I don’t like it when you put salt on the popcorn.

I love popcorn with nutritional yeast as a replacement for salt. 🙂

Which of these sounds better to you?

Aversion, security, fear…we have a lot of reasons to think negatively about the world around us. That is, we can often frame our thinking in terms of what we don’t want.

When we communicate, we will often state to others what we don’t like, don’t want people to do, or don’t want to happen in a given situation. This orients us towards our aversions, focusing on the reactionary, and over-relating to undesirable outcomes.

There is another option.

Positive Requests

Positive Requests are simply a way of wording our wants with a framing focused on future opportunities, personal feelings, and authenticity. The way we word requests to others can be the difference between implying guilt vs. opening up an exciting invitation to something positive.

Below are some examples for comparison.

Negative Request

“Don’t give that away.”

Positive Request

“I prefer to keep that.”

“I hate when she does that.”

“I enjoyed the way she did that this time.”

“Why do you always make me tell you when to stop?!”

“It would help me immensely if you switched gears before I come out and say something.”

Note: Be aware of false positives.

  • “What I want is for you to stop.”
  • “How about no?”
  • “I’d like for you to quit being a jerk.”

Notice the tomfoolery? These negative statements wear some positive clothing, and are still essentially framed toward the negative.