A graphic that reads "The Skillful Podcast: Season 2 Episode 41: How Strongly to Ask or Say No" in white text over a stock photo of two women sitting on a hillside talking. | Bay Area DBT | DBT Podcast

#41: How Strongly to Ask or Say No

Do you find asking for things or saying no hard? If so, this episode is for you. 

Marielle and Ed provide a framework for thinking about how strongly to make requests and how strongly to say no. For some people, making requests confidently is challenging and for others, it’s saying no that is hard.

Sometimes it depends on the type of relationship. Perhaps you’re comfortable saying no with friends but not with family, or you can easily make requests at work but not of your significant other. 

Whatever your exact challenges with saying no or asking for things are, this episode will help you weigh different factors so you can communicate your wants and needs with confidence.

Show Highlights

  • Saying no or asking for something isn’t black and white
  • You can say no or ask for something firmly or lightly
  • Review each letter of the DEAR MAN acronym carefully
  • Think in terms of nuances to avoid extremes 
  • Emotions can cloud your ability to know your own limits
  • There are 10 different factors to determine the intensity of asking or saying no:
    • Capability
    • Priorities
    • Self-respect
    • Rights
    • Authority
    • Relationship
    • Long term vs. short-term goals
    • Give and take
    • Homework
    • Timing

DBT Skills Discussed

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here. 

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.


#41: How Strongly to Ask or Say No Transcript

Marielle Berg 

Hello and welcome to The Skillful Podcast, where we explore DBT and RO-DBT skills to help you reduce emotional suffering, improve your relationships, and become more present in your life. I’m your host, Marielle Berg, a psychotherapist at the Bay Area DBT and Couples Counseling Center.

Marielle Berg 

Hey, Ed, how are you doing?

Ed Fowler 

I’m good, how are you?

Marielle Berg 

I’m pretty good. I’m looking forward to discussing how intensely to ask for something, or how strongly to say no.

Ed Fowler 

I think this is a really helpful topic. Because, like, as we talked about, when we cover this in our groups, we can usually fall into either I don’t ask or I demand. Or I don’t say no, or I say absolutely not, never. And there’s so many options in between those extremes. And it’s helpful to think those through.

Marielle Berg 

I know, in my closest relationships, I can be a bit more on the demand side. Do you, where do you fall in that spectrum?

Ed Fowler 

I tend towards don’t ask or just say yes. And so if I’m not being conscientious, my automatic kind of habit is to just oh, I talk myself out of asking for things, talk myself out of saying no, and just say yes. And so I do need to be thoughtful about asking for things and saying, no.

Marielle Berg 

I just feel like I’m on the opposite side. And I need to be thoughtful about how I make requests, which requests I make, because I think it could come out as a demand or a command, like you must do this. And of course, that no one likes that. And it’s not very effective. I don’t get my needs met.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Ed Fowler 

And with these extremes like that, if we fall into the extremes, then we’re not getting our needs met. So I’m saying yes to everything. Or you’re, you know, saying, Oh, how can I have this, and people are feeling like it’s a demand. And that’s not what you intend, but you’re not going to get the response you want. So we do want to be conscientious.

Marielle Berg 

And as we’re talking about this for listeners, I’m hoping that, you know, folks are thinking about where they fall in the spectrum. Because there’s these two extremes. And I think it depends also on relationships. I know, in my most intimate relationship where I’m the least guarded, and most myself, that’s where the demand can come out, or maybe like saying no too quickly.

Marielle Berg 

But with even with, you know, super close friends or other people in my life, I’ll be more in the middle. I think it really depends on the nature of the relationship. And it can also differ in a work setting.

Ed Fowler 

Exactly.

Marielle Berg 

So maybe for some people who can be more sort of demanding and intimate relationships at work settings, they don’t ask for things. So I think it can really vary depending on who you are communicating with.

Ed Fowler 

And I know for some people, it’s the opposite. Where in intimate relationships, they’re hesitant to ask, but at work, it’s like, well, this is my job, I’m just gonna ask. And so I do think it’s helpful for us to reflect on our tendencies in general and particular areas of our life. Do we tend towards being more demanding? Or do we tend towards not asking? Do we tend towards saying no, with a lot of firmness? Or do we tend towards just saying yes, and not saying no? And to be thoughtful about that for ourselves.

