If you don’t ask…you don’t get. I think this is the key to being happy with men. It’s one of my Dad’s favorite lines. I heard it so often growing up that it’s now a mantra in my already overloaded brain.
Dad’s premise was that it is your responsibility to state what you want, and then give people a chance to give it to you. 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: in restaurants when I’m ordering, when I need help reaching something on a high shelf, when my girlfriends ask “what do you want to do tonight,” or when a raise is in order at work. The most significant place I use this, though, is in my marriage.
My husband, Larry, is phenomenally intuitive and pays better attention to the world around him than anyone I’ve ever met. And he pays special attention to me. (Yep, I found a good one. And there are plenty more out there!) Yet even he can’t always get it right when it comes to pleasing me. And it’s completely unrealistic to expect that.
So when I want Larry to do something for me that’s important to me, and he’s not already doing it… I tell him.
Sometimes it’s hard to ask for what you want, even in simple day-to-day life situations. You might accept the overcooked meal, say “thank you” and hang up with the customer service rep even though he was rude and didn’t even answer your question, and go somewhere you hate to go instead of saying you’d prefer to go elsewhere.
Turns out my Dad was right on. Learning how to ask for what you want is essential to getting what you want in life. And learning to do it in a kind and non-threatening way is one of the strongest tools you can use while dating or in a relationship.
I’m told by many women that it’s hard to do. My friend Jan told me that she doesn’t think she should have to tell a man what she wants. She, and many other women, feel that if the guy is paying attention, he should be able to figure out what they like.
That’s just not fair to men.
Men don’t think like women, To expect someone who is so fundamentally different than you to consistently surmise what you want is not realistic. And continuing to expect this will ruin, or at least stunt, an otherwise great relationship.
This is one of the top complaints made by men about women: that women expect them to read their minds. And, they say, if they can’t do it …or they get it wrong, we hold it against them. (Right guys? Are you there? Chime in please.)
Here’s the thing: men want you to clue them in to what you like and what you want. When he cares for you, he wants to get it right. And isn’t that exactly what we are looking for? A man who wants to make us 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 that he’s going out of his way to learn about what makes you smile. Your smile, and your “oh I love this, thank you!” is music to the man who cares about you and is trying to please you.
If you want to give a man the most wonderful gift, tell him what will make you happy. Then let him do it.
Give this gift 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. Let me know how it goes.
If you want to know some specifics about how to ask, you can read about it here.