Making Your Needs Known: The Importance of Asking for What You Want

A wise man once said, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. One of the saddest things in life is to look back and say, ‘I wish I had…’” That wise man was my father.

When you expect others to instinctively know what you need, you often set yourself up for disappointment. While there is no way to guarantee that you will receive what you want, the chance that you will is much greater if you ask directly. Asking creates the opportunity to have your specific needs met. It also gives the other person an opportunity to give you a meaningful gift.

Asking does not diminish the act of kindness. Voicing your needs also sends an important message to those who sincerely want to support you. It is OK not to know exactly what you want, too. In those instances, someone’s quiet presence can be most meaningful.

rectangle box with three photos. One with woman alone, 2nd with husband holding her smiling for the camera and the third image couple looking at each other.

Your partner or caretaker also feels helpless to know how to best be available and cannot anticipate your needs. Make it a win-win situation, and promote the bonds between you by making those needs clear. Some of the greatest misunderstandings come from unrealistic expectations of others and a lack of communication. One of the spouses in the Men’s Breakfast meeting often says, “learn to be a better listener.” It’s just as important to learn to be a better speaker, too.

Photo of new sprout in surrounding rocks.

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