Marielle Berg 

And that gives us a lot more choice and how to respond. And so we teach all these wonderful skills in the Interpersonal Effectiveness module, and a link to some of them in the show notes because I know we’ve done episodes, I think on most or if not all of the acronyms that we use. So we have our basic DEAR MAN, maybe we should go over that just briefly, which is our main scripts that we use when asking for something or saying no or getting your opinion taken seriously.

Ed Fowler 

So the D stands for you Describe what it is that you want to talk about. The E stands for you Express your feelings or opinions. The A stands for you Assert what you want, so that’s where you ask for what you want or you say no. And the R is you Reinforce what’s in it for the other person to give you what you’re asking or to take your no seriously.

Ed Fowler 

And then the MAN is kind of, the DEAR is the script. The MAN is how you do it. So you’re Mindful and making sure that you’re sticking to the topic sticking to your goals, not getting sidetracked. You are, Marielle I forgot what the A is.

Marielle Berg 

You Appear confident.

Ed Fowler 

I think we should leave that in. I think we should leave that in. Did you appear confident as you’re asking? See, even DBT professionals forget the acronyms at times.

Marielle Berg 

There are so many!

Ed Fowler 

So many. So you appear confident in what you’re asking or saying no to. And the N is kind of the last step you Negotiate if needed. So if you ask for something, and the person is resistant to giving it, maybe you’d negotiate. So that’s the DEAR MAN, which is the basic framework for asking or saying no.

Marielle Berg 

And when people learn this framework, especially if they’ve really struggled to ask for things directly, or say, No, directly, it can feel like okay, great, I have the script, I’m going to spend some time on it, I’m going to write it out beforehand. And then I’m going to say it to my significant other or my boss or my parent. And then it’s doesn’t always go the way we have planned because it’s a bit more complicated.

Marielle Berg 

So what we’re talking about today will help you figure out like,  how strongly do you want to come out with that to your MAN to ask for the thing you want? Or to say no? Or how how tentatively? Because sometimes it makes more sense to be more tentative or hesitant, or have a softer request or a softer note, depending on a whole bunch of different factors that that we’ll go into.

Ed Fowler 

And so you know, when we go over this skill in our skills group, we look at, okay, what are all the levels of option for how intensely to ask or say no? And there’s kind of a one through 10 scale that goes from in terms of asking, level one would be don’t ask, all the way up to level 10, which is ask and don’t take no for an answer.

Ed Fowler 

But then there’s like two through nine in between, which are you know, you hint, you ask tentatively, you ask confidently. And so it gives us a lot of variety. Same thing with saying no. Level one is do what the other person wants without having to ask. And then level 10 is don’t do it. You just don’t, you refuse to do what the person is asking.

Ed Fowler 

But then there’s all these options in between where you do it, but but you do it and, you’re not cheerful about it, you say you’d rather not, but you do it gracefully, you say no confidently. So we’re really kind of thinking about what are the factors to consider to determine how intensely what level, one through 10, do I want to fall on?

Marielle Berg 

I think for many people, the variations or the the in between numbers are harder. So we can sometimes find ourselves in a more black and white place, where I don’t ask at all or when I do ask, I don’t take no for an answer. And so thinking about the different factors to consider and that there’s a there’s a medium, it doesn’t have to be you never ask, or you ask and you don’t take no for an answer. Maybe you ask gracefully, but you’re willing to take a no.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Marielle Berg 

And similarly with saying no, some people might fall again on these extremes where, you know, you never say no. Or you just you know, kind of always say no, and you just don’t do what’s requested. But there are shades of gray here, perhaps you communicate that you’d rather not do it, but you do it gracefully anyway.

Marielle Berg 

So even just being aware that there are variations and you don’t have to fall sort of in either extreme camp, I think can be really helpful.

Marielle Berg 

Should we start to look at some of the different factors to consider as you’re figuring out, like, how strongly do I want to ask for something or how intensely do I want to say no?

