If “no” is not an option then it’s not a request no matter how nicely asked.  Sometimes a request is not really a request–it’s an order.  It may be worded as a request but “no” is never an option–therefore it’s not really a request.  When we “ask” our children to complete a chore–is “no” an option?  When we “ask” for a favor, do we get mad if the favor is not given?  If our supervisor at works “asks” us to complete an extra assignment can we really decline?  Expecting the opposite of what you say is incredibly confusing and does give mixed message.  Some people–myself included–are not as skilled at “reading between the lines” and therefore are taken by surprise when we respond to a request or question based on the actual words instead of the hidden meaning.  It really is better to ask for what you want and avoid using misleading words or “beating around the bush”.  If “no” is not an option then ask in a way the makes it clear what your expectations are.  Simply putting a direct order or expectation in a polite request form does not make it a polite request.  People will sometimes comply however the roundabout way of communication is a form of manipulation or exploitation if you have authority over the person you are “asking” or if there are negative consequences if the request is denied.  A relationship will not thrive without freedom of choice, respectful interaction, and a mutual power base.  Sure, we have to comply with our bosses “requests” but we would have more respect for them if they were honest about the lack of real choice in compliance.  The same is true for our other relationships.  Our child does not have the true ability to decline a “request” to empty the trash.  Wouldn’t it be better if we acknowledged the fact upfront?  There are times when choice is not relevant so why pretend it is?  The more direct and clear communication is then the greater chance there will be of developing meaningful, solid relationships–relationships based on real interactions not manipulated ones.


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