy) react this way to Don Quixote's interference.
'For the love of God, sir knight-errant, if you ever meet me again, though you may see them cutting me to pieces, give me no aid or succour, but leave me to my misfortune, which will not be so great but that a greater will come to me by being helped by your worship, on whom and all the knights-errant that have ever been born God send his curse
- The Enchanted Forest Chronicles:
- In Searching for Dragons, Mendabar has only one servant - an elf named Willin. Unfortunately for him, Willin is hellbent on fixing stupid things like Mendabar's dungeons and torture chambers not being properly stocked (as Mendabar notes, they haven't used those rooms for ages). He also keeps trying to arrange meetings between Mendabar and "proper" princesses, which angers Mendabar so much that he threatens to stick Willin in the rack he wanted to have bought, just for suggesting it.
- In Talking to Dragons, the baby dragon's "shortcut" gets Daystar and Shiara caught by an evil firewitch. His next one turns out slightly better, in that they unexpectedly run into an ally instead of an enemy. By the time he offers a third shortcut through some underground caverns, the others are Genre Savvy enough to go with the instructions they were given.
- In Dealing With Dragons, Cimorene has an unending stream of knights and princes showing up to "save" her from the dangerous dragon she's been "kidnapped" by. It's not until the second book that she figures out how to direct them towards princes who do actually want to be rescued.
- The Manuscript Found in Saragossa: Busqueros, a smug nobleman who loves "helping" people (often by manipulating them into marriage), and doesn't seem overtly concerned that his "help" more often than not ends up more or less badly for the recipient (up to and including causing their death.) If he thinks he knows how to do you a favor, he'll latch onto you and won't leave you, ever, and act very offended if you complain.
- In the misnamed book Moses May Have Been an Apache and Other Actual Facts, it mentions a Dane who was executed for being "too helpful".
- The novels of P. G. Wodehouse include several characters so inept that you're better off without them on your side.
- Bertie Wooster from Wooster And Jeeves, when he attempts to be The Chessmaster, can turn any minor predicament into a catastrophe.
- Edwin the Boy Scout keeps getting behind on his "good deed a day" schedule and then causing trouble for his intended recipients by rushing to make up for it.
- In The Beverly Hillbillies, as Jed tries to soothe the raging Granny, this exchange occurs:
Jed: Why don't ya sit on the porch an' rock a spell...
Elly May: And play your harp!
Jethro: Yeah, that generally cools your temper!
Granny: WHAT TEMPER?!?
Jethro: Well, even Uncle Jed says you's a savage beast...
Jed: Don't help me, boy.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Season 3, episode "Dead Man's Party".
Cordelia: Put yourself in Buffy's shoes for just a minute, okay? I'm Buffy: Freak of Nature, right? Naturally, I pick a freak for a boyfriend, and then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault—
Buffy: Cordy! Get out of my shoes!
Cordelia: I'm just trying to help.
- And later that season, in the episode "Doppelgangland", when Buffy and Xander try to cheer Willow up.
Willow: Old Reliable? Yeah, great, there's a sexy nickname.
Buffy: Well, I-I didn't mean it as...
Willow: No, it's fine. I'm Old Reliable.
Xander: She just means, you know, the geyser. You're like a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.
Willow: That's Old Faithful.
Xander: Isn't that the dog that-that the guy had to shoot...
Willow: That's Old Yeller!
Buffy: Xander, I beg you not to help me.
- Similarly, Buffy tells Xander "Maybe you shouldn't help" in "Amends", after his hilarious attempt to threaten Willy the Snitch. (Afterwards, Willy deadpans "You did great, by the way. I was very intimidated by you." Xander buys it.)
- Comes up in Angel, too, after Wesley kills an android disguised as his father, fully believing at the moment when he pulled the trigger that it WAS his father. His friends attempt to comfort him by telling stories about times in the past when they've had to kill their own parents as well. ("You know, I killed my mum. Well, first I made her a vampire, and then she tried to shag me, and THEN...") It isn't terribly comforting.