Ed Fowler 

Yeah, because I think that it’s helpful. And when we teach this skill in our skills group, when we talk about it is that oftentimes when we have to ask for something, or say, no emotion can be involved. And in DBT, we’re always looking for that Wise Mind balance between emotion and reason, what we call Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind.

Ed Fowler 

And looking at some kind of more objective factors of what are the factors to consider to determine how intensely to ask or say no, we’re getting more on that reason side. What are the facts here? And that can help balance out, if I’m feeling like really guilty about saying no, if I consider some different objective factors, I might say, you know, this is a really reasonable request. So there are 10 different factors that we think about in DBT that help us to determine the intensity of asking or saying no.

Marielle Berg 

And the first one is capability. It’s pretty basic. So thinking about – is the person able to give you what you want? Because if they’re if they can’t, then obviously you’re going to want to lessen the intensity of your ask, or maybe not ask at all if they can’t actually give you what you’re asking for.

Marielle Berg 

And then if you’re thinking about capability in terms of saying no, do you have what the other person wants? If you don’t, obviously, you want to say no more firmly. If someone is asking you to give them a ride home, and you don’t have a car, I mean, that’s sort of like a no brainer there. So capability is the first piece we want to think about.

Ed Fowler 

So the next factor is, number two, what are your priorities? So considering your priorities. And we we talkabout this in terms of Interpersonal Effectiveness skills in general. Is your priority, your goal, or what you’re asking her saying no to? Is it your relationship with the person that you’re asking or saying no to? Or is it your self respect? Right?

Ed Fowler 

And so if your your goal of like, you’re asking for something, and you really need it, and that’s your high priority, then you’re going to ask more intensely. Whereas if your relationship with the other person is really important, and the relationship is maybe shaky, then you’re going to ask with less intensity. And if your self respect is really important in this exchange, then your intensity should fit your values.

Ed Fowler 

So if you are somebody who tends to not say no, you say yes, a lot. And then you feel really guilty and bad about not saying no, and you get maybe even resentful towards people, then you’re going to want to increase the intensity of saying no, because your self respect is going to be hurt if you don’t. So those are priorities that you want to be considering in determining how intensely to ask or say no.

Marielle Berg 

Now to just expand a little bit more on self respect. So some other things to think about are, do you usually do things for yourself? Are you careful to avoid acting helpless when you’re not? If yes, then ask more strongly. Conversely, thinking about as you said, a moment ago, Ed, will saying no, make you feel bad about yourself? And if no, then say no more strongly. So thinking about how your self respect will play into this interaction with someone else, in what you say no to and what you ask for.

Ed Fowler 

And I do think it’s good to think about, you know, when we talk about this in group, oftentimes it’s like, okay, well, will you feel bad about yourself if you say no? And people are like, yes, I always feel bad about myself when I say no, because I feel so guilty, I should never say no.

Ed Fowler 

And so you want to keep in mind, oh, is that just an Emotion Mind response? Or is it really like, I’ll feel like I let myself down by not saying no, or I’ll feel like I was genuinely not open to the other person by saying, no. You want to consider those factors?

Marielle Berg 

That’s such a good point. And it makes me think about the episode we did on interpersonal myths. And so I think for people who might have the response of Yes, I always feel bad when I say no, because I feel guilty. There might be some kind of belief underlying that, like, it’s, it’s not okay to say no, or the way you care for others, or be a good friend, or just a good human being is by never saying no. And so maybe unpacking some of those beliefs that might get in the way and may might make you respond habitually. And not say no, when really saying no would preserve your self respect.

Ed Fowler 

So, in addition to the first three, that we covered capability, priorities and self respect, a fourth factor to consider is rights. So for instance, is if you’re asking for something, is the person required by law or moral code to give you what you want? And if the answer is yes, you’re going to increase the intensity, right? If you are asking for something from someone who, whose job is to give you that thing, then you’re going to increase the intensity.

