R shared this on Facebook recently, and it seemed like such an obvious, yet brilliant point.
In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.
In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes.
I am a total Guess culture person. In my family I rarely asked for things, and even when I did it was usually only when I knew the answer. That’s not to say my childhood was in any way “deprived” or that I was “saintly” in any way. As a small, close-knit family, everyone around me was usually very good at figuring out what I wanted.
If I became interested in chemistry, or blue whales, or whatever, my parents would usually take me to a bookstore, and then ask me if I would like this book or this chemistry set etc. That’s just how we worked.
As you move away from your close-knit circle of family and friends though, as the commenter in the article notes, it’s important to realise that you need to “ask” for things. It took me a while (and a lot of frustration) to realise this and make my peace with it.
Even now, when it comes to my family, and a few friends, I rarely ask for things. But in the big, bad world – I realise I need to step up and express what I’d like.