One of the reasons I coach the people I do, individuals and couples in relationship, is due to one question that I hear all the time (and it makes me a little crazy):

“Oh, do you think I should talk to my [spouse/friend/Mum/boss] about this?”

I try to be patient when I hear this, but my answer is usually YES.

I totally get that communication can be tricky.  I understand that maybe the person with whom you need to share something may have historically acted in a way that didn’t make you feel safe of supported.  And I more than appreciate that it can appear like some things would be better left unsaid.


In the long-term, not so much.

Trust me; it’s almost always better to let things out, to offer yourself to authenticity, and to let your partner/mother/friend be allowed into your vulnerability.

Yes, what if they snarl and bite your head off (unlikely), but what if it creates something better than you could ever imagined? 

So here’s a tool: if you have a complaint to bring up, phrase it as a REQUEST.

I have examples:

  • Your husband arrives home late, and you’re waiting for him to arrive so you can hand off the kids and get out the door for some desperately-needed alone time with your yoga mat.  You talked about all of the details the night before, so it’s super frustrating to be kept waiting without even a phone call.  Instead of allowing a string of expletives to escape your mouth, or passive-aggressively stomping around the house before finally getting to leave, here’s some words: “I have a request.  When you’re going to be late and you know I have somewhere to be, can you send me a quick message so I know?  That would help me to not feel so frustrated and that my time isn’t important to you.”
  • You are NOT a morning person, and your roommate is.  While you are stumbling through the house to get ready for work looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, she is chirping on about the rent and pestering you about your dinner plans.  Instead of unleashing your barely-reanimated self on her, how about this: “It’s great that you’re so, um, awake, and I have a request – can we talk about this later today when I have had a chance to ease into my day?”

See?  Two examples, and it’s pretty easy.  Try some requests on today and see what happens.


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