"Good Luck with That!"

My son and I were having lunch at a local cafe and overheard a very thought provoking conversation. We admit it, we were eavesdropping. Unbeknownst to the other, we had both been trying really hard not to listen, but we found ourselves unintentional partners in duplicity. We later agreed, short of sticking our fingers in our ears, it was impossible to avoid, and fingers in our ears seemed way more rude than inadvertent listening. 

Anyway, the couple was having an intense "couple" conversation. The gal started off by saying she'd like her partner to do everything she wanted him to do, and she'd like him to do it exactly the way, and when, she wanted it done. (Bully for her!) And she thought it best if she didn't have to ask him to do anything. (What?) Lucky for us, she continued to thoughtfully explain her position. Her reasoning was that people are happier to do things for other people when they haven't been asked and just do it on their own accord. (Hmmmm!)

Up to this point, my son and I had both been doing our best to act nonchalant and enjoy each other's company. But who were we kidding, we were mesmerized by their discussion. At this point, my son, astounded by her presumption,  stopped mid bite,  looked at me, raised his eyebrow and said, "Yeah, good luck with that!" He nailed it. 

First off, it's perfectly reasonable to want people to do everything we want them to do. However, we also may want to set realistic expectations around getting that and be sure not to replace our want with a should. It is not true that people should do everything we want them to, nor is it all that likely. And that's just fine. Our getting what we want isn't dependent upon a particular person giving it to us. 

Second, it's equally reasonable and admirably optimistic to want people to carry out our wishes exactly the way we desire. And we enhance our chances for getting that by expressing our specific wishes and explicitly describing the desired results. We also may want to choose between having it done "our way" and having it done by someone else. 

The last part of her plan is where the train is going to fall off the tracks. With this approach, she is setting herself and her partner up for frustration and disappointment. Unless one is a master at mind control like Obi Wan Kenobi,  "These aren't the droids you are looking for." or in a relationship with a mind reader, everyone is going to have to explicitly ask for what they want from another individual.