Ever heard sentences like these come out of your mouth?
- That dress is so cute!
- I’m frazzled.
- That’s my favourite restaurant!
- This room is a mess.
I have. Lots. And when I’ve said things like these, I’ve actually expected others to know I was asking them to do something. I’ve been frustrated or disappointed or angered by the lack of action, and really, it’s all my doing.
My big a-ha moment
A singular point of clarity came during an exchange with my husband during our sleep-deprived, early days of parenthood. As usual, the baby was crying.
“The baby is hungry.”
My very helpful and wonderful husband said, “I’ll just bounce her and see if she stops crying.”
“Wah!” (That’s the baby, not me.)
“The. Baby. Is. Hungry.” (That’s me.)
More bouncing and crying.
“THE BABY IS HUNGRY!” (Eep. Me again. Not pretty.)
To me, it was obvious what needed to happen here: he needed to give me the baby so I could feed her. He was unaware that I was asking him to do anything – and who could blame him?
Imagine what could have happened if I had said things like these instead:
- That dress is so cute! Let’s go into that store.
- I’m frazzled. Can you please pour me a glass of wine? Or massage my back. Or take care of dinner tonight? Or… (So many good things to ask for here!)
- That’s my favourite restaurant! It would be special if you made reservations there for my birthday.
- This room is a mess. Please pick up those toys, pillows, scraps of paper, and broken crayons.
- The baby is hungry. Please pass her to me so I can feed her.
So how do I get what I want more often? I need to ask for it.