A 7-Step Formula to End Frustration and Ask for What You WantBy Homaira Kabir
It’s easy to get frustrated by others. It’s easier still to get frustrated by people we are close to, because we believe they should know what we want. We believe they should have the same values and motivations that we do. And when things get rough, we believe they should be as eager to fix them as we may be —then we get disappointed when they aren’t.
The reality is that human relationships lie at the intersection of at least two whole beings, each with their own aspirations and motivations. There could also be a difference in temperament, where one person is mellow while the other is bubbly and excitable. Or perhaps one finds it easy to let go of faults and issues, while the other expects perfection not just in themselves, but also in those around them. No wonder our interactions can sometimes feel incredibly exasperating for some, and a walk on eggshells for others!
If a relationship has been causing you pain lately, be the one to take the first step in mending it. Here’s a 7-step formula that will help:
Identify the Frustration
What exactly is the issue? What is it about the other person’s behaviors that bothers you? Be careful to separate behavior from the person. Resist the urge to label it as "They're so selfish" or "They're so inconsiderate." This will only fuel your frustration, while "I'd like them to have dinner ready when I'm running late" is a much more actionable ask.
Reconsider Your Expectations
Is your expectation reasonable? Is it tied to your values—or perhaps to your fears? If it’s the latter, think of ways you can let go of it. Often empathy and perspective-taking can help; so can finding work-arounds to having your need met. However, if your expectation is indeed reasonable and beneficial for all parties involved, then by all means, feel confident in asking.
Yes, really! You'll be surprised at how often we don’t do it, especially with people we’re close to. The reality is that no one, however close, can read our minds, even if they had the time and inclination to do so. But be careful about how you ask. Blurting out "How many times have I told you to..." does little to engage the other person. Begging and pleading doesn’t get results either, and initiates a power game. Choose the right time, and create a space where the other person is willing to