Requesting in Nonviolent Communication

Requesting, asking for something, is the fourth component in nonviolent communication. We will differentiate requesting and demanding by being open to “No” to our requests, for which if we meet with excessive temper we would have surely been demanding beyond human interaction.

To nonviolently articulate a request well, here are 5 points to consider:

  1. Clarity: avoid vague and indirect articulations like: “could you be more serious?”.
  2. Specificity: use verbs or ask for doable actions.
  3. Realism
  4. Achievability: ask for things that you or others can actually do.
  5. Positivity: negative articulation leads negative responses. Demanding sounds like: “Will you bring a pen from the stationary on your way back home?”, to which a response would be like: “nope, too busy.”.

Our temper shows that you never believed in our requests, and if you were a committed person at home and loved us, you would have brought the pen with you. The high reaction to this request indicates that we basically ask from the other and want to implement what we want regardless of his ability and desire, and this of course harms the relationship between us and the human being. The other, while if we go back and ask him when it is possible to bring a pen this will help us to pay attention to our needs and feelings and fulfill our request.

Culture teaches us to ask for what we do not want instead of what we want, and experience shows us that the more we are aware, the greater the chance of obtaining the request. That and if s/he does not accept we try to sympathize with her/him because there are many people who think that if you repeat the words that have been asked, it may cause injury or offense to them.

It is very important that our request be loaded with a “could you?”, or “please”, until we make sure that the other party has received the request and will work to implement it because this helps us avoid a lot of conflicts because many people ask for a lot of requests, but they are not sure that the other party will implement the request or not, and this can cause us tensions.

It is also important when we make a request that we try to get an answer from the other person if whether s/he will carry out the request or not.