Anatomy of a Request

Anatomy of a Request

In my blog post about bluffing, I mentioned that you can use requests instead of setting boundaries. This is best when you want a very specific outcome.

So how do you make a request? It seems easy, but then the boogeyman shows up and we all get shy. What’s the boogeyman? no

The word NO! Most of us are terrified of the word no, and a direct request has a 50/50 chance of reaping the terrifying rejection of NO. But you can avoid making a yes or no request. I’ll use my tired example of picking up dirty clothes and putting them in the hamper again.

Bad request: “Honey, why can’t you ever put your clothes in the hamper?” (nagging, implies that husband is incompetent, accusatory)
Good request: “Honey, are you willing to put your dirty clothes in the hamper?” (Still risks the dreaded no).
Great request: “Honey, I dislike seeing your dirty clothes on the floor. How can we resolve this together?”

The great request is a reminder of your partnership. It acknowledges the owner of the problem (me), and asks for assistance in solving it.
How do you make a great request?

  • Own your responsibility: you want a specific outcome and you are requesting it
  • Avoid yes/no questions
  • Ask your partner to be part of a solution, rather than obey a command or accede to a request

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