How to ask for what you want in a relationship (and have your needs met).

1). Listen: This is the most important thing you can do when asking for what you want — just listen. Sadly, we all want to talk and be heard, but no one wants to listen. By becoming a good listener, you’re putting yourself in a better position to be listened to when it’s your turn to do the talking. It’s the golden rule, give what you want.

2). Know that you’re worth it: One of the biggest things that will hold you back from asking for what you want is you thinking that you’re not worth having your needs met. Sometimes, this is not even a conscious decision… but somewhere in your mind you don’t think you deserve to be asking for what you want. You feel you should just be okay with whatever you get — and nothing can be further away from the truth. You are worth it, you worth having your needs met and getting what you want.

3). Be clear on your needs: What is it that you really want? Be super clear on this. Clearly identify how the situation affects you, and what you hope to get out of the conversation. If you’re not sure of this, or are yet unclear, be humble enough to admit that you’re still trying to figure it out. Think about it, journal about it if needed, and don’t make assumptions. You might think that you want one thing, only to discover that you really wanted something else. So be patient while trying to work through these things.

4). Be clear & specific in your ask: Now that you’re clear with what you want, it’s time to be clear to your partner. He’s not a mind reader. Don’t send mixed messages, and don’t speak in codes that need to be deciphered. Your communication must be clear and specific. The classic example is: Rather than saying “I need you to help out more around the house”, you should instead say “I would appreciate if you did the dishes on weekends since I come back late on those days.” That way, everyone is clear and no one is guessing or trying to read the other person’s mind. Clear and specific, that’s the secret.

5). Be direct when you ask: Beating around the bush does not help anyone, and avoiding the topic is certainly not productive. Be direct in your asking, and don’t use too many words. If you beat around the bush and use too many words, your partner might lose track of what you are saying and miss the main thing you are asking for. Being direct does not imply that you should be mean to your partner or harsh in your tone, not at all. It simply means that you should go straight to the point so that your partner knows exactly what you’re talking about.

6). Be kind yet firm in your approach: Kindness is not weakness, and being kind to your partner does not mean that you become a doormat for them to walk over. Be kind when you talk. Be firm, but don’t use harsh words or an angry tone. You want the focus to be on what you’re saying, not someone picking up some poor attitude from your communication style.

7). Be considerate in your timing: A key component of asking for and getting what you want in your relationship is knowing when to ask. You don’t want to bring up a difficult conversation when she just got back home from a hard day of work. Neither do you want to do it during a heated argument. It has to be very calm and planned.

8). Be clear on your boundaries: What are your limits? What is your “or what?” moment? Be clear on what you can & can’t take when asking for what you want. What if your partner is not able or willing to meet your need, what do you do? Do you have other ways of meeting those needs without jeopardizing your relationship? Or is this a deal breaker for you? Having clarity on your boundaries is crucial to being able to ask for what you want.

9). Be willing to compromise: You will not always get what you want in life – whether that’s in your relationships, career, money, health, or other aspects of your life. Things will come up and unforeseen events will occur. And so while it is vital to clearly define your boundaries and identify topics that are non-negotiables for you, it’s also equally important to be clear on things you can be flexible about. When asking for what you want, keep an open mind and be willing to compromise on some things in order to also meet your partner’s needs.

10). Be vulnerable: Vulnerability in this case means being willing to open up and share things exactly how you see them, even if you get hurt in the process. Don’t hold back, don’t hide, don’t keep it in. Share in warmth and love.

11). Don’t attack your partner: Your partner may not even know what’s going on with you, or understand that you had these needs. Don’t attack them for “not caring about what I want”. Instead, tell them what it is you want. Be honest, firm and direct — but don’t attack them or accuse them of wrong intentions.

12). Practice the art of asking: Start small and try it with other people. It can be something as simple as asking for the coffee flavor you really want, rather than accepting the most popular recommendation from the person at the counter. You get better each time you do it. It’s very important to try it with other people so that you don’t experience the pressure and anxiety of trying to be perfect in your intimate relationship.

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