“I Shouldn’t Have to Ask”: A Fast and Easy Way to Send Yourself— and Others— Around the Bend

I don’t know how many of you saw the September 27th piece in Harper’s Bazaar, “Women Aren’t Nags – We’re Just Fed Up” but here at Cole Media Management it was read with overt dismay.

Why? Because I feel (strongly) that the differences in the way men and women communicate should be —in best-case scenarios—celebrated. At the very least, they should be recognized and negotiated.

There is no room for either sex to be excoriated.

Leaving the particulars of this piece to one side, the crux of the problem seemed to center around—and these are the author’s words,

Telling him to do something he should instinctively know to do is exhausting.

Hhhhmmmm…. If he instinctively knew to do it, wouldn’t he have done it? That’s how instinct works.

When her husband points out, “All you had to do was ask,” She replies, “I shouldn’t have to ask.”

And now we are at the heart of the matter.

Because no matter how much it may pain us, or surprise us, or cause us anguish and dismay, not only do men and women move through the world very differently—but nobody, regardless of their sex– can read anybody else’s mind.

If you think they can or – worse—should, you are opening yourself up to a world of hurt.

(Not to mention, do you really want someone reading your mind all the time— every single thought? Or is it only when you want your mind to be read? As you see, the potential ridiculousness of this desire is exponential.)

Given that I an not an expert on male/female communication (For someone who is, please look into the work of Alison Armstrong. Her work will change your life.) I am not going to get into the why and wherefore of how this particular couple ended up in this particular tangle.

I am, however, going to encourage you – anytime you find yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t have to ask,” to get over it.


(And when you do ask, be specific. Be more specific than you might ever imagine you have to be. For more on this— again— see the work of Alison Armstrong.)

I think you will be surprised by how abundantly you receive.


For more on the importance— and value— of speaking up, see “Anything mentionable is manageable”