What Keeps Us From Making Requests? 

Let's look at what thoughts keep us from making requests and examine needs met and unmet when we choose not to make a request. We'll examine beliefs that no longer support us, and prepare to make new choices. Discover why the request you make is a gift to the requested.


Sound recording of Pan's training delivered as part of the
November 2012 BayNVC Telesummit Fundraiser
Requests from the Heart: Practical Empathy

(34 MG)

This handout comes from the NVC TOOLKIT FOR FACILITATORS • ©2009 Raj Gill, Lucy Leu, Judi Morin


What Keeps Me from Making a Request?


Use the following to guide your exploration and sharing:

  1. Bring to mind a situation where you would like (or wish you had been able) to make a request of someone.


  1. Describe the situation, using NVC observations.
  1. What would you want the other party to do or say?


  1. What feelings come up when you think of making such a request to them?
  1. What keeps you from making the request? Refer to the list of “Common Fears and Beliefs” below, and tick off those that resonate with you. Add your own reasons to the list.


  1. For each item on the list that applies to you, ask yourself:
    1. What is my need here? (Jot down the need(s) underlying a particular fear, belief or thought.)


    1. To what extent am I meeting (or not meeting) this need when I choose to refrain from making a request of the other person?
    1. Are there possible ways I can meet these needs other than refraining from making a request? (State concrete possibilities.)


  1. When you choose not to make a request in the situation you describe, what needs are left unmet?
  1. Take a silent moment to hold and value both sets of needs: the needs you hope to meet through making the request and the needs you choose to meet by refraining from the request. Notice any physical sensations or shift in energy.


  1. Take the following steps to practice making the request:
    1. Bring your attention inward and recall the situation once again.


    1. Formulate a request to the other party while being aware of how much you value both sets of needs.
    1. Express your request out loud, speaking to your group as if you were addressing the other party in the situation.


  1. Share with your group:
    1. how you feel after verbalizing the request


    1. what would support you to make requests in the future.

INDIVIDUAL HANDOUT 8.5 — What Keeps Me From Making a Request?



Which Keep Me From Making Requests

  1. I fear the pain of hearing rejection.


  1. I fear the pain of not being received or understood.
  1. I fear the pain of not being able to express my request clearly.


  1. I fear the pain of being triggered by past experiences.
  1. I fear the pain of being hurt or angry if the other person says “No” to me.


  1. I fear the pain of being viewed by others in ways I don’t want to be viewed — for example, as being:
    1. “needy” “weak” “pitiful”


    1. “manipulative” “sleazy”
    1. “greedy”  “grabby”


    1. “ignorant”  “naïve”  “uncool”
    1. “demanding” “aggressive”


  1. I fear the pain of viewing myself in ways I disapprove, e.g. as “needy,” “greedy,” “aggressive,” etc.

(#a - f, above).

  1. I believe that I do not deserve what I am requesting.


  1. I believe that a request is pointless since it will definitely be rejected.
  1. I believe that the other party lacks the capacity to satisfy my request.


  1. I believe that I should be self-reliant and able to cope without asking for help.
  1. I believe that it is disrespectful or inconsiderate to put people in the potentially uncomfortable position of “having to say ‘No’.”


  1. I believe that the other person should know what I want without my having to ask for it.