For some people there appears to be a reluctance to ask for what they want. Will they be viewed as demanding? Perhaps they will appear greedy. Maybe they are not used to having their wants and needs taken into account or they could have grown up in a manipulative household where no one revealed their real agenda. A lack of confidence can also influence whether or not we think we “deserve” to get what we want.

Asking for what you want from any situation makes life much simpler. However, in order to do this you need to know what it is you want and what your limits are. For instance, you may want to see a particular film. You friend wants to see something else. You need to decide for yourself whether you only want to see your film or whether you’re happy enough to state your preference but would compromise and see their film or alternatively you would rather see a different film altogether or none at all! You need to go into negotiations knowing what you want and what your compromises might be. The best negotiators have thought about what they want and the outcomes they are prepared to accept long before discussions take place.

Also, it is important to have an idea of your own boundaries. These are things you could never agree to and compromises you will never make. If you have grown up having your needs and desires ignored you will need to decide what your personal boundaries are. We all have a “discomfort meter” and you will need to tune into yours, particularly if this was overridden as a child. Parents who tell their children what to feel or think have usually decommissioned this useful indicator. Believing in your own value and the right to state your preferences is also important in this process. Each individual has a differing agenda and differing needs. We have the right to state what these are to others but not necessarily the right to have these accommodated.

For instance, if you are employed under contract to carry out certain tasks and duties it is not okay for either party to suddenly change the terms of the contract. Sure, you can state that your feelings or expectations have changed but your employer is not bound to take heed. They may want to change your hours or duties – you are not bound to accept this if you have a contract stating otherwise. You may then want to negotiate a situation where both of you get something that you want; maybe you change your hours for more pay. If that’s not acceptable you may decide to leave – that’s your right. However, I suggest, that in most situations stating what you want and then negotiating to suit all parties is the best possible course of action.

Contrary to popular belief, stating what you want is much more straightforward for others, too. It is not just self-serving, it serves everyone involved. People know what your requirements are and if they, too, are honest you can come to an agreement much more quickly. When everyone is hedging and not saying what they want, the outcome is general unsatisfactory for everyone. Being direct does have some negative consequences. Manipulative people will not like your behavior nor will controlling people. You take away their power when you state your wants and needs. However part of becoming a fully integrated adult is to accept that there are some people you will never appeal to.

People who are naturally more reserved will find it harder to be direct but I would encourage this behavior by suggesting you start small with people you trust. Maybe let a family member you trust know what you would like to do on your birthday. Maybe let a trusted friend know that you’d like them to accompanying you to a doctor’s appointment. Often people are floundering to accommodate you as they don’t know what it is you want. There are no telepathic humans. In order to get what you need you must say what it is; I cannot emphasize this enough. Introverts find this harder to do and as a consequence can build up a store of resentment which will negatively affect them, not realizing that if people knew what they wanted they would often get it!

So, to sum up, I am not saying that you should always try and get your own way. This is simply not reasonable in any relationship, whether business or personal. However it is perfectly acceptable to state what you want, what you will never do/say/agree to and to go from there, negotiating towards a mutually satisfactory outcome. Ask for what you want and you may be surprised at how often you get it.

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