· By Team PLEASE
It seems so simple right ? Just asking for what you want, is for the most part, is so much easier said than done. Especially when it comes to relationships and intimacy.
There are so many moments when we have absolutely no clue what it is that we want. But for the moments that we do know what we want, the times we’ve managed to identify the exact thing that we want, why is it so hard (for some of us) to ask for it?
When it comes to relationships, the problem really begins to snowball when that want continues to be unmet, it will undoubtedly lead to a strain, tension, resentment, possibly resentment, all the things you want to try and steer clear of if you’re looking for a handsome and healthy partnership. Which is a perfect reason to act as fast as possible when these needs creep up. Ask for what you want! But how?
A lot of questions come to mind when considering how to ask for what you want.
How can I be honest but not harsh? How can I be clear but not confrontational? How do I ask without it sounding like a complaint?
Yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable. But what’s 5 minutes of a yucky feeling conversation as opposed to years of not having what you deserve?
Right! Now to that we’re done with the hows, let’s move onto the how to’s.
How do we navigate this chat? So I’ve done some research and it lead me to this incredible article that frames it all some beautifully it into 5 easy steps :
- Branch - as in an olive branch
- Label your feelings
- Open up
- Own it
- Make it specific
BLOOM! Not only is this the cutest acronym, but it’s intended to give structure to what might feel like a disorienting conversation. And not just any structure—a structure that allows you to forge connections, name your needs, honour their agency, and invite collaboration.
Alright so let’s run through this BLOOM chat.
B. The Olive Branch. Think of this as a way to invite someone into the conversation, either by helping them feel seen in some way or at least giving them a reason to engage with you. Keep it simple and, most importantly, sincere.
L. Label the feeling. Tell your partner how you feel, as clearly as you can. This might be more of a direct style of communication than you're used to, but it's really important in the interest of clarity and understanding. Remember that using “I” language is a better approach than accusatory “you” language.
O. Open up. This could mean opening up in a more vulnerable way, or it could mean figuratively ‘opening the rest of the story’ to shed more light on the full picture of what's happening below the surface.
O. Own your ask. This is about sharing what you want or need moving forward, as clearly as you can. And while it might feel counterintuitive, painting them a clear picture of what they can do to better meet your needs is actually an act of kindness!
M. Make it specific. The clearer you can be about what you want or need, the better! And examples can really help fill in those gaps.
Now that BLOOM has helped you start the yucky chat, it's important to remember that this is a conversation, dialogue needs to continue from here.
So once you’ve gotten through your BLOOM steps, check in. And just be aware that you have just done a lot of talking and maybe they need time to process before responding. Give them the space and option for this.
A word of both warning and encouragement: it will take time to feel comfortable with this approach. But you’ll get there and really make it your own. You’ll most likely experience some setback or moment of it not going according to plan but that’s ok.
Like with most things, it takes practice and patience. You’ll only continue to learn and grow and understand one another and that is so much more meaningful than having a ’perfect’ outcome in any relationship or interaction.
You'll find your way, and find new ways of showing up in conversation that feel right and authentic to you eventually.
Some other things to keep in mind as you’re preparing to ask for what you need in a relationship
Set the scene for success
Set and setting am I right? Where are you having this conversation, physically and when, emotionally. Choose your timing wisely.
Then, when you do sit down to start this conversation, it can be helpful to set clear expectations up front. Don’t be afraid to ask directly for the chance to say what you need and to say it uninterrupted, if that’s what you need.
Also, being mindful of consent is an important part of the equation. Depending on the specifics of your situation, rather than blindsiding someone or catching them off guard, I'd suggest starting things off with something simple like "do you have a minute to talk about something that's been on my mind?" or "is this a good time to chat about XYZ?"
The more you practise bringing up uncomfortable topics, the more you’ll build up that muscle! Like most things, it gets easier with time and repetition.
Experiment + Play
We suggest using these steps as a guide rather than hard rules. Trust your gut if you feel like you want to play with the phrasing, or move things around a bit, etc.
Focus on What’s Yours to Control
Keep in mind: we can’t control how others react to what we say. All we can do is approach these conversations using the timing, tone, mindset, and language that we understand to be respectful. Beyond that, it’s best to release expectations.
So with that, we hope that this has helped you in some way or form whether it’s asking for what you want in a relationship, with a friend or even a co-worker.
You deserve it.