The Plague of “Do You Want To…” As An Invitation or Imperative.
Why I stopped saying “do you want to?”
Parent asks child: “Do you want to wash the dishes?”
Boss asks a direct report: “Do you want to take care of that?”
Date asks date: “Do you want to pass the salt?”
Sibling asks sibling: “Do you want to get carrots for me when you go to the store?”
Endless scenarios of people using this construction, INQUIRING about another’s DESIRE … when REALLY what they are communicating is a REQUEST or a DIRECTIVE.
We avoid the imerpative because we don’t want to be seen as bossy or commanding. Or we lack the authority. Or we’re afraid of our own authority.
AND becuase it’s SCARY to make an ACTUAL request, because requests can get REJECTED … and then the rejected requestor has to deal with rejection as a possible reflection of something about them (even though it’s not).
By relocating desire from THEMSELVES to making it a matter of the person they are (asking), then they aren’t dealing with rejection, they are dealing with the factual reality of “oh, that person didn’t want to do …”
But that’s not REALLY COMFORTING.
Because inside, you’re STILL ROBBED that you didn’t ask for what you want.
Parents. OF COURSE your kids DO NOT WANT to wash the dishes.
So WTF are you asking if they do?
The fact is, YOU WANT them to wash them. You WANT their contribution. You WANT to feel their love for you and their respect for you in their WILLINGNESS to say YES to something they DON’T WANT. So ASK THEM. And be ready to deal with if they say NO. “Will you wash the dishes tonight?” “No.” Ok, now what? You have a real matter to negotiate on your hands.
“Do you want to wash the dishes?” “No.”
… crickets …
There wasn’t action on the table anyway. A pointless conversation.
LOVE is service rendered and received.
By NOT ASKING, and instead using this weird deceptive form of imperative construction or masquerading a request as an inquiry, you are DENYING yourself the opportunity to be loved.
“Do you want want to wash the dishes?” “YEs!”
Now you’re stuck with … well, I’m NOT sure if s/he is washing the dishes … FOR ME. Because s/he said s/he WANTED TO.
“Will you wash the dishes?” “Ugh, I don’t want to. And I will.”
BOOM. THERE is a communication of love.
“Do you want to go on a date with me?” “Do you want to marry me?”
WHO CARES what the (hypothetical) exchange of info is.
WILL you go on a date with me?
WILL you marry me?
You’ll KNOW soon enough whether they REALLY want to by the willingness to accept a commitment to ACTION … AND again in the follow through.
So . . .
if i EVER ask “do you want to . . . ” it is 100% ONLY the case of that language, that I am inquiring for another’s desire. I will NEVER intimate a request or an imperative with “do you …” I will ALWAYS . . . . . A S K.
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