Tell People What You Want

Sep 19, 2014 by

          “It’s amazing the difference it makes when you tell someone what you want,” said one of two girlfriends I met for lunch yesterday.

          “That is excellent dating advice,” I replied.

          “Put it in the blog! Put it in the blog! Put it in the blog!” both girls shouted in unison.




          I learned years ago that there is no use lying about what you want to obtain someone else’s interest. At midnight on my 18th birthday, I cried. My laptop struck twelve, my best friend/roommate excitedly wished me a happy birthday, and I burst into tears. I sobbed that I was old (insert my present self’s laughter here), but I was specifically upset because I was old for never having had a boyfriend. (I wish 24-year-old me could sit down with that chick and say, “Girl, you’ve got at least six more years of being single to go. Don’t waste your tears now! P.S. Age 18 is going to be one of your favs.”) Clearly, I wanted a relationship. Yet, I can distinctly remember telling a guy that year that I wasn’t looking for one, because he wasn’t looking for one. I hoped complying with his wants would hold his interest long enough to allow me the opportunity (insert more present-day laughter) to go out with him. I thought he might change his mind if he liked me enough. (Ironically, I turned out to be profoundly uninterested in him – not just in terms of relationship potential, which he didn’t possess, but as a person. Talking to him felt like an exercise in staying awake. Today, I wouldn’t go out with him again for money. Then, my standards stopped at hot, so I put up with his barely-there personality for a few make-out sessions and the loss my virginity. Why yes, I am talking about Vanilla.)

          Sometime between then and my twenties, I decided that I was going to be straightforward. I wasn’t going to compromise what I want for any guy. So, when I began dating last year, I made it crystal clear to every guy I went on a date with that I was looking for a relationship. I didn’t necessarily want a relationship with any one of them specifically, but I clarified that I was looking for one in general. That way, I could immediately eliminate the guys that weren’t. I was not going to bother becoming emotionally invested in anyone that didn’t want what I wanted. In retrospect, I didn’t need to worry about that; I didn’t become emotionally invested in any of my dates at all. But that’s beside the point. Because I was vocal about wanting a relationship, I found guys that also wanted relationships. I didn’t find one that I wanted a relationship with, but I found guys that wanted what I wanted, a fundamental dating requirement.

          Friends, there is no need to convince people to be interested in you by bending to their wants. Someone wanting what you want is non-negotiable in any relationship, including platonic ones. Relationships must be mutually beneficial. Sacrificing your needs for someone else’s doesn’t make either person happy. You won’t get what you want, and the other person is left in the unfair position of not knowing what you want. You need to communicate, and you need to do so honestly.

Happiness Tip: Be straightforward.

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