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Why we can’t always get what we want

Subtly and signals rarely work. Once, flashing a boyfriend my sexiest, come hither smile, he responded with, “What's wrong, you look alarmed?”

Neither are hints the way to go. I've often tried to hint my way out of some uncomfortable dynamic or unpleasant situation, hoping the other person will pick up on it and make a change.

Actual conversation:

Me: In the past I've really not dealt well with people who don't let me finish my …

Them: I know, isn't that annoying!

Internal conversation:

Me: Argh! Are you oblivious to my subtext? I mean YOU! Are you not reading my vibe that I'm so frustrated with you right now?

Them: Wow, we really have a lot in common. I think she really likes me.

Even polite suggestions can often get missed: “Um, do you think it might be OK if you maybe knocked before coming into my office?”

Next time they still barge in. OMG! Do I need to spell it out? Yes.

People are not mind readers. Even those closest, who we think should know us and telepathically interpret our every need and desire. Everybody has a different worldview: different rules and beliefs, their own agenda, expectations and experiences. They can't possibly know all that's going on in our mind at any given time or what we need from them … unless, of course, we ask.

This can be scary. But by not stating our needs, we risk harbouring resentment, which leads to anger and outbursts, or passive-aggressive behaviour and feelings of low self-worth … all resulting in potential relationship breakdown.

Some tips so even the timid can practice healthy dialogue:

• Choose a neutral time to discuss the topic rather than in the heat of the moment when you are already emotional about it. And learn to recognise your budding discomfort so you can address it before resentment builds.

• Take ownership of your feelings. Acknowledge these are your perceptions, but that you have a right to feel them. Owning our feelings looks like this: “I feel frustrated and unheard when you speak over me. I perceive that you don't care what I have to say.” In this instance we're stating our feelings rather than making accusations like: “You never listen to me!” which leads to defensiveness and conflict.

We could even ask for what we need. “Could you please let me finish my sentences? I would feel more listened to.”

In turn, we can practice not jumping to defensiveness when others are stating their needs. Wouldn't you rather know than not that you are upsetting someone with some behaviour? Therefore, isn't it fair to them to share your feelings rather than bottle them up against them?

We cannot make anyone do anything. We can't make someone change or fulfil our needs just by asking. But we can offer them the opportunity to try. Even if they choose not to adjust their behaviour, speaking our truth goes a long way to relieving unhealthy resentment. Not unlike the Rolling Stones suggest, we might not always get what we want, but if we ask sometimes, we can get what we need.

Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com

Honest communication: be open about what you want and you might just get what you need

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Published June 08, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 07, 2016 at 7:25 pm)

Why we can’t always get what we want

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