Ed Fowler 

And likewise, if you’re required by law, or moral code to give the person what they’re asking for, then you’re going to decrease the intensity of saying no, right? So if it’s your job, if you’re working in some sort of customer service, and your job is to honor people’s requests, then you’re not going to if you need to say no, you’re going to say no less intensely. Or maybe just this is like, I really need to think hard about saying no to this.

Marielle Berg 

Related to the issue of rights is authority. So a little bit different, but there’s some some overlap. So if you’re responsible for directing the other person, or telling the other person what to do, you’re their manager or supervisor, clearly you’re going to ask more strongly, and it when you have authority over another person, hopefully you feel more confident in just asking very directly and potentially not taking no for an answer or being you know, open to negotiation.

Marielle Berg 

And conversely, if someone has authority over you, if it’s your teacher or your boss, and what they’re asking for, is within their scope of authority, then you want to say no, a little less intensely. You want to be mindful about what you say no to, if you want to keep your job, or keep the teacher happy.

Ed Fowler 

Yes.

Marielle Berg 

Obviously there are, there are caveats to all of these. But these are, you know, thinking about authority and who in the hierarchy, if someone has power over you, or you have power over someone else, this is often in a job settings, or maybe schooling settings, where that will affect how intensely you say no, or how strongly you’re asked for something.

Ed Fowler 

And so then another factor is the level of relationship. So is what you are asking for appropriate to the current relationship with the other person? So if you’re asking for a favor, and you’re close, and you’re friendly, and you do favors for each other a lot, then you’re going to increase the intensity, right, of your ask. If this is somebody who, you don’t really know that well, and you’re asking for a favor, maybe your intensity will be a little bit less.

Ed Fowler 

Same thing with saying no, is what the other person is asking for appropriate to your current relationship? So if they’re asking for something, and you know, yeah, we’re friends that way, in the end, it makes sense to ask then you might say no, a little more gently. But if they’re asking for something, and it’s like, I don’t know you, then maybe your no is going to be stronger.

Marielle Berg 

The next thing to think about is long term versus short term goals. So I think about this one, as you know, Emotion Mind versus Wise Mind. Because very often, when we are solely focused on short term goals, that can be Emotion Mind, and we sort of forget about the longer goal, or the longer term thing that’s important to us. So something to think about, and something to ask yourself is will not asking for what you want, keep the peace now, but create problems in the long run? And if so, then you want to ask more strongly.

Marielle Berg 

And my guess is Ed, not to put you on the spot. But to put you on the spot, as someone who maybe doesn’t ask, as much as would be effective in some of your relationships, it might sort of keep the peace now. But in the long, long term, my guess is at times that kind of backfires.

Ed Fowler 

Completely.

Marielle Berg 

And then you also want to think about is giving in to keep the peace right now more important than the long term welfare of the relationship? Will you eventually regret or resent saying no? If no, then say no more strongly. So I think that we can sort of forget about the longer term goals, and maybe it’s okay in the moment to not ask for something, or to not say no. And that’s really what we want to do, because it just feels like it will keep things going smoothly in the moment. But that over the long term that will have a corrosive effect, probably on your self respect and the relationship.

Ed Fowler 

So the the eighth factor, eight out of 10, so we’re getting towards the end of discussing these factors, and then we’ll do some examples, is this concept of give and take. Do you do things for the other person? Do they do things for you? It kind of relates to the relationship issue I talked about a couple of minutes ago, like really thinking about not just like, is this question appropriate to our relationship, but really like, is there a give and take in the relationship?

Ed Fowler 

Because if there’s a give and take, then yeah, you ask more firmly. If there’s not, then you decrease the intensity of your ask. Same with saying no. Do you do more for the other person than they do for you? Then you you might say no, a little more firmly than if they do a lot more for you and you don’t do as much for them, and they’re asking for something, maybe you’re not going to say no so firmly or even say yes.

Marielle Berg 

And then there’s just two more things to consider. And one of them is homework, meaning have you done your homework? Do you have all the facts you need to support your request? Are you clear about what you want? This is a thing that can come up, also very regularly. You’re not sure about what you want, or you have competing wants and needs and you’re not sure how to weigh them out.

