No person is an island, and we all need help and support from others sometimes. However, when we ask for help, we need to be mindful of the ways in which we do so. Sometimes, framing things in a different way can be what helps us get a yes when otherwise we would get a no. Here are the best strategies that can help you get what you ask for most of the time.
One of the worst things you can do is act entitled. As the popularity of the “Karen” moniker online shows, people hate those who act entitled. This doesn’t mean you need to act excessively humble or put yourself down. However, a good idea is not to ask for something with absolutely certainty that you will get it.
Instead, try to cultivate a matter-of-fact attitude. It is more effective than an entitled one and appeals to other people. Make clear that you see that your request might be unusual, if it is, and recognize that you are asking for help or a favor, if you are. Acting entitled will make people more likely to deny you, while being polite and casual, while still recognizing what you are asking for, can motivate others to help.
Be clear at your ask
Sometimes, we feel rude if we ask for things directly, but it can generate confusion if we don’t. We might be so shy that it is not at all clear that we are even asking for something in the first place. Instead, your request should specify the type of help you want or need and what you expect the other person to do. It’s one thing to say “I need help” and another to say “Could you do this task, please?”
Being clear does not mean we are entitled, as long as we are open to the other person saying no or being unable to do things fully. But it also saves us and others time, energy, and effort.
A bad tactic that can often make the other person feel manipulated is playing the victim. Instead, take ownership of what is going on and that you need help. Manipulative tactics, like saying that nobody cares enough to help you, for example, might work but will also leave the other person resentful and unwilling to help further.
Take ownership of your request and your situation. Be genuine when asking for what you need and why you need it.
In relation to the above, you might feel like you need to find an “angle” when you ask for a request or use specific tactics to get the other person to fall for them. But that can easily backfire. Often, the best strategy is to be genuine.
Politeness and tact go a long way, but it’s also important to express what you truly feel and need. A request that is perceived as genuine will more likely receive a positive response. Think about it from the perspective of the one being asked: you wouldn’t like to be manipulated, but would likely respond to somebody’s honest request.
Know who, when, and where to ask
Something that makes a lot of impact in regards to the answer you will get for a request is the situation. There are general tips to consider when planning an ask.
First, decide on who to ask. You might avoid people who are in dire straits themselves or those who you know will respond negatively. Ask people you feel more comfortable asking and who are in a position to help you. Avoid asking people when they are very busy, hurried, or exhausted. Stress is likely to make people snap at you or be more negative. Find a place and time when the other person does not have pressing commitments nor are they in a rush. This is a simple consideration, but it can do a lot to boost your request. As an additional idea, don’t ask people when they are hungry and exhausted and irritable. After lunch is probably a better time.
Overall, these are easy tips to frame your request in a way that will help it be accepted. While people will not always say yes, there is no harm in asking if done politely and with a good attitude. Honesty will take you a long way and leave no hard feelings even when things don’t work out.