Key 65. Tell the person what you want.

When I say, ‘Tell the person what you want,’ I’m not so much referring to objects or holidays, I’m referring more to the compromises we make in life. If you want a tidier room, tell the person. If you want them to stay home more often, tell them.

Don’t expect to get what you want, but stating your desire improves your chance of getting it, and it also means the other person doesn’t have to guess. One big communication problem many people have is that they expect other people to know what they want.

Don’t let them guess, tell them. Let them feel comfortable in the relationship. They have different priorities, opinions, needs and values to you, and could well miss what seems to you obvious. By telling them what you want you could avoid bewilderment on their part, and disappointment and resentment on your part.

Even if you don’t get what you want, you will know where you stand. You won’t have to spend time giving hints, or hoping your needs will be identified, and met. You can focus on what to do next.

Your wants don’t always have to be for yourself. You might say to your companion, ‘I would like you to have . . .’

The important thing is: don’t let the other person figure it out for themselves. Identify precisely what you want, and tell them.

Q. ‘Do we also tell our partner what we don’t want?’
Of course. In sex, for example. On that: I feel disheartened when I am reminded of how many young people are learning about sex from watching pornography. Apparently, many men now expect their female partners to engage in sex acts she has no interest in. And when she refuses to comply, the man is bewildered as to why. (After all, in the videos the women are so keen!) Or, he complains. Or, he feels insecure. Whatever the case, it’s a problem for many young men and women.

Just as bad: I have been told by women that they agree to undergo those sex acts, but only because they feel obliged to.

I bet it’s vice-versa, too.

My hope is that both sexes develop the assertiveness skills explained elsewhere, AND that they clearly explain what they want and don’t want in their relationship.

(If they insist on watching pornography, I hope they realise it’s no more real than professional wrestling.)

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