Marielle Berg 

But if you are clear about what you want, then ask more strongly. If someone’s asking you to do something, is the other person’s request clear or unclear? Do you know what you’re agreeing to? Sort of like getting the facts, doing some of the homework first and perhaps pausing before you respond. If you don’t know what you’re agreeing to, obviously, say no more strongly, because you need more homework, you need more information. And then we just have one more.

Ed Fowler 

Which is timing. Is this a good time to ask? Is the person in the mood for this request and really paying attention, and considering it? Are you catching them at a good time or are not so good time? So if this is a good time to ask, increase the intensity, if it’s like, they’re in a really horrible mood, and they’re stressed out, and they’re probably just gonna say no, because of that mood, then maybe you you either wait or decrease the intensity.

Ed Fowler 

Same thing was saying no, you know, if somebody is going through a really hard time, and saying, No, we’ll just be one more thing that will be hard, then maybe you’re going to decrease the intensity of your no. And so you’re thinking about, is this a good time to ask or say no?

Marielle Berg 

Now that we’ve laid out all the factors, let’s do a couple of examples. And I have one I want to start with. And I’m hoping Ed, you can lead me through the different questions to ask, and then we can come up with an intensity. Like how, and this is one related to me, kind of wanting to say no to a request that’s been made of me.

Ed Fowler 

Let’s think this through. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the situation that you need to say no in?

Marielle Berg 

A very dear friend has asked me to watch their dog while they’re out of town. And for a variety of reasons, I’m not excited about doing this.

Ed Fowler 

I was, as you were saying, I was like, Oh, you want to say no.

Ed Fowler 

Okay, so let’s think it through using those 10 categories. So the first factor to consider is capability. Can you give the person what they’re asking for?

Marielle Berg 

Essentially, yes. I will be around the dates that they need me to do this. I am not the best with dogs, but I can manage a dog for a short while.

Ed Fowler 

Okay. So you have some capability here? Yes. What about priorities? Is your relationship more important than saying no?

Marielle Berg 

Yes, my relationship is definitely more important than saying no.

Ed Fowler 

Okay.

Ed Fowler 

And what about self respect? Will saying no, make you feel bad about yourself?

Marielle Berg 

It’s so interesting, because I don’t have the guilt response that you were talking about earlier, Ed, and we know we have people we work with who will feel guilty when they say no. I won’t feel that. But I might have some thoughts of, I don’t know, that maybe I’m not a really good friend.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Marielle Berg 

So I think it will make me feel a little bit bad about myself.

Ed Fowler 

Okay.

Ed Fowler 

And what about rights? Like, are you required to watch this person’s dog?

Marielle Berg 

No.

Ed Fowler 

By law or moral code? Okay. So there’s no law that you have to watch people’s dogs. Okay.

Marielle Berg 

Not yet, and hopefully there will never be.

Ed Fowler 

Well, we’ll keep that at the forefront of our legislative agendas, making sure Marielle doesn’t have to be obligated to watch people’s dogs.

Ed Fowler 

What about authority? Is the other person responsible for telling you what to do?

Marielle Berg 

No.

Ed Fowler 

Right. That would be you know, this is a close friend, this isn’t like a boss or something like that.

Marielle Berg 

Yeah.

Ed Fowler 

And what about relationship is what the person is requesting appropriate to your relationship with this person?

Marielle Berg 

I think so. Yeah.

Ed Fowler 

Okay.

Marielle Berg 

We’ve known each other a long time. I think it makes sense.

Ed Fowler 

And goals in the long term, will you regret saying no?

Marielle Berg 

No, I don’t think so.

Ed Fowler 

Okay. So in long term, it will be okay to say no, not just short term. What about give and take? Do you owe this person a favor?

Marielle Berg 

I don’t think I owe them a favor. But I feel like they do a fair amount for me. And I do a fair amount for them. Like we we have, I feel like, a pretty even give and take.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Marielle Berg 

But I don’t owe them a favor right now.

Ed Fowler 

Right. Okay.

Ed Fowler 

And then do – homework. Do you know what you’re saying no to? Have they been clear in their request?

