Making requests is NOT about getting what you want.
Making requests is about collaboration. More precisely, it is about building relationships. It is about turning to your friend, and engaging them in a creative process to support all needs, yours, theirs, and those who are impacted by your strategy, even those in future or far away places. (After all, you don’t want to walk away happily with your solution, if others suffer the consequences of your choices).
I believe it takes honesty and empathy to build relationships.
Honesty, so you can share your feelings and needs, and where you are coming from. Empathy, so you can listen wholeheartedly to what comes up for them as they hear more about your inner world.
Imagine a friends tells you -in a moment of disconnect- that you’re full of yourself.
That hit you unexpectedly hard. You wait with responding, till you received enough empathy for your pain. Then you invite your friend for tea. You remember Thich Nhat Hanh’s invitation to start with appreciation, so you start by telling your friend how she contributed to your needs. This first step immediately conveys you’re invested in the relationship, that you care about her, and that you’re talking about her behavior, not her as a person. It helps your friend to open up to your request for help, and not close down in anticipation of an attack on her as a person. This is about connecting, not criticizing.
The second step is sharing a regret, something you wished you had done differently. This shows you acknowledge you are in this relationship together, that you are co-responsible for the dynamic.
Then, finally: the request. Simply observation, feelings, needs. “When I heard you say I was full of myself, I felt hurt, upset and anxious. I want to be seen for my sincere intention and efforts to contribute to joy. I want acceptance and understanding when I fail to do so. What did you hear me say?”
I LOVE that question! Just checking how your message was heard. Did they hear blame? ‘I feel, because you did.’ Or did they hear self-responsibility? ‘I feel, because I need.’
The second question? “How does that land for you?”
After all, you want to build the relationship, so you want to understand what is going on for them, before you continue with a solution request. You want to establish connection, before you try to resolve the situation. You want to bring your relationship to the next level.
Honesty and empathy it is all you ever need.
You want help to be honest and empathic in your relationships? Contact me for a free, discovery session. I would be delighted to help, 512-589-0482.