There is a big difference between knowing what you want and asking for it. There is also an important distinction between asking and hinting. Unfortunately, many of us were raised in a culture that encouraged us to be less than direct about what it is we’d like to occur. I talk with many women who aren’t getting what they need or want and aren’t quite sure how to ask for it.
Interestingly, many women are able to be direct and assertive in their professional lives but find they stumble and feel uncomfortable when asking to have their personal needs met. I also hear from a lot of women who feel frustrated that their requests and needs aren’t being met even though they believe they are stating them clearly. They can’t understand what is going wrong.
After writing a recent article about the importance of clearly stating wants and needs, I noticed some areas in my own life where I wasn’t really hitting the mark with this. I also found some places where I initially believed I was being perfectly direct, but on further reflection, I realized I wasn’t getting my point across at all. And (big surprise), I was feeling frustrated with how things were going in those particular areas.
I’m making a concerted effort to practice really stating my wishes clearly. Here are some pointers you might want to consider if your asking muscles need strengthening:
1. Being dissatisfied doesn’t mean you have clarity about what you want. I can know I don’t like something and I can express my unhappiness with it, but if I haven’t taken the time to create a clear picture of what I DO want, the information isn’t necessarily going to lead to a better outcome.
2. Expressing dissatisfaction is not the same as stating how you would like something to be. There is a HUGE difference between complaining and describing the outcome you want. If we aren’t clear on this difference and aren’t careful, we (yes, I’m including myself here) can fall into the trap of expressing what we don’t like and might never clearly describe what we want instead.
3. Directness and clarity are very important.