Marielle Berg 

Yes, I know the dates. I know what’s required. I know the specific health conditions the dog is going through. So yes, I do have all the facts I need.

Ed Fowler 

Okay.

Ed Fowler 

And then timing. Should you wait a while before saying no? Or is this a good time to say no?

Marielle Berg 

They need an answer, so I should not wait. So no, I should not wait a while.

Ed Fowler 

Okay. So thinking those through, there were a couple of those that like it was really clear that you, you know, saying no made sense. But mostly it’s kind of like this doesn’t sound like a situation where you want a really firm no. You kind of fall on the less intense end. How does that sound to you?

Marielle Berg 

I think that fits. And in our DBT skills workbook that I’m looking at right now, one of the options like the lower level options, maybe at a number four, on a scale of one to 10, in terms of how strongly to say no. That would be, for me to do it, but show that I’d rather not. And that I feel like that really fits. I don’t want to do it enthusiastically, because then maybe I will be asked over and over.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Marielle Berg 

And I think this also can be a tricky one for people because they think well, isn’t that sort of manipulative, or passive aggressive? But I actually think there is a way for me to do it, but just not be real excited about it. And that that communicates something, right?

Ed Fowler 

Like, you don’t need to go to the level of saying I really don’t want to do this. Right? But you, I think it makes sense. You don’t want to say sure, absolutely. Because then you might get asked again, and you would prefer not to be asked if you can avoid it. Okay, so was that helpful?

Marielle Berg 

Yes, I feel like working through that, and asking all those questions helps me feel more confident in how to say no. And to remind myself that it isn’t always just a yes or no, that there’s there’s sort of an in between, I’m going to do it, but I’m communicating something in terms of my lack of excitement about doing this.

Ed Fowler 

Right, right.

Marielle Berg 

And so let’s, let’s try the how strongly to ask for something. Do you want to tell us the thing you want to ask for Ed?

Ed Fowler 

Yeah. So I’ve talked to you before about how, like I do struggle to ask for things, even in, you know, relationships where it’s really important. And like, I have a bunch of stuff, I have to move out of my apartment, and I’m needing some help with it. And I have a maintenance person in my building, who regularly helps people move stuff out of their apartments. And I’m really hesitant to ask.

Marielle Berg 

Just have me come over. I can do that for you.

Ed Fowler 

So now we’ve totally switched to Marielle, how strongly do you want to say yes or no? I do think that while I, and this is how I think, Marielle, you’re playing into my struggles, is oh, good. I don’t have to ask the maintenance person who’s probably going to be more than happy to help. I can just ask Marielle and she’ll do it. And so I do think it will be valuable for me to think about asking this person who I’m hesitant, and I don’t know that my hesitancy is warranted.

Marielle Berg 

Okay. So the first thing is capability. Is this person able to give or do what you want?

Ed Fowler 

Yes, definitely.

Marielle Berg 

The next one is relationship. Is getting my objective more important than my relationship with this person?

Ed Fowler 

Oh, that’s a that’s a tricky one. Because my gut is to say, no, the relationship is more important. But the reality is, I need to get this stuff out, and I need help. So actually, I do think the objective is more important than the relationship in this circumstance, even though the relationship is important. And I’m not, again, not asking for something that’s unreasonable. So the objective is more important.

Marielle Berg 

This relationship, it’s not someone you’re really close to?

Ed Fowler 

No, no.

Marielle Berg 

The next thing to think about is will asking helped me feel more competent and self respecting?

Ed Fowler 

Yes, yes, I need practice asking for help.

Marielle Berg 

I feel like it’s much better to be a person who has a hard time asking for things., and that, rather than being the demanding one.

Ed Fowler 

No, you don’t

Marielle Berg 

I have a judgement about that.

Ed Fowler 

Let me just tell you, No, it’s not.

Marielle Berg 

Each side probably has its’ set of flaws.

Ed Fowler 

I feel like, it’s so much easier to just be able to say, hey, I need help.

Marielle Berg 

So it’s the person required by law or moral code to do or give me what I want?

Ed Fowler 

No, I mean, again, this is something I can ask for. It’s not actually like a defined thing where they’re required to do it.