- In the early episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data has a habit of giving out information that's either more detailed than needed (prime example is giving out even the milliseconds of a time span) or not even asked for (like defining a term he heard along with listing related terms and information). He's usually interrupted by the annoyed Picard as sort of a Running Gag. This happens in the later episodes as well, but less often due to Data catching on to the more obvious cases. Some specific examples:
- From "Up The Long Ladder," regarding the name of a ship:
Data: Mariposa. The Spanish word for "butterfly".
Picard: Thank you, Data.
Data: I thought it might be significant, sir.
Picard: It doesn't appear to be, Data.
Data: No, sir.
- In one instance, the ship's computer cut in while he was talking and said, "Thank you, sir. I comprehend."
- A tweaking of this has appeared on The Daily Show in the recurring segment "You're not helping!", in which Jon lambastes someone for an idiotic statement or action that counteracts what their expressed purpose is.
- Little House on the Prairie Carrie tries to help Caroline with the laundry, but ends up dropping some linens onto the soil. Needless to say, Caroline tells Carrie to please stop helping.
- Seems to happen fairly frequently in Arrested Development. Usually they're just out for personal gain but occasionally they're sincerely trying to be useful. One obvious example is with Michael's girlfriend Rita, whom his family ultimately kidnaps, drugs, and beats. And that's when they were trying to be helpful.
- Another lesser example is when George Michael plans a surprise party for Maeby. This causes her to lose the lucrative profession she'd only barely fallen into in the first place.
- Anything to do with Lindsay being a stay-at-home mother. George Michael has to perpetually hover over her to keep her from destroying the house.
- Tobias' brief and clueless stint as "The Mole". He does a pretty poor job and screws everything up for everyone.
- Any doctor. Any doctor at all.
- Almost any time a character save for Maeby (who, in this show's rare example of a subversion of this trope, actually helps when she tries to) attempts to be helpful, they fail abysmally.
- Good Eats: Don't say it! Culinary anthropologist!
- M*A*S*H: In the episode "Promotion Commotion", many of the enlisted men were up for promotion and were trying to ingratiate themselves to Hawkeye and BJ, who were on the promotions committee. While Hawkeye was chatting up a nurse, Sgt. Rizzo joined the conversation and told the nurse what a great guy Hawkeye was, prompting the nurse to leave and Hawkeye to yell at Rizzo that he didn't want his help.
- In Red Dwarf series IV episode "Justice," Rimmer is put on trial for killing the entire crew of the Red Dwarf. Kryten serves as Rimmer's defense attorney. His argument is that Rimmer exaggerated his own importance in the events.
Kryten: I simply have to establish that you're a neurotic, under-achieving emotional retard whose ambition far outstrips his miniscule ability, and consequently blames himself for an accident for which he could not possibly have been responsible..
Rimmer: You're going to prove that I was innocent of negligence on the grounds that I'm a half-witted incompetent?
- Being Human:
- In one episode, Tully gives George advice on how to get a date with Nina. Said advice pretty much boils down to crudely hitting on her (Tully...isn't the most refined person) and George does not realize why that might offend a girl. Nina, being her Deadpan Snarker self, has a few words in return.
- Later in the season, Annie tries to help Mitchell get a new job by sitting in on his interview and coaching him nonstop. All this does is distract him and make him look insane, since he, as a vampire, can see Annie but the human woman he's interviewing with can't. Annie's next attempt at helping him (forging a letter of recommendation) actually does help him get the job.
- In That Metal Show, Eddie Trunk can't stand when the co-hosts and guests "help" him when he's trying to puzzle out a Stump the Trunk answer, mainly because said "help" is anything but.
- One of the more common tropes back in the territory days to create friction between friends/tag team partners was to have one try and help the other during a match, only for it to go horribly wrong.
