I find that people are most often willing to fulfil your needs, but in order to give them a fair chance to do so you need to communicate them. Too many of us start complaining that our needs aren’t being met without ever having told anyone what it is we need. As if people around us were mind readers. As if they didn’t have enough to think about without having to try to decode our silence.
I was once in the awkward situation of being criticized because I bought and cooked food that another person was allergic or sensitive to. But when I asked that person what s/he needed instead s/he just couldn’t tell me, because s/he had no idea what s/he was sensitive to. It isn’t enough to say what you don’t want in order to have your needs met. You need to say what you do want and need. In the example above I was left without a clue, but I was still expected to buy food that suited the person, which was an impossible mission.
The clearer and more specific you are, the easier it will be for others to help you out. If I were to say to a teacher “I have a hard time following you”, that is quite vague. Your trouble might be that the teacher is speaking too softly, uses a language that is too advanced, isn’t taking the time to explain fully, that you have the sun in your eyes, or any of a hundred other reasons. If you say “I have a hard time following you because I don’t understand the structure of your lessons” you are being more specific.
If you have suggestions on how to solve a problem you are having that will often be much appreciated. On the same example, if you were to continue by saying “It would help me very much if you took a moment just before the lesson to tell us what we are going to do today” most teachers would be eager to meet that request.
In many cases you will need to educate people on how you work. And who better to do so than you since you are the true expert on your own workings. When you figure out how you work and communicate that to others it will be so much easier for them to help you out. Even if you communicate your needs very well it might take the other person many tries before they get it right. Be patient.
As you get better at communicating and having your needs met, please help others to communicate theirs.
- Know how you work and what you need.
- Be honest with yourself and others.
- Communicate your needs.
- Give solutions.
- Educate the surrounding to your needs. Be patient.
- Show the same courtesy to others. Learn how others work and how you can help them out.
Photo: To eat or not to eat by daniellehelm on Flickrby