And they're all pretty simple!
Do you ever wish you could just say what’s on your mind?
You know, blurt out those screaming little words running around in your head that say, “It’s my turn to speak!”
Or, “I want to give you a piece of my mind.”
Guess, what? You can! You have the power to say what you want, share your innermost feelings and discuss your valid concerns — all while getting what you want at the same time.
You’re probably thinking this is just some gimmick or magical spell, but it’s not. It’s the farthest thing from it.
When you first started talking, you had to ask caregivers for things you needed, like tasty food, cold, crisp water, money for doing chores, awesome new clothes, weekend slumber parties ... and you didn’t think twice about asking, right?
When you did request something, you most likely received it because your caregivers wanted you to have your needs met. Many of the items you asked for were basic requirements we all have in order to thrive happily and healthy. But there were also some things you wanted but didn't need to stay alive and functioning.
The same concepts apply when it comes to getting both what you need and what you want in your relationships.
Using your voice as a survival mechanism helps you navigate your emotions. Its sole purpose is to guide you when you begin dating — and potentially falling in love with — a new person. You have a right to ask for the things you need for fulfillment, growth, and healthy overall functioning. Your voice is a gift you share with a partner so the two of you connect deeply and unite as a team.
From the moment you meet someone, you owe it to yourself to ask for the things you need.
These needs are based on your own personal set of dating values and goals. These aren't materialistic items, tropical vacations, or luxurious living arrangements. Your dating values are those things you need to thrive within a healthy intimate relationship.
Examples of dating values you may hold include:
- Interdependence balanced with independence
- Quality time
- Unconditional support
- Family involvement
- Commitment to growth
As you begin exploring a relationship with someone new, it’s imperative that you communicate your needs along the way.
To make sure you are being honest and truthful with yourself, you need to trust your ability to make healthy decisions by not letting violations of your own set of values fall through the cracks. If you keep dating only "bad boys" or "bad girls," you are likely thinking only about what they want, while neglecting your own needs. Because of this, you keep getting hurt over and over again, bouncing from one heartbreak to the next.
That’s why you must allow your dating values to guide you toward getting what you need and what you want.
Here are 5 steps you must take in order to communicate your needs to yourself and your partner:
1. Connect to your values.
The only way to get your needs met every day is to operate from a place of inner confidence is based on your values. You can start doing this by deciding what you value in a relationship.
If you don’t know what your needs are for a fulfilling relationship, create a personal dating survival list that defines your relationship values. When you do this fun exercise, your confidence will naturally increase in your dating approach because you are setting personal boundaries for yourself.
The first step to connecting with someone else is knowing who you are. So when you meet your next partner and feel unsure about your connection, this guide will take you to a healthy decision to either keep dating or move on. The better you understand yourself, the stronger your results will be.
(Note: this is not a checklist, it’s a guide based on your values, emotions, needs, and experiences to make better decisions).
2. Communicate in a calm tone of voice.
If you are upset because your needs aren’t being met, then find a safe haven. Stepping away from a situation that feels unsafe gives you the ability to take responsibility for your feelings before communicating your needs.
- “Is this person being disrespectful and untrustworthy?”
- “Am I upset because I’m not getting my way or my needs met?”
- “Have my personal boundaries been pushed outside my comfort zone?”
When you take time to reflect on your emotions, you can understand what led to your pain and suffering based on your dating values. Giving yourself time to breathe, process, and release your emotional tension is necessary in order to get what you want.
If you happen to be in a situation where you are face-to-face with a person, call a timeout. Before you break apart, set a time with the person when you would like to regroup to talk about your needs. By doing this, you create personal growth, let go of your emotional high and handle the situation maturely.
Stonewalling or being contemptuous will never result in getting what you want. Healthy decisions can only be made in the context of emotionally stable conversations.
3. Ask for what you really need.
You can practice using “I” statements, as you take ownership of your feelings and needs.
Here’s an example:
“I love the time we spend together. It really makes me happy. I was wondering: Are you open to spending more time together?”
This question allows you to ask for your needs without appearing needy because it is created from one of your dating values: quality time.
The person will either agree or disagree. If they agree, then success! And if they disagree, you have to decide if you want to give the relationship more time or walk away. This decision will be based on your dating values and what’s healthy for you — it won’t be about them.
When asking for a “need” make sure you focus on your personal dating values. You don’t want to blame or criticize the other person if they don’t align with your needs. They also have a right to their own dating and relationship values outside of yours.
Regardless of your relationship status, if something feels uncomfortable between the two of you, talk about it. Don’t hold it in! It is your birthright to speak from a place of certainty. You can only grow, learn, and achieve as a person when your needs are being met.
Relationships can become problematic when you don’t speak up or practice managing your own emotional state.
4. Listen with open ears.
Being able to ask for the things you need also results in learning more about the person you are dating. The best way to learn is by listening. You will hear important words that define this person’s values in the midst of your conversations — without even asking them. The other person's priorities are likely to be those things they repeat often or express in an emphatic or emotional tone. So listen up!
While relationships are all about give-and-take, our values are based on each of our own needs. If you aren't able to give each other what you each need in order to be happy as both a couple and as individuals, you may not be a good match for one another.
And that’s okay. There is a person out there for you who will share similar values. This is part of the dating experience: learning and exploring who you are and who you best connect with.
5. Understand your partner's communication style.
Most men and women communicate differently, plain and simple. To get your needs met, try aligning with the other person’s communication style. When you align, you make it easier for them to understand you in return.
In order to get what you want, you must ask questions. And you can’t assume the person you are dating will understand everything about you. The only way to learn is by seeking answers based on your own needs.
Use your dating and relationship values as a guide to help decide if a person is a good match for you.
This will keep your emotions from overriding your personal health in selecting a great partner.
Jan and Jillian Yuhas are Dating and Relationship Lifestylists who empower men and women to connect by mastering their charisma, confidence, and communication skills to achieve a fulfilling relationship. You can follow their dating dossier, or contact them at Entwined Lifestyle.