Make It A Request (Couples may find this helpful)

 In Blog, Effective Dialogue, Satisfying Relationships

(Time to read: ~2 minutes)

“Glenda would you be willing to help me set up for my garage sale?”

 “John, would you be willing to drop me at the library?”

 When asking something of another person, I have found it so helpful to make it a request as defined by NVC.

 What is a request?

It is something I’m wiling to which I’m willing to peacefully hear the answer “no” – without judging, criticizing or “shoulding” the other person or myself.

(e.g., Not thinking “if they really loved me, they would do this for me” or “I shouldn’t have asked”)

What does it take to peacefully hear a “no” to something we’d really appreciate someone else doing for us?

  1. I need to be aware that every person has the right to choose for themselves in every moment how they use their time, energy, and other resources (e.g., money).

  2. I need to be aware that, even if someone made an agreement in the past to do something, things may have changed and they may no longer be willing or able to do that.

  3. I need to be aware of the cost I pay when someone does something for me that they don’t really want to do. They almost certainly will resent it, so it undermines our connection and makes them less willing to say “yes” to things I ask in the future.
    One of the core principles of NVC is that I never want anyone to do anything for me that they are not doing with “the joy of a child feeding a hungry duck”. (Can you see that joy on my face in this picture after I willingly helped a friend set up for her garage sale?)

  4. Perhaps most important of all, I need to trust that my needs can and will be met – that I’ll find other strategies for meeting my needs if this one doesn’t happen.

Building Trust that My Needs Will be Met

In building this trust in my own life, I’ve found it helpful to remember:

  1. It is my responsibility to find ways to meet my needs – it’s not anyone else’s job..

  2. This is an abundant universe – there are many ways to get my needs met.
    This is especially easy to see when I’m clear what my real needs are – as opposed to my preferred strategies.


The next time you ask someone to do something, notice if you are ready to peacefully hear “no”.

If not, what would it take for you to get there?

I’ll be doing this experiment too. 🙂

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Would you like to build skill in making requests, being willing to hear “no”, and building trust that you can

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