It’s tough to get our needs met, so do try
Requests not demands.
A communications tip as Haiku! Seriously now, when you want something from someone you love, how do you typically go about getting it?
Do you ~
WISH – you need a fairy godmother (or mind-reader); how’s that working for you?
HINT – you need Sherlock Holmes, so better be ready for clues to be misinterpreted.
INVITE – you better make what you need done sound exciting and be prepared for better offers to come up for the invitee.
REQUEST – you get to be clear about what you want, and prepare to be OK with a “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe”.
DEMAND – you feel fully entitled to what you want and you may even get it, but be prepared for some push back.
COMMAND – you have authority and “vil have zis done Macht schnell”. “Yes Sir!” Captain Von Trapp tried it for a while but can’t say it won him much love and affection.
There are pro’s and con’s to each.
- I have to admit to wishing my family would spontaneously apply the Harpic and clean the loos after each usage, and occasionally I’m duly surprised. The fairy Godmother has sprinkled her dust and – hey Presto – lovely loos! So – the Pro is the possibility for pleasant surprises, the con is the intermittent nature of these rewards.
- Hinting? “Well, I’m pretty tired, I think a lazy afternoon would be great” could turn out as I’d hoped and we all loll about with good books and gentle background music, or be misconstrued as “Let’s invite the neighbours over to chill with us – I’ll BBQ!”
- Inviting? I’ve tried inviting my children to share their English homework for my “oh-so-gentle” review. Strangely they prefer to suffer the praise or scorn of their teachers. Clearly I’ve made one too many “It could be good to expand on this point…” remarks. But at least my kids are still speaking to me, and they are making (and have made) their own steady progress as writers.
- Requesting? Much better. I get to be clear and feel that I’m entitled to ask for what I want just as those of whom I’m requesting something are entitled to say “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe”. Takes a bit of creativity but leaves everyone feeling engaged and resourceful.
- Demanding? Has a bit of a negative connotation. With no clear hierarchy, having one person demand something from another – with a snippy “Clean up!” “Pass the salt!” “Ask nicely!” – it tends to elicit a surge of resistance and an indignant “No!” even if, and here’s the rub, you actually wouldn’t mind doing any of these things if asked nicely.
- Commanding? Reminds me of that scene in Young Victoria where the newly married Queen tries commanding Albert to stay with her one night after they’ve had their first newly wed power struggle. He knows he’s being commanded by his Queen, but because he is first of all her husband, he turns on his heel and walks deliberately from the room. Yes! It does not work to command anyone you love. Period.
How do you usually try to get your needs met?
Is this working for you?
What might be a more effective approach?
An “Easy as ABC” way to get needs met.