I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about life’s many challenges, and as I offered to do a thing for this person that might have made a challenge just a tad less challenging, the response was, “I can’t ask you to do that.” I thought about this conversation later, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me in that moment, but what I should have said was, “Of course you can!”
I hereby grant you (and you, and you, and YOU) permission to ask for what you need in this life. Hell, you can even ask for what you want. I’ll even tell you that it’s okay to ask for things that you just kind of think might be a bit nice. You have that right, 100%. We all do.
Now, we must remember, the other person also has every right to say no. They have the right to refuse your request, at any time, for any reason. If we are willing to accept that possible outcome, that the person we’re making a request of might not grant the request, then of course, you can ask for anything.
My most authentic and fulfilling relationships are with people who tell me no sometimes. I love a friendship where it’s perfectly okay for me to say, “No, I can’t do that.” It’s even okay for me to say, “No, I don’t want to do that.” It’s even fine if, after previously saying I would do a thing, later I decide, “Nope, I don’t feel like it right now.” Maybe I’m too tired. Maybe I don’t feel well. Maybe I’ve had more than my fill of people for one day. Maybe I just really want to sit on my couch with my glasses on and my bra off.
Doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Doesn’t mean I won’t want to spend time with you another day. Doesn’t mean you’re not a fabulous person.
In a relationship where both people are free to do or not do what best serves them at any given moment, all interactions are 100% authentic. If I’m with you and doing this thing, it’s because right there, right then, doing that very thing is exactly where I want to be. And I love it when I know the other person feels the same.
That’s real. That’s not about obligation. That’s not about sucking it up and following through on a commitment. (Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place for that as well.)
Part of being real is being able to honestly ask for what you need or want. Want me to help you paint your house? Ask. Want me to drive two hours just to give you a hug? Ask. Want me to pop that huge zit on your back? Ask. Want me to work late so you can leave and take your cat to the vet? Ask.
I might say no. But you certainly have every right to ask. And I plan to ask you when I need something.