Communicate what you need or you won’t get it

Communicate what you need or you won’t get it

Do you sometimes wonder why people aren’t treating you the way you want to be treated, giving you the feedback you want to be given, or showing you the affection you want to be shown?

Maybe you haven’t been honest about what you need from them. Or open about it.


Cheat sheet:

  • People aren’t mind readers (shocking, I know).
  • You need to let them know what you need before they can give it to you
  • Nobody is an island. We all need help from others


You have to communicate what you need before you can get it.

Perhaps you’re going through a rough period of your life, but your birthday is coming up and you can’t wait to bask in the light of love and celebration from all those who care about you. But when they ask you what you wish for your birthday you say: “Don’t worry about it. I’m not even sure I’ll have a party.”

When the day comes, only a handful of people show up. “I can’t believe everyone else didn’t show up” You think to yourself.

No matter the issue, there’s always a solution. Here it’s better communication.

This isn’t an everyday example, but it’s a similar process that happens every day. We want something from the people around us (love, affection, attention, recognition, safety, a promotion or others) but we’re not getting it, and after a while we think “I can’t believe they’re not giving me what I want”.

But if you don’t let people know it’s your birthday and that it’s important for you to celebrate it, how can you expect people to show up? The same goes for whatever else you want in life. If it’s not clearly communicated, the people around you (who want what’s best for you) cannot give it to you.

When I was 17 there was an event at my High School and my mom asked me if I wanted her to come watch me perform. I flat out said: “no, don’t come!”… And I was shocked when I realized she didn’t show up (who said it’s easy to raise a teenager).

I quite clearly communicated the opposite of what I wanted.

Children are clear about their needs. They’ll let you know if they’re hungry or want something, and they’ll get it. We lose that ability somewhere when we grow older (I’ll get to why, a bit further down), and that often ends in a situation where you’re not getting what you want – because it’s not communicated properly.


Part of the difficulty in letting the world know we need something is it leaves us in a situation where it’s public that we’re not self-sufficient. Or in other words: we can’t take care of ourselves.

That sounds awful in times where it’s all about the individual, the entrepreneur, the self-made heroes who never needed anybody. But it’s all fake. We’re social creatures who’ve been surviving by taking care of each other since before we started walking on two legs.

Nobody takes care of themselves. Unless you live alone in a wilderness, growing your own food, with tools you made yourself, you need others. We all need something from others. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just the nature of life.

So, before we communicate, we have to accept being vulnerable.


Be vulnerable, and ask for what you need

There’s a paradox to being vulnerable.

We believe people will think less of us if they learn about our shortcomings, but actually they respect us more when we come clean about it. Because it takes courage to stand by yourself, and especially to stand by and be open about the weaker parts, such as being in need of help.

People even admire that openness because there’s a good chance they carry around issues of their own, they’re not brave enough to share, so they know the struggle.

Be courageous. Embrace vulnerability

The fear doesn’t come out of nowhere. Thousands of years ago, being vulnerable could have meant seclusion from the tribe (society) because you were deemed a liability instead of an asset to survival, and so it makes sense that we do our best to hide it.

And it’s something that’s survived into modern day society, where we hide our “shortcomings” and put on a face to mask our sadness, our pain, our desperation. Spending a tremendous amount of energy trying to hide that we have no energy.

But we don’t need everyone to be in peak fitness condition anymore. We have plenty of food to go around. Actually… we have plenty of almost everything. We live in a world of plenty.

So, carrying around that pain alone does nothing good for you – it’s only going to suck away at your soul until it wears you down. And thankfully, we no longer struggle to survive. Survival is now a given, which means we are fortunate enough to let go of unpleasant, ancient barriers to happiness.


In short

People want what’s best for you, and they want to give you what you need, but if you don’t show them what that is, they can’t see it and they won’t give it to you.

Nobody is a mind reader. And if they think you’re satisfied with what you have, or listen to what you say if you downright lie about how you feel, then they will act accordingly. And you’ll be left feeling let down.

So, dare to be vulnerable and communicate honestly about what it is you need from them. You don’t have to show you pain to everyone who looks, but stop hiding it from those who matter.


Actionable advice

When you find yourself wondering why people aren’t giving you what you want, take a step back and ask yourself:

“Did I communicate it well enough that X is important to me and that I want to achieve Z?”.

If you’re not getting what you want, the answer is most likely no, and you should work on your communication.

If you genuinely believe that you did communicate well enough, perhaps people aren’t able to give you what you want, and it might be time to move to others who can, if it’s important enough for you. But be careful with this thought, because it’s much easier for us believe that we’ve done everything correctly and that people around us are making mistakes than it is to accept that it’s the other way around.


All the best, you’re the best. Rasmus from EZ Philosophy

2 Replies to “Communicate what you need or you won’t get it”

  1. Nailed it on the head. My 2018 intention is to receive. Even if we hope for abundance, yet stay blocked to receiving it or don’t ask, we won’t get it. It’s like oppotrinity knocks on the door, but we have a Do Not Disturb sign hanging on it. (I am so notorious for the birthday example.) Don’t be afraid to put it out there, and then actually receive it. Would love a part 2 post

    1. Hi Leah and thanks for your comment! That’s an amazing 2018 intention. The Do Not Disturb sign is a great metaphor. There really are so many opportunities out there, but if we don’t let them in, they just won’t happen. I would love to do a part 2 post for you. It’s on my list 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *