I was at the 24-hour grocery store with my boyfriend late at night, loitering in the baked goods section as we do, and I saw an absolutely hideous cake. It was bright yellow, all melted-looking, brown smudges all over the top of it. Right beside it was a similarly bright yellow cake, but with intentionally-placed strawberries, as well as the word “Mango” handwritten in brown icing.
I mean the second one was pretty stupid-looking too, but something wrong had definitely happened to the other one. The first thing I thought was that maybe I could get it for free! I picked it up and told my boyfriend that I’d take it to the cash and ask if I could take it home. He hated the idea. I told him I wouldn’t be stealing it, I would only be asking, and if they turned me down I would leave it, but it made him super uncomfortable that I would ask to take something home for free that had a price tag on it.
At the cash, I said “I found this in the fridge. It’s not looking very good, if you don’t think you’ll be able to sell it, can I have it?”
And guess what?
It didn’t work. She said no. She was a bit snarky about it actually, but that’s okay. In hindsight, that kind of call probably wasn’t the cashier’s to make anyway.
I’m not like, trying to say I’m wise or anything (also not saying I’m not…), but my boyfriend always tells me that this moment stuck with him, because in his mind, getting what you want involves a sort of dance where you try to manipulate someone into willingly giving you something without ever asking for it. Or something like that.
What if you just asked? What if you trusted other people to tell you the truth, and what if you made it okay for them to turn you down? What’s the worst that could happen?
Asking for what I want is basically a daily practice for me. I live in a shared home, so there is ample opportunity for communicating needs, which is ultimately what this comes down to (like the need for cake, obvi).
People can’t read your mind, so it’s up to you to communicate what you want. It’s also important because if you’re not careful, you’ll relegate things that seem too big to ask for to the “impossible” file in your head, and you don’t want to do that to your dreams.