How To Get What You Want From Men (So You Can Both Be Happy)

ask a man for what you want

If you don’t ask…you don’t get.

This is one of my Dad’s favorite lines and I think the key to being happy with men.

Dad’s premise was that it is your responsibility to state what you want when it’s important to you, and then give people a chance to give it. If you don’t ask for something, there’s a good chance you won’t get it. And if you don’t, it’s not the potential giver’s fault; it’s yours.

I’ve used this advice in all kinds of situations: I ask the waiter to make sure there is no black pepper on my meal (I hate it!); I ask for help when I can’t  reach something on a high shelf; When my girlfriends ask “what do you want to do tonight” I tell them.

The most significant place I rely on this mantra, though, is in my marriage.

If you want to give a man the most wonderful gift, tell him what will make you happy. Then let him do it.

My husband, Larry, is pretty damn intuitive and pays better attention to the world around him than most men. He also pays special attention to me (almost all the time). Yet even he can’t always get it right when it comes to pleasing me. And it’s completely unrealistic to expect that.

(Yep, btw, I found a good man. And there are plenty more out there!)

So when I want Larry to do something for me that’s important to me that he’s not already doing…

I tell him what I want.


Sometimes it’s hard to ask for what you want.

Even in simple day-to-day life situations, this can be hard. Do you accept the overcooked meal you paid $40 for and say “thank you?” Do you allow the customer service rep to end the call even though she’s been rude and hasn’t even answered your question? Do you keep allowing the pushy car salesman to call you instead of telling him to please wait for you to call him?

I encourage you to knock that shit off. Not only does it leave you with an unfulfilled need, you’re left with frustration and resentfulness piled on top of it.

Yah, my Dad was right on. Asking for what you want is essential to getting what you want and need in life, and learning to do it in a kind and non-threatening way is one of the strongest tools you can use.

And it’s most important while dating or in a relationship.

ask for what you want

Think he should just know how to make you happy?

Maybe you’re cool with asking to put your steak on the grill for a few more minutes or to move you to a table further away from the kitchen.

But how good are you at asking a man to do something for you…or not do something?

Do you ask him to call you instead of text, or to stop talking so much and let you share a little about yourself? (In a very kind way, of course.) How good are you at asking your boyfriend to make your weekend plans further in advance so you can plan the rest of your life or telling him that you when he [fill-in-the-blank] it makes you feel uneasy and you’d like him to do [fill-in-the-blank] instead?

Do you think you shouldn’t have to ask?

My friend Jan told me that she doesn’t think she should have to tell a man what she wants. She’s only one of a myriad of women who have told me that if a guy is paying attention and really cares, he should be able to figure out what she wants. He should know what to do to make her happy.

In a word (or a few)…that’s bullshit.  And unfair to men.

News flash #1: Men don’t think like us!

If you expect someone who is so fundamentally different from you to figure out what you need to be happy, you’re living in a dream world. That’s 1 trillion times truer if you’re expecting this starting from the first phone call or date! (Don’t just blow off the last sentence here. Give it some thought. Can you be guilty of this? So many of us are.)

He should know it’s not okay to keep texting me. 

He should know it’s rude to ask to pick me up at my place on a first date. 

He should offer to go with me to my family picnic without me having to ask. 

I’m telling you, sister, it’s these unrealistic expectations that are the basis of millions of dates going nowhere and otherwise good relationships breaking up.

One of the top complaints made by men about women is that women expect them to read our minds. And, they say, if they try and get it wrong, we hold it against them. (Right guys?  Are you there? Chime in please.)

breathe tell him what you want

News flash #2: Men would do “it” for you if he knew what “it” was!

If you want to give a man the most wonderful gift, tell him what will make you happy. Then let him do it.

When a man cares for you or wants to impress you, he wants to get it right. He wants you to clue him into what you like and what you want. And isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for…a man who wants to make you happy?

So when you’re dating and a man asks what you want to do on your date, don’t accuse him of being lazy or not caring enough to plan a date. There’s a good chance he’s asking because he wants to take you to a place where you feel comfortable and that you will enjoy.

And when you sit across from him, smile, and say “thank you, I love this place!” that guy will light up with pride. He wants to get it right!

Principle #3 of Dating Like a Grownup is to take responsibility for your actions and outcomes. If you want to get what you want from men, follow that advice.  

Learn how to ask for what you want in a kind and non-threatening way. This is – hands down – the best gift you can give to the nice man you’ve just met online, the guy you’re going out with for the third time, or your husband of 10 years.

Give it a try. Let me know how it goes.


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