- This is the general reaction Sin Eaters have to Hunters in the New World of Darkness. Sin Eaters are humans who died, but came back by agreeing to share their body with a Geist (a hybrid of human ghost and death spirit). As a result, they have a wide array of necromantic powers, from the innate ability to see and touch ghosts, to arcane rituals that can be used to send ghosts forcibly back to the underworld and make them stay there. Hunters, meanwhile, are ordinary humans who are trying to take a stand against the creatures of the night. Whilst some select groups do have access to magic (or near-magical technology), as a general rule, they have very little they can do to detect or interact with ghosts. More often than not, if the hunters even realize the ghosts are there, they tend to make things worse, complicating the mission of the Sin Eaters. And that's without getting into the fact that Fantastic Racism means hunters will tend to mistake Sin Eaters as witches or people suffering from Demonic Possession and react accordingly. Which generally translates to trying to murder the Sin Eaters.
- In the T2 3-D: Battle Across Time show at Universal Studios, this is The Terminator's response to John Connor's repeatedly telling him how close the baddie was.
- In Red vs. Blue we have Caboose. The character that is so inept that other characters tell him that their enemies are on their side, just so Caboose will "teamkill" his enemies. They even have a macro on their keyboards at command to record Caboose's teamkills (Ctrl+F+U).
- Private Partz in A Day in the Life of a Commissar, a Dawn of War Machinima, brings down all three Space Marine heroes on poor Commissar Steeve, by saying things like: "I bet he could take on all three of ya! even if you had, like, Psychic Powers!"
- Parodied in the Mega Man X episode of Sequelitis, which focuses on ways of implying what actions the player can take without directly stating them.
Roll: MEGA MAN MEGA MAN!
- The Order of the Stick
- Elan's enthusiastic attempts to help his friends with his music are sometimes... less than useful.
Elan: ♪ Bluff, Bluff, Bluff, Bluff the stupid ogre! ♪
- Possibly even better:
Elan: ♪ Sneak, Sneak, Sneak Sneak silently across the battlefield! ♪
Haley: Elan, that's the one example the Players' Handbook gives of a situation where that doesn't work!
- Girl Genius:
- Sparks often get a little carried away with having fun and forget they're supposed to actually, you know, be doing things.
- Also, Moloch trying to argue with what was sadistically insane AI when it was functioning properly.
- Happens all the time in Schlock Mercenary.
- Done in this Darths & Droids comic.
- Gail hits Ben with this line in When She Was Bad.
- A Shadowrun campaign where a pyromaniacal rigger Twitch (Abbie's PC) saved Aeon (Mark's PC):
Mark: You're totally not allowed to rescue me any more.
- Later his PC needs some help once more:
Abbie: Never fear!! Twitch will come to the rescue!
GM: Heh. I don't even need to throw bad guys at you. I just have to give Twitch half a chance and you all go boom!
- In Life With Lamarr, Kleiner's "helpful advice" drives Magnusson insane.
- In Impure Blood, Dara resents her bodyguard, but since she didn't hire her, can't get rid of her. Not that Elnor likes it very much either.
- In Sinfest, after Squiggly ruined Slick's date, he volunteers to help with fixing this. Slick explains what he wants his friend to do.
- Happens to Big Boss in The Last Days of Foxhound.
- Jareth in Roommates is really enthusiastic about helping his friends but he sucks at being good or even at vaguely helpful. Direct examples: His plan for fixing his roommate's relationship involved turning the guy into a kid again. And when they needed to rescue someone from a stuck elevator he was the one shouting and being in the way (at least he wasn't the one with the dynamite).
- Erfworld has most of Stanley The Tool's major units take this attitude towards their boss. In the second book Maggie uses hypnosis and thus successfully asks Stanley to put Lord Hamster in charge and leave their headquarters so that he could think. This is actually a double example, as it was the exact opposite of Lord Hamster's actual plan to promote someone on-site since the command bonus would be enough to turn the tide.
