Have you ever wanted to ask for something... but felt too scared?

Oct 09, 2019

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

"I want to ask him, but he'll probably say no," she said, discouraged by the thought.

"Why do you think he'll say no?" I inquired.

"Because he has family here, his friends are here, all of his work connections are here and he is barely making ends meet, he just signed a new lease for an apartment... I have also only really known him for 2 months and I don't want to seem like a crazy person!"


I was speaking to a woman about a guy she likes. She was visiting her hometown for several weeks and had met up with an old crush she had been seeing right before she left. Turns out he is just as handsome, funny and thoughtful as she remembered him to be before she moved away to another country.

Their time together was coming to an end. She had only spent time with this guy for a total of less than two months, but she felt an intense connection. The idea of inviting him to join her overseas had crossed her mind...

And along with that thought, a slew of other thoughts commonly referred to as "considerations".

Considerations are all the reasons why you shouldn't attempt a goal; all the reasons why it is impossible.

Some common examples:
"I'll have to work twice as hard."
"I won't have time for my family."
"I could get hurt."
"I'd have to get up 2 hours early."
The list goes on...

Sound familiar? And there are two major points I want to hit home about considerations:
1. They are real considerations
2. Considerations aren't real

Yes, these considerations are very real for you. You have genuine concerns about putting yourself out there and possibly failing, missing out on something else, paying a price.

And it is equally important to remember: considerations aren't real. Considerations aren't based in physical time and space. You can't hold a consideration. You can't go for a walk with a consideration. They are intangible and invisible. They are made up and entirely in our heads! Especially the ones we come up with on behalf of other people.

All this said, it can still be scary to ask someone for something you really want.

Fortunately, there is an amazing communication technique I use to make difficult requests. Here is how it works:
1. Tell the person what you want
2. Say "I know that you..." and say all the considerations you have for yourself and on their behalf
3. Finish off by saying "But it's really important for me to ask you this. What do you think?"

For the woman in the example, this is what she ended up saying to him:

"Listen, I leave in 2 weeks and I really want you to come with me. And I'm really nervous about asking this of you because I know that you have family here, friends here, all your connections for work are here, you just got this new apartment... and I'm terrified to ask this of you because we haven't known each other that long and I don't want to seem like a crazy person! That said, I really want you to come. What do you think?" 

The magic of this communication technique is: when we name the consideration, we can make it disappear. By naming his friends, his family and his work connections, he was far less likely to make these focal points of the discussion. She was acknowledging those considerations, indicating that she understood those things might be there for him. She was effectively saying "Other than those things I listed, what else might be in the way?"

In the end... he said no. But it was not for any of the reasons that she had mentioned. For him, it wasn't about his friends, his family, his work, his apartment, and he didn't think she was crazy either. It was for other completely unforeseen considerations.

The request led to them both having a good discussion about some of the things that he was dealing with in his life -- a discussion that would not have happened had she not been vulnerable and asked.

So, who are you going to make a request of this week? Is there someone you've been avoiding asking a serious question to? What considerations have gotten in your way? Please comment and let me know!


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