February 12, 2013
I have a friend who gets so excited about Valentine's Day, she calls it "The Big V," and looks to this holiday as a way to get something every year from her spouse.
"He better get it right," she said, referring to her husband of 12 years.
"Do you ask for what you want?" I asked.
"If he doesn't know by now, he's in real trouble," she said.
According to Laura Fredricks, author of the best-selling book "The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose," expecting someone to read your mind can be a big mistake.
"I think people don't know the right words to use so they don't use any words at all," Fredricks said. "Then if they do ask for it, they're afraid it's going to change or sour a relationship. So they just hope their partner can figure it out, which means each person can be facing disappointment."
Whether you've been married for years or you're on your third date, Fredricks said asking for what you want is not selfish, but "builds trust and helps create clear communication."
Here are some of Fredricks' tips for making the best of your Valentine's Day.
Celebrate on a different day.
For committed couples, Fredricks suggests planning a trip at a later date. "This year, the holiday falls on a Thursday and not everyone can do something during the week," she said. "Tell your partner, 'You know, why don't we take a long weekend in March when we both have time to celebrate?' That way you have something to look forward to."
For those who are dating more than one person, Fredricks suggests spreading out your dates over the weekend. "You don't want to be out on the actual holiday with someone you aren't sure about when that's the day couples will celebrate each other. You can do a Friday night dinner with one person and then maybe a Sunday brunch with someone else."
Get support from friends.
If you're not in a relationship, Fredricks said it's important not to sit at home and sulk.
"Take the initiative and reach out to your other single friends and get plans for a manicure, or a pedicure," she said. "Say, 'You know what? We're going to celebrate each other!' Go to happy hour. You never know who you might meet."
Offer your time instead of your wallet.
"Say, 'Honey, I don't know if you were thinking about getting me anything but if you were, I really just want to spend time with you.' Which is the same way as saying, 'Please don't spend money on flowers, candy or dinner.' For some, this is much more important."
"If it's really important to you that someone honor this holiday, put it on the table so there are no surprises later. If you're true to yourself and say it calmly — about who you are and what your values are and what's important to you — no one loses on this. Bottom line, they're going to find out your preferences eventually. You're not going to lose the person because you've expressed what you wanted or did not want on Valentine's day. And if you did — the relationship wasn't the right fit anyway."
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