By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“I don’t want to pressure him.”
“I don’t want to be perceived as pushy.”
“I don’t want to look weak or demanding.”
I don’t want to risk losing the man or the job or my independence. So, I’m not going to ask.
I’ve said all of those things at some point in my life and I’m guessing you have too. However, the reality is, failing to ask for what you want is often setting yourself up for not getting what you want. As simple as that sounds, for a woman, it’s not that simple at all.
Women are uniquely programmed to avoid asking for what they want for too many reasons to count. It’s vulnerable. Fear of rejection is a very real thing. People should just know what you want – why should you have to ask? Right??
You can’t get upset you didn’t get what you didn’t ask for.
Asking for what you want is a special kind of magic that tends to unlock a lot of doors. It’s a sacred right/rite to ask. It’s powerful medicine in the life a woman that makes her more powerful the more liberally she exercises advocating for her needs and desires.
I am a big fan of asking early and often for big and small things. Learning the art of asking without attachment to getting anything, for everything you desire is a powerful skill to master. Fortune tends to favor those who ask. The Universe is always answering – you may as well ask for what you want.
However, mastering the art of the ask in these four places is crucially important:
1. Ask for clarity or a commitment in a relationship.
I cannot tell you how often I hear a woman say, “I don’t want to pressure him.”
And let me be clear, your dinner conversation on your second date is probably not the time to have the commitment conversation. However, a conversation over dinner three months into dating is probably past time. Many women will find themselves six months in still afraid to have the talk.
If you’re afraid to get clarity about where you’re at with someone you’re seeing because you don’t want to seem pushy, chances of you getting what you’re looking for are shrinking by the day. If you are dating someone you’re into, you literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being vulnerable enough to ask the important questions.
There is no magic script that makes this conversation easier. Straight to the point is usually the only way to get it done. “I am really enjoying the time we’re spending together. I like you a lot. I’m asking myself questions I don’t know the answers to, so I’m going to ask you because I’d like what we’re doing here to develop into something with some staying power. Do you consider us a couple?”
Being in a situationship when you want to be in a relationship is like voluntarily swimming in dangerous emotional waters. If the question is up for you and you’re not asking it, you have nothing to gain by being too easy going in an effort not to scare someone off.
The man you’re looking for isn’t going to scare that easy.
2. Ask for a promotion or getting paid what you’re worth.
For every dollar men make in the workplace, women make 80.5 cents. For women of color that margin is even less equitable. There are a lot of supposed reasons that make no sense for that gap. However, one of those reasons is women are way less likely to ask for more.
When a man is hired for a job he is much more likely to see the salary or wage is offered as a starting place for negotiations where a woman is just happy to get hired and takes what she’s offered. Women are substantially more likely to take a promotion in title with more responsibility and no increase in pay than men are. Women are also much more likely to look for a new job when they need more money vs. staying where they are and asking for a raise.
If you’re not getting paid what you’re worth or being offered what you should be, there is exactly zero harm in asking for more. The worst that will happen is someone will say no. Chances are very high, you’ll get what you’re asking for because happy employees are a valuable commodity and employers know that.
The easiest way to make that ask is to do some market research and find someone somewhere who’s getting paid what you want to get paid – then ask for more than that.
“I’ve been doing some research and I believe given my experience and expertise my salary is under the market rate. I really value this job so I’m hoping you will consider an increase to ________.”
Ask without apology and you might just be surprised how valuable you are.
3. Ask for proper care or treatment.
Women are expected to be polite. We’re programmed to be congenial. No one wants to be perceived as being a bitch. However, being perpetually agreeable can be life-threatening.
Women are chronically misdiagnosed by doctors who write off their symptoms for anxiety or stress when men are taken much more seriously when they talk to medical providers about their issues. Women are less likely to question the “wisdom” of a medical provider even when their gut tells them something else is going on and the cost of that “appropriateness” can be a very big deal.
It’s not just doctors. It happens when you take your car to a mechanic or when you’re getting buying an appliance for your house and you know it does. Almost everyone woman has recruited a man to accompany her to buy something or get something fixed because they want to be treated the way men get treated.
When you are getting any kind of medical care or paying money for a professional service, ask for what you want and if you don’t get it the way you want it, demand it. If that doesn’t get you what you’re looking for, go somewhere else because the stakes can be very high when you decide to be a nice girl and your needs aren’t met.
A lot of professionals don’t like to be questioned or confronted. However, if they can’t hear you when you ask, they aren’t in it for you. Be absolutely direct. “You know, I feel like you aren’t taking my symptoms seriously and maybe that’s because you don’t live in my body, but I do. I’m asking you to do some tests to rule out other possibilities before we settle on any diagnosis.”
It’s that simple. Being direct might save you money and it might save your life.
4. Ask for help in an emergency.
I recently talked to a woman who refused the help of two men when changing her flat tire in front of her office because she didn’t want to look like she couldn’t do it. And hey, if you want to be down on your knees in a dress and heels in the pouring rain wrangling a jack and a tire iron, I guess that’s your prerogative. That’s an optional kind of saving face.
However, what’s not optional is not asking someone to walk you to your car when some creeper has been staring at you all through dinner at a restaurant. It’s also not optional to ask the bartender to call you an Uber when your blind date with hopefully Mr. Right starts going rapidly south and you want to slip out the backdoor.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard women tell stories where their intuition told them they were in danger and they ignored it because they didn’t want to look hysterical or irrational and then things took an irrevocably dark turn for the worst.
I recently had a woman I’d never met ask me to sit with her at the bus stop after work because she’d fired an employee that day and felt very uneasy. I was happy to do it. I didn’t think she was crazy. I gave her six minutes of my day and felt good about it because I’ve felt the way she did. We all have.
If you find yourself in danger or if you’re feeling like you might be, even if everything “seems” fine but your gut is telling you otherwise, ask for help, on the spot, without hesitation.
You have everything to lose for not asking when your intuition tells you your safety is at risk. The thing about intuition in situations like that is we rarely know it was right unless we ignore it – and that’s ok. Ask anyway.
More by Lisa:
Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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