: Y'know... as far as helping his own cause goes, Stanley is somewhere between Gilligan
- Kin in Goblins yells to stop helping, when Minmax stabs her a second time while attempting to stab the alternate Kin who's attacking her.
- Freefall: When talking with the police about Clippy, in this strip, Mr. Kornada is forced to order Blunt to shut up, in spite of Blunt believing he was helping Kornada by revealing that he was responsible for the release of Gardener in the Dark.
- Ursula's specialty in Precocious, demonstrated especially during the Fall Festival.
- In the webseries TotalBiscuit and the Yogscast 'play' Magicka, Simon is prone to this, though he is not the only one of the three. An incident caused by Lewis named the third episode Please Stop Healing Me.
- The general premise of "Gandalf Goes to the World Cup." The new members of the Fellowship use vuvuzelas as their method of furthering the quest. Hilarity Ensues.
- In There Will Be Brawl, Link finally says it: "SHUT THE FUCK UP, NAVI!", and throws his canteen at her.
- ReBoot has several of these. In one episode, the people of Mainframe get dumbed down to the point of utter stupidity, and during a Game session, try to help Enzo by getting in the way. He only manages to save the day by convincing them to 'help' the User. In another episode, two binomes sneak into the Game and set off an explosion that blew up a planet to beat the User. Unfortunately, they were INSIDE the planet at the time and only escaped by the narrowest of margins. This prompts Bob to give an informational seminar on the nature of Games and why they should stay the hell out.
- In the episode of Sealab 2021 where the guys' evil twins show up, Bizarro Dr. Quinn "helps" out Bizarro Sparks, by shattering the jar that houses his disembodied head which is the only thing keeping him alive, then pouring salt on him while jumping up and down while shouting "I'm helping!"
- Robin's doppelganger Larry, from an episode of Teen Titans, a parody of the aforementioned Bat-Mite.
- From The Spectacular Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus should really think about kicking Electro out of the Sinister Six: in "Group Therapy" he (accidentally) electrocuted Doc Ock SEVERAL TIMES in his attempt to kill Spider-Man. Not happy with that, he, along with Shocker, knocked out Rhino, thanks to Spidey's Deadly Dodging. Then, in "Reinforcements" he tried to free the Vulture from Spidey's web... by, once again, electrocuting him. Oh, but that doesn't end here: in "Shear Strengh", Spider-Man intentionally presses his Berserk Button by calling him repeatedly Max (his real name), making him shoot lightning bolts everywhere. The result? The destruction of the Master Planner's base.
- Justice League:
- One episode of Danny Phantom had Jazz fill this role for Danny, becoming his "sidekick" after finding out his secret identity. She not only refuses to listen to Danny's knowledge on ghosts, but also hacks into his computer to look at his ghost files, gives names to ghosts that Danny already knows, gets in Danny's way when he's trying to fight, and is generally unhelpful. This eventually leads to him screaming the trope name in a rather Punctuated! For! Emphasis! fashion.
- From Krypto the Superdog ep. 47, "Bat Hound and the Robin", has Robbie the Robin wanting to becomes Ace's sidekick after he saves his life. Unfortunately, his attempts to "help" all end up getting worse and worse for the Bat Hound, to the point the usually Stoic dog flees Gotham City and the persistent Robin to hide into Krypto's spaceship.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rarity tends to react this way whenever her little sister tries to help her with things.
- Also what happens whenever Derpy tries to help with setting up for a party.
- This is the plot of the episode "Spike at your Service". After Applejack saves Spike from a pack of timberwolves (wolf monsters made out of wood that regenerate Dry Bones-style when killed), he feel that he owes his life to her and starts helping her at the farm. After his help causes too much trouble, the ponies decide to fake another timberwolf attack for Spike to stop, in order to make him feel as if he repaid his "debt" and stop helping.
