Relationships 101 – Getting what you want by asking for what you need

By Christina Bianchini

Asking directly for what you need is an important skill in healthy relationships. Too often we expect our partner to know what we need, leading to disappointment and resentment.

If asking for what you need is difficult for you, here is a simple formula.

I Feel…

Start with how you are really feeling. How we react emotionally may not always be what we are feeling inside. I might shout and scream at my partner when really I’m hurt, sad, scared or lonely.

When…… happens, I start to think….

Let your partner know what meaning your mind assigns to this particular behaviour or situation. Our thoughts can sometimes create problems that weren’t even there to begin with.

What I need is….

What is it you need from your partner? Is it reassurance? A hug? Maybe it’s to be acknowledged and appreciated for your efforts?

Here is what it might sound like put together.

“I feel hurt and frustrated when you leave your dishes on the counter. When I see that cup sitting there I assume that you expect me to clean it. I start to think that you don’t care about me or what’s important to me. I need to know that my feelings matter and that I am important to you.”

Most partners want to do better, they just don’t know how to meet their partner’s needs. Stating your needs directly increases your chances of actually getting what you want

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