How to ask for what you want

The trick about asking what you want is to move beyond emotionally manipulative forms like whining, groveling, begging, complaining or pleading. An emotionally mature person finds a way to ask for that they want in a way that is not only direct, it also respects the person being asked. An added dimension of successfully asking is to do so in a way that benefits both your own values and someone other than yourself.

Ask specifically. You need to define what you need, why you need it and when you need it. You also need to show what you plan to do with it once you get it.

Ask someone who can help you. Ask someone who has the resources to help you. Find someone who already has what you want and can serve as a model for getting what you want. Getting a sympathetic ear is great, but unless the sympathy comes with skill and experience, sympathy is all that you’ll get.

Create value for the person you are asking. Find a way that you can help them before you ask for their help. Or find someone you can help and benefit at the same time.

Ask as if you expect to get it. Ask from a place that it has already been given. Expect the yes to be a done deal. In order to do so, you will have to create enough faith in what you’re asking for and the merits of what you’re asking.

Ask until you can get what you want. Sometimes you’re asking the wrong person, and you need to find another person to ask. Other times, you simply need to change your approach. One of the most fundamental requirements for success is plain old dogged persistence.

Learning how to ask in a emotionally mature way will ensure that you communicate with other people that is free of manipulative behaviors. It also takes you out of a win—win frame of mind that usually ends with the askee feeling like a loser in a tug of war.


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