2 Comments

You make such an important point here about checking ourselves when we make requests, to ensure we are not - in fact - harboring expectations, and to acknowledge that a request means the answer may also be "No". While it may be the case that those you do not hear back from are simply stealth demanders, I suspect what also may be happening is that this person has revealed a vulnerability to you, and that hearing No without recognition of that vulnerability is door-closing. Requests are bids for connection, and need to be built both ways. If you would like to hear back from them, or stay in connection, could you perhaps let them know that or share your request as well? Money creates static in human connection, so it's good to acknowledge that, even when we cannot change our decision because we do need the financial contribution. Just a thought.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to share your reflections. It means a lot to me.

There's so much here that sparked self-examination and a fascinating conversation with W about my possible blindspots, as well as helping me further shape my perspectives on requests as relational bridges. I'd like to share a few of these enquiries and thoughts.

On examination, I absolutely resonate that there are likely multiple reasons why someone might not respond when they receive a no to their request or an alternative offer than they were hoping for. My use in the article of the idea of 'stealth requests' was not intended to imply that I think the people I don't hear back from are making stealth requests. The inclusion was more about a general noticing when I examine the steps of request making.

I also instantly recognise the vulnerability of making a request, especially if it involves money. It's why I always reply (or at least, that's my recall, but of course there's the possibility I've missed someone at some time), and why I reply from a place of appreciation for the reach out and share a reason why I cannot say yes. It's also why, when I can or want to, I offer an alternative that wasn't previously available to them. I think that, by considering their ask and then replying from a place of care and openness, I am recognising that vulnerability and building a relational bridge. Perhaps the article gave you the impression that I only write a one sentence response back to them, but that's not the case.

Some of the really interesting questions W and I have been exploring, sparked by your sharing, include:

1. Is it helpful to assume vulnerability, or any other experience or feeling, in a relational interaction?

2. If I make the choice to place myself in a vulnerable situation because I look to have a need or desire or hope fulfilled, is it my responsibility to take ownership of that vulnerability, or a shared ownership? (W and I disagree here!)

3. Do I, as you have questioned, hold my own assumptions that I am placing on the people making requests of me that I'm not verbalising?

4. If someone bids for connection with me, do I owe them that connection?

I've been reflecting a lot on how I am when I make requests of others, from the times that I have approached complete strangers or people I don't know well, right up to my interactions with my closest family and relationships. I've been especially sitting with the times that I've reached out to strangers or those I don't have a strong relationship with and haven't received any response at all, including the times when I can see a message has been read but I don't get a response; and it's been fascinating for me to explore that perhaps when someone is going about their life, and I show up in it with my request, not knowing what's going on in their life, and I don't get any response at all, my experience of a closed door is my responsibility, not theirs.

I love all of these enquiries and have learnt a lot about myself and this exploration from your comment. Thank you again!

Expand full comment