If you text message one of your friends, “Have a nice day,” do you expect a response? Furthermore, do you feel frustrated if your friend doesn’t respond in an hour, in six hours, in a day?
I have gotten frustrated over circumstances like this more often than I care to admit.
Then when I finally stepped back to think about it, I realized that aside from the fact that my friend might have not seen my text, I hadn’t even requested a response. I just made an encouraging statement, sent a gift of sorts and expected my friend to decipher that I wanted a response. I had dropped a hint and after that chose to spend time longing for a desired result.
Do you ever drop hints and become frustrated when your friends or family fail to decode your hints?
Dropping hints would be a strange and socially awkward practice for when one is standing at the front of a movie theater ticket line, so we simply state the movie that we want to see and thereby get a ticket. We don’t give the ticket clerk a twenty-minute story that kind of hints that we may kind of want to see a movie and kind of halfway alludes to the movie we want to see. We would never dream of doing this and the people behind us in the ticket line would never dream of letting us. We simply state what movie we want to watch, say please, hand over some cash, and the clerk prints us a ticket. The whole transaction takes under twenty seconds and works perfectly!
Why in our personal lives do we so often song and dance around what we really want?
Is it some big secret that we are human beings and have needs and wants? Are we scared of getting what we really desire? Are we afraid if we ask for what we want and need that people may tell us “NO”? Do we thrive on being frustrated with people for not reading our minds?
Referring back to my initial example, it would be much more effective and kinder to the other person to send a text message saying, “I really would enjoy hearing from you today, please text me when you have a chance.”
Over the past year, I’ve gradually become more aware of how often I drop hints instead of requesting what I really want.
I’ve noticed that instead of producing a healthy friendship or relationship interaction, dropping hints tends to produce a “Longingship” interaction. (I wouldn’t try using “Longingship” in a game of Scrabble because I just made it up.)
Instead of dropping hints, let’s try gently laying down requests of what we really want.
Gently laying down requests takes practice, self-confidence and courage. This method of politely asking for what we truly want can be a pathway to a whole new level of freedom in all of our relationships.
Game of the Day
What types of hints do you tend to drop?
With whom do you tend to drop them?
What would it look like to gently lay down requests in these interactions?