How to get what you want in life
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How to get what you want in life

Being shunned for refusing to serve alcohol at a baby’s birthday party. Getting into a fight over taking excessive pictures of the Roman Coliseum. Making fun of your ex’s girlfriend because of the way she dances. 

People really get themselves into some wacky situations, don’t they?

On the latest episode of Am I The Bleep?!, the Jonathans get into all sorts of weird disputes and decide, once and for all, whether or not the people involved are a--holes for having the beliefs they do. If you want to hear it straight from the hosts’ mouths, give that episode a listen now. 

Otherwise, if you want to know how not to be an a--hole when you’re in a disagreement with someone, here are some tips for getting what you really want out of life, instead of losing sight of your true goals and desires, and how to get people to do what you want (in a healthy way… instead of a manipulative one). 

How to get what you want (and be a good person while doing it)

Start by assigning positive intent 

Once we reach a certain age, all of us come sort of “pre-loaded” into the world. We’re chock-full of past beliefs, stories, exchanges, experiences, dispositions, judgments and prejudices. It’s pretty much impossible for us to see things one hundred percent objectively, which can make arguments harder than they should be.

The best remedy? When you disagree with someone, start by assigning positive intent within them. That means really, truly believing that they want what they want for a good reason. Forget whether or not you like this person, or if you’ve been in previous conflicts with one another. 

Assigning positive intent is the first, and arguably most crucial, part of actually getting what you want. It creates a blank slate for the two of you to communicate, and prevents you from making judgments about someone that might not be fair.

Show up to the conversation 

A conversation is an exercise in communication. And, just like soccer practice, if you don’t show up for a conversation, you’re not going to get any better at communicating. 

The next time you have “that same old argument,” approach it like you’ve never had it before. Try and hear your friend, family member or partner’s words for the first time. How would you respond if you were someone else? If you weren’t involved?

Be willing to be flexible

Nobody wants to be wrong. But sometimes, being wrong (or letting go of the need to be right) is the key to getting what you want. 

Think about it. What do you really want out of your marriage? Do you want to be right about who does the dishes better… or do you want to be happy with the person you hold in your arms every night?

What do you want out of a friendship? Do you want to be right about your friend de-prioritizing your relationship because of a stressful work life? Or do you want to be happy with the lovely moments you do get to spend with a lifelong companion who’s clearly overbooked and overworked?

In order to be happy, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. Just think about it this way: are they actually sacrifices… if you’re getting what you want in the end?

Get creative about solutions

Sometimes we fail to see just how creative we can be. If you’re at an impasse in an argument, think about some out-of-the-box solutions you can try. 

Does the answer to your disagreement have to be black and white? Or is there room for shades of grey?

Instead of grounding your son for staying out past curfew, try extending his curfew in exchange for help with a few more chores around the house. Instead of telling your spouse they spend too much time on the phone with their sister, try going for a walk each day during your partner’s calls. Instead of arguing with your in-laws about why you didn’t buy booze for the family function, try gently setting new expectations for the next get-together.  

Creativity kills arguments, if you let it. 

Stop assuming 

Above all, it’s assumptions that destroy relationships, breed resentment and create conflict. The moment we assume something bad about the person we’re disagreeing with, we invite discord into our lives.

By contrast, getting what you want starts with seeing the possibilities in others. What are they capable of? What can I do for them that will make both of us happier? How can I try and see our relationship in a new light?

If you don’t think this works, we promise you—it does. And besides, if not seeing eye to eye with others was working for you lately, then you wouldn’t be here in the first place… now would you?

More on this in our Am I The Bleep?! podcast! (Or, book a phone call with us to talk through your latest disagreement!). 

AITA for telling my best friend his girlfriend is disgusting?

Writing copy for podcasts is hard. You have to listen to yourself speak...again and again and again for another 40+ minutes to find the part where you said something witty that will translate to you, the listener. It's like the worst answering machine type experience in the world and I WILL NOT HAVE IT TODAY!

So rather than me going through HELL, it's your turn. Listen to today's episode of, Am I the Bleep!?! where Dr. Jonathan Rom and Jonathan Friedman read posts from the titular thread, Am I the Asshole? and coach the posters right then and there.

Today's posts include the following:

AITA for telling my best friend his gf is disgusting?

AITA for not wanting to take my wife’s photos?

AITA for not serving alcohol at my baby's 1st birthday party?

Listen to it, love it and hold these moments close...they are what defines us.