Does he make requests or demands?

by Dating Goddess on November 1, 2011

You can tell a lot about someone’s mindset by his word choice. How does he express his thoughts? By conscious, considerate language? Or disrespectful speech?

Perhaps I’m being nitpicky, but I believe how someone expresses him/herself reflects their attitudes toward others. I’m sensitive to whether someone invites or requests me to do something or commands (demands?) it from me.

In my exercise class, we have a routine to a song where the singer says, “Slide on over here, baby” entreating the woman to slide over on the couch to be next to him. Whenever I hear that, I think, “Why doesn’t he slide himself over to her?” He doesn’t say, “Would you slide on over here” or “Please slide on over here” or “I’d love to have you here next to me” — it’s a command, not a request. (Of course, part of the communication is via voice tone.)

I understand that in many people’s mind this could be considered a request. She wouldn’t slide over if she didn’t want to. He’s testing to see if she wants to cuddle up next to him, rather than him aggressively plunking himself next to her when she may not want that.

Let’s imagine that “Slide on over here, baby” is how the singer would phrase it in real life, without having to worry about song structure. If a man uses commands for requests, he’s seeing if he can get you to do what he wants without asking or inviting. If you do, he knows he has the upper hand.

Some men consider requests to be unmasculine. Asking seems so, well, wimpy. Couching an invitation in a command is much more manly, he thinks.

And some women like a man who “takes control.” They have a sub/dom relationship, even if it is non-aggressive. The women actually like a man who tells them what to do, and there are plenty of men who want a woman who will do what he tells her.

I’m not one of them. I bristle when a man tells makes too many commands when a request would be welcomed. I can tolerate an occasional one when it is for my safety or well being, but a regular diet of commands is off-putting.

Where are you on the command/request scale? Does it bother you or do you not mind? Are you more of a “teller” or “asking” when requesting behavior from another?

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Dating after 40: In Search of King CharmingWhat else should you look for in your special guy? Read more in In Search of King Charming: Who Do I Want to Share My Throne?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach November 8, 2011 at 8:51 am

DG – this is a very interesting post! I agree that you can tell a lot about a person from their use of language. I also think there’s a time and place for everything.

Instead of your “slide on over here baby” example, let’s look at a different one. What if a man asks, “Can I kiss you?” Some women might be fine with that. However, many would feel awkward. They’d prefer he just took a shot to kiss rather than making them say “Yes” first before he plants his lips.

I get it that independent women don’t want to be ordered around. I love the line from an old favorite movie “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith. She yells at her boyfriend, telling him, “I am not steak. You cannot just order me.” (I know that’s close).

On the other hand, many independent women want a man who is an alpha male; a man who can lead, take charge, and – act like a man. Is it realistic to expect an alpha male to be ultra considerate and rephrase all his thoughts as requests?

To me, if a good man get’s it right most of the time, let’s cut him a little slack and “slide over”. All relationships require some compromise right?

Dating Goddess November 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Yes, Ronnie Ann, all relationships require compromise. I was merely pointing out a clue that might disclose he’s controlling, but of course it is only one clue you have to take in context of all the clues.

Re: men not asking for a kiss, please see the post at http://www.datinggoddess.com/permission-based-dating-over-40/. I totally agree with Mike that there is nothing to lose with asking and a lot to gain. I’ve been kissed by lots of men who I didn’t want to kiss me. It was awkward, to say the least.

Re: independent women wanting an alpha male — not necessarily. In fact, I’m invited to do a webinar in Dec. with the UK’s go-to woman on female breadwinners discussing this and other elements of dating. Stay tuned for details and please join us. It should be a lively discussion!

Karen November 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Well I really dislike it when men ask, “can I kiss you”? Because duh, it should be obvious one way or the other. As in, if you have to ask, the answer is probably “no”.

Dating a lot now in midlife since my divorce, I’m coming around more and more to the idea that I really really don’t want a guy who is incapable of reading basic social cues.

Because let’s face it–we live our lives in a social soup–and this is more important when you’re looking for someone at midlife. He may be a “diamond in the rough” and a “great provider” while being socially clueless but at this point in my life I don’t need either a baby Daddy or provider–I want someone who is fun to hang out with, and do social things with together with other friends. Being with a totally socially clueless guy would be a big problem for me.

So, after spending most of my life making excuses for being with men who had no manners, I’m finally giving in and “judging” harshly the guys who act like clods–either when they’re being borderline rude by ordering rather than asking, or when they’re unable to tell if I even like them or not (I am not that coy or subtle!) and/or if the situation is an appropriate one for a kiss. Same to the guys on the online dating sites who put refuse to put up even 1 picture or who email me rude come-on’s—dude, get a clue or I’m not going to bother with you.

Dating Goddess November 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi Karen: Good points. But you and I have different definitions of clod. I think a man is a clod who misinterprets my being nice to him as my wanting to kiss him. I’d much rather have a man ask — I think it’s respectful.

In my friend Mike’s presentations, he proves that people are really guessing when they “read” someone’s body language. I have to agree. I minored in non-verbal communication in college and it really is a guessing game. I’d rather have someone respectfully ask rather than assuming he’s reading me right. Even socially adept, intelligent, conscious folks don’t guess right every time.

bookyone November 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

Having dated both types of men (alphas and betas) over the years, I can honestly say I prefer the betas, as I’ve found they tend to be more considerate of my feelings and IMHO more secure in many ways than the alphas, as it takes a confident, secure man to treat an independent minded woman as an equal, deserving of respect and consideration, and not a sex object or second class citizen.

Cheers,

carmen.wright November 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm

There’s a time and place for everything. “The right timing.”
Nice blog.

chelsey king November 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

This is very interesting post. I like the thought that somebody or there are people that are sensitive in the choosing the words they say. I believe that what you say is what you are. Your choice of words reflects your own personality.

Curvycool November 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I have had men ask if they could kiss me and I like it. I like nerds and expect some awkwardness early on in a relationship. If he is still asking me this later in an established relationship I would have a problem. In the getting to know each other phase asking is good.

Richard November 22, 2011 at 5:03 am

How about a compromise? At the right moment, the guy “asks” if he can kiss you, but it is more like a telegraphing his intentions (a romantic way of saying you are beautiful), than permission. That gives you a moment to disengage (if you don’t want the kiss), and if you stay, or say yes, then proceeds.

Lynn Williams December 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Interesting question. Well I certainly can see how “If you don’t mind me asking, how would you feel about sliding a little closer to me?” wouldn’t fit into song lyrics too easily. lol.

I sometimes like both styles of communication. It really depends on my mood and each individual situation. Also if I know I am with a genuinely good guy who respects me, I can take what he says much more lightheartedly.

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