The line between stating needs and making requests is fine. It’s easy to confuse the two; things that fall under the “It’d be nice if…” umbrella get categorized in our minds so often as necessary.
I need a vacation. I’d like to go on a vacation.
I need to get my car washed. I want to get my car washed.
I need to see that cat video. I love cats, show me the video!
I need to eat lunch. I need to drink some water. I need to use the restroom. Those are needs.
I like the sentiment “state your needs,” and would like to see “make a request” used more when it’s appropriate. When we step over the line from stating needs to making requests, something significant happens. We must value ourselves to own the request. Now that the request is more than a basic need (what jerk denies a basic need?), we find ourselves on the cliff of vulnerability. We’re scared to be pushed off with “no” so maybe we veil our requests in statements of need.
I need to know if you’ll be there. Will you be there?
I need you to reply to my text. I’d like you to reply to my text.
I need you to complete this report. Please complete this report.
I need you to go to the grocery store. Please go to the grocery store.
I need you to take out the trash. Please take out the trash.
Or in some cases we try to offload the ownership completely.
Do you want to complete this report?
Do you want to go to the grocery store?
Do you want to take out the trash?
This is one of my biggest pet peeves and sometimes when someone drops one of these on me and I feel surly I reply with a flat “no.”
Let’s be brave and practice making requests. This month’s Friday posts will focus on making requests in various areas of life. Comment below if you would like to request a specific topic be included (e.g. communication style/amount, support, advice, boundaries, workplace, solitude time, change…).