- One episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers has an annoying little boy who is obsessed with becoming a hero and constantly screwing up. When his school bus is caught in smog and everyone panics, he yells, "Turn on the headlights!" and tries to do it himself, but opens the door instead, letting in the smog and choking everyone. When Wheeler gets injured, he steals his ring and charges into battle, despite Wheeler warning him that only a chosen one can properly use the ring. Sure enough, when the kid tries to blast the villain, he can't control the fire and blows up random stuff.
- In the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michaelangelo is even more prone to this than ever. The most obvious example is when his brothers are arguing about how to pick a lock in a Kraang stronghold, Mikey asks whether any of them had bothered just hitting the nearby button... Which actually activates the alarm. Which all of them knew because they had all seen the same buttons used to activate the alarm system in the past... include Mikey. He still presses the button before anyone can stop him.
- Sofia the First: When Sofia went hiking with her fellow buttercup scouts, King Roland was afraid she'd get hurt and ordered Baileywick to go along. Baileywick insisted in doing things for her, which made her lose several chances of earning merit badges. And she was just one away from winning a sunflower pin.
- The Cracked article "5 Popular Forms of Charity (That Aren't Helping)" has several examples that fall under this:
- Breast cancer awareness campaigns, in order to make themselves more marketable, often misrepresent the problem by focusing on young, sexy women instead of the older women who are the most likely to get breast cancer.
- Participation in awareness campaigns in general makes people less likely to give money to charity, as they feel that they've already done their part.
- Clothing donations pretty much crippled the textile industries in African nations, since they can't hope to compete with floods of free clothing donated by the West. It's also incredibly inefficient, taking up space on transports that could go to food and medicine.
- Earmarking the money you donate so that it goes to a particular cause can lead to the more high-profile causes getting more attention at the expense of others. After the 2004 tsunami, charities started building McMansions in Indonesia in order to do something with all the money that had been earmarked for housing, and Japan received so much aid after the 2011 earthquake/tsunami that they had to tell aid workers to stop coming in.
- Volunteering to do aid work overseas is usually a bad idea unless you are properly trained for what it is you're doing and you know the local language and customs. There are tons of people already there who can do the work you're doing, and you'll wind up getting in the way and consuming food and water that could go to the people you're trying to help. This is especially true in the critical few days and weeks after a major natural disaster where many thousands of people are in need of rescue (case in point, the thousands trapped beneath rubble after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake). Unless you're trained for this sort of thing specifically, you'll just waste everyone's time.
- Snooker phenomenon Ronnie O'Sullivan once insisted that the referee measure whether a re-spotted ball would fit on its mark (which it clearly didn't), which necessitated laboriously removing and marking several other balls. Although the ref dutifully completed the manoeuvre, she did remark, "Ronnie, I could do this a lot faster if you weren't helping me!" when he wouldn't stop commenting on her performance.
- In the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen got a little fed up with his engineer updating him over the pit to car radio first telling him to "leave me alone, I know what I'm doing", and then when being reminded to keep his tyres up to temperature during a safety car period; "Yes, I'm doing all the tyres. You don't have to remind me every second". Räikkönen proved he didn't need the help by winning the race, but saw the funny side by  distributing t-shirts with his statements on to the team
- Geraldo Rivera in 2003 tried to help viewers at home understand where he and the troops he was with were by sketching out a map in the sand, showing the objective, then showing where he was in relation to it. Arguments have been made on both sides of the matter- that the enemy was unlikely to be able to find the troops based off of this, or that his actions lead to many deaths by alerting the enemy to the army's actions. It is generally agreed to have been a dumb maneuver on Rivera's part.
- Sometimes polarizing political groups will engage in this in order to cripple those they disagree with. Case-in-point with the lead-up to the 1953 coup in Iran, where the communist Tedah party threw support towards the Prime Minister (also the target of MI6/CIA propaganda) in order to further discredit him, since he actively opposed policies they wanted to enact.