FYI, Asking For What You Want Isn't A Bad Thing (& You Should Do It More Often)

You're out to eat and the server brings you the wrong drink, but you don't want to appear rude and ask for what you really wanted. Or maybe you've been in a class or in a meeting at work and you need something to be repeated, but you're afraid to ask and embarrass yourself. You know what you want, so why does it often feel so difficult to ask for it? This can be for a number of reasons. 


We're often scared of appearing needy and inconveniencing people. We're afraid of how people will respond based on how we've been treated in the past. We also don't want to embarrass ourselves. Whatever the reason may be, we tend to focus a lot on being kind to others, but in turn, we end up not being kind to ourselves. We assume that we're doing something bad when asking for what we want or asking for help, but this isn't true. 

Why it's okay to ask

Though it might feel uncomfortable, asking for what you want will open up opportunities as well as build up your confidence at work and in other aspects of your life. Maybe you've been at your company a long time but haven't received a promotion or raise, leaving you feeling unappreciated. You're afraid of what will happen if you ask, but if you don't try, how will you get what you want? By keeping your thoughts inside, you're selling yourself short and missing out on opportunities to better yourself. Speaking honestly and asking questions will show people that you trust them and are willing to open up to them, and remember, they can't fire you for simply asking a question.


Outside of the workplace, it's important to feel like we can ask our friends, families, and significant others for things. Whether it's asking for a certain boundary to be made or asking your partner to help you with something, it's okay to ask for your needs to be met. When we don't ask, it's likely that the people in our lives may not know otherwise. 

Why it's important to ask

The first thing to remember is that you aren't doing anything wrong by asking for something. It's not selfish or greedy to do so, especially when asking for help or for a need to be met. We tend to want to do things independently without asking for help, and we think we should take on everything by ourselves because people have their own things to deal with. But most of the time, people will be willing to help. It's important to lean on others around us, as we can't carry the weight on our shoulders alone.


In an interview with Shape, social psychologist Dr. Vanessa Bohns puts it eloquently, saying, "It's not about asking for something in the perfect way; it's about asking. It's not about saying things a certain way; it's about saying them, period." Even if you don't receive the answer you're hoping for, at least you put an effort forward to ask. Remember that most people will want to help you and grant your request as they see fit. The worst thing they can say is no.