familyBy Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – Smile Notes

Did you know that people can't read your mind?I think that most couples think their spouse does.

In my private counseling practice I say almost daily: "Have you asked your spouse for this change/attitude/behavior rather than just complain about it?" "No, he/she says—they should know how I feel!"Really?

Asking questions, in a positive way, can have remarkable results in many areas.  It can give you time off, a raise, a child’s clothes picked up, a lunch date with a good friend, money saved, a good haircut, etc.  I always ask if there is a better price when I buy expensive items and, about half the time, I get a better price.  Another time I went up to a stranger in a Mexican restaurant and asked if she would mind telling me who cut her beautiful hair.  She was pleased to share the information with me and it resulted in the best haircut I’ve ever had.  And anytime I get lost—or my GPS has misdirected me!—I stop and ask for directions.  I choose not to waste time trying to figure it out when someone nearby surely knows where I need to be!  And I now have a great appetizer recipe because I tracked down the lady who brought the delicious dish at a dog obedience class potluck.

Many of us are uncomfortable asking for help, directions, guidance, support and information.  We fail to realize that most people are willing to help us—and are pleased that they were asked.

Realize, too, that there is a huge difference between asking and complaining.  Complaining sounds like this:  "This refrigerator is so expensive.  Everything costs so much these days!" Asking:  "I know this is a great refrigerator, but it’s over my budget—could you offer a better price?"  Another example complaining to spouse:  "I'm bored—we never go out and do anything fun anymore." Asking spouse:  "I used to love how much we laughed and how many movies we used to go to.  Let's look online and see what's showing and go Friday!"

Why don't you begin asking right now for what you want and need!  OK?

Copyright © 2013, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.

P.S. Please see my other column The Counselor’s Corner.

Sharon Scott

Sharon Scott

Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer to peer pressure.

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.

Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!

A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.

Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
Sharon Scott

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