How to Correctly Ask a Man for What You Want



For the past two weeks, I have been listening to John Gray’s audio book.

I was very excited to get this audio book especially after seeing John Gray live at the Seminar of the Century. He was extremely funny, insightful and I was truly impressed by how knowledgeable he is on the nature of relationship between men and women.

As I was running with my iPod this morning, John talked about the art of asking and tips on how to ask a man for what you want.

I believe by understanding how the opposite sex communicates it will not only help your personal relationship, but also your professional ones. After all, it is not about what you ask for, but how you ask for what you want. The better you understand your audience, the easier you can get your point across.

Here are five tips from John’s for women when communicating with men:

1.      Appropriate Timing

Don’t ask a man for something that he is already planning to do. Timing is very crucial for men. Men don’t like to be told what to do. If a man is focused on something, don’t expect him to immediately respond to your request.

2.      Non Demanding Attitude

Ask for what you want, but don’t demand for what you want. Men like to feel appreciated. If you ask in a demanding attitude, men will feel unappreciated for what he is already given and probably say no.

3.      Be Brief

Avoid giving reasons why a man should help you. The longer you explain yourself, the more he will resist. Your long explanation will make him feel you don’t trust him. Trust is very important to men. Be brief with your request and practice trusting that he will do if he can.

4.      Be Direct

Don’t expect a man to naturally notice your need. Don’t just talk about the problem and expect the man to take action. You need to directly ask for his support. An indirect request makes him feel being taking for granted or unappreciated. If you have a man sensitive enough to pick up on the clues, lucky you, but for most it’s probably better to be direct.  There’s no point in expecting your man to be ultra-sensitive, then being disappointed when he doesn’t understand what you really want.  Just ask for it.

 5.      Use Correct Wording

Instead of using “could you”, “can you”, “would you like” or “do you want to”, use “would you” or “will you” to directly ask for what you want from men. Men are very different from women. A woman would naturally offer help and support when she sees there is a need. Men do not do that. When you ask “Can you clean the dishes”, a man may answer “Of course I can”. Just because he says yes and has the ability to do so doesn’t mean he is committed to do so. Use “Would you clean the dishes” instead to gain his commitment.

Think About This…

For Women Is your style of communication getting through to your male friends, coworker or partners?

For Men Do you agree with what John Gray recommends?

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11 Responses to “How to Correctly Ask a Man for What You Want”

  1. on 21 Aug 2007 at 5:42 am

    “For Men Do you agree with what John Gray recommends?”As a man, I kinda agree… but with the following reservation about this type of advice:

    Suppose we turn all those points to their opposites, do we get the way to communicate with woman? For instance, should we use inappropriate timing and a demanding attitude?

    If not, then the advice holds true for all. In that case, the author is closer to saying that this advice is applicable in general, but more important in the case of men.

    When re-stated that way, I cannot say I either agree or disagree.

  2. Derrin on 21 Aug 2007 at 9:12 am

    I agree w some of the principles, every man is diffrent, I’m not big on much of his advice after reading that his exwife was relationship guru, Barbara Deangelis.That makes one skeptical of anything he or she may give as advice since its incongruent w a quality relationship. Practice what you preach as they say! Gary Smalley, I been told is a better counselor in this area .

  3. Martian Observer on 21 Aug 2007 at 9:17 am

    I agree with Gray’s recommendations, and I think this advice can be leveraged in other situations that aren’t gender constrained.

    3) Be Brief - Recognize that the recipient of the request will be sharing their time with you and may have their own way of getting the job done. Respect the other person’s time by communicating the necessities and then getting out of the way. If you want it done your way, do it yourself.

    4) Be Direct - Acknowledge that you are making a request of someone else and will show reciprocity at some later point. Though we can all predict that the statement “it’s cold in here” may be a request to turn the heat up, the situation lacks clarity and assumes a history of fulfilled reciprocity. It is the responsibility of the requester to ensure the communication is successful.

    5) Use Correct Wording - This is a subcategory of being direct. Good, functional people will not act based on a simple question of possibility except under conditions of exceptional trust. Being sloppy with language just puts a greater burden on the other party.

  4. John Doe on 22 Aug 2007 at 7:39 pm

    A woman would naturally offer help and support when she sees there is a need. Men do not do that.

    Oh WOW. Misandric much? This has to do with personality types, not gender.

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