Marielle Berg 

Okay, the next one is around authority. Am I responsible for telling the person what to do?

Ed Fowler 

No, I’m not.

Marielle Berg 

The next one is about the the relationship. Is what I want appropriate for the relationship? Is it right to ask for what I want?

Ed Fowler 

Yes. This is something that the maintenance person in the building does this all the time. It’s just kind of part of what their role is. So yeah.

Marielle Berg 

Yeah. So you’re firmly in it’s firmly sort of appropriate. It’s kind of part of their job.

Ed Fowler 

Yeah.

Marielle Berg 

Is asking important to a long term goal?

Ed Fowler 

I mean, again, I do think it’s important for me to practice asking, so yes.

Marielle Berg 

I also can think of other long term goals for you that maybe like protecting some physical injuries you’ve had.

Ed Fowler 

Totally. Absolutely. I didn’t even think about that. Like, no, I can just drag it out and hurt myself. No, yeah, you’re right.

Marielle Berg 

Do I give as much as I get with this person?

Ed Fowler 

Yes, I do.

Marielle Berg 

Okay. The next one is about homework. Do I know what I want, and have the facts I need to support my request?

Ed Fowler 

Actually, do I know exactly what I need help with and, you know, have timeframes for doing it. So yeah.

Marielle Berg 

So this is turning out to be a pretty strong ask. So the last question, I mean, really, is this a good time to ask?

Ed Fowler 

Yes, yeah. Cause I need to get it done. And the person is definitely available. So.

Marielle Berg 

So that means you said yes to eight of the 10 questions.

Ed Fowler 

Right.

Ed Fowler 

And so if we look at our, our list in the workbook, it says ask firmly, resist no. And so for me, that makes sense, I think. In terms of asking firmly, it’s just I need to just ask and be clear. And if the person, and I already know, if he can’t do it, he’s gonna say I can’t do it on this day, I can do it on that day. And then, you know, that’s, that’s totally doable. So that makes a lot of sense. And it helps me going through that list to be clear, like, this is so appropriate to ask, it’s worth it to ask, I just need to do it.

Marielle Berg 

So for you, it removed some of the hesitancy. Like, should I, shouldn’t I? I don’t feel good about it. It’s like, oh, yeah, no, I have, I have every right to ask in a firm kind of way.

Ed Fowler 

It checks my emotion mind. You know, like, the emotion is like, Oh, I don’t want to bother him. He does so much. He’s so busy. And the reality is, I already know, I’ve done this before, he’s going to be so excited to be able to help. It’s like, yes, let me help you. So I think that it’s, and I don’t ask for a lot. So some people in my building do ask for a lot and he doesn’t like to help them as much. So I know, this is like helps me check that emotional like, oh, no, it’s gonna bother him. When that’s just Emotion Mind. The reality is this is totally reasonable.

Marielle Berg 

Right, and what you said was that you don’t ask for a lot, but other people in the building do, it makes me think of the give and take. Which maybe isn’t quite the same, because you’re not actually giving to him, probably much. But you’re not, you’re not asking of him regularly the way other people might do.

Ed Fowler 

Right, exactly.

Marielle Berg 

Alright, so those are all the different factors to consider. And we hope that our examples, were helpful in getting you to think about your interpersonal interactions and how strongly you want to ask for things, or how intensely you want to say no.

Ed Fowler 

And so I think for for people who have the skills workbook, it’s good to look at this stuff and ask these questions of yourself, especially if you have something that you’re struggling with asking or saying no to. And if you don’t have the skills book, just like think about what are different factors to consider? How do I get some facts about the situation so that I’m making a decision that’s balanced about how intensely to ask and recognize there’s variations? I don’t have to either say no firmly or don’t say no at all. I don’t have to either demand or don’t even ask, like, there’s lots of possibilities and I want to think it through.

Marielle Berg 

Absolutely. And on that note, maybe we’ll end here.

Ed Fowler 

Great.

Marielle Berg 

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. To learn more, or if you’re in the Bay Area and want to get started with therapy, you can find us online at bayareadbtcc.com. That’s BayAreaDBTCC.com.