“How has your weekend been?” I asked her as we chatted during the last night of a 4 day festival in Mexico this last weekend. “Did you do everything you wanted to do?”
“Yes!” She smiled wide. “I had so much fun, and can’t really think of anything that’s missing from my experience.” She paused and reflected on her weekend for a moment, then looked back at me, “how about you?”
“Well,” I said, scrunching my eyebrows in a silly way, “I’ve done almost everything I wanted to do. There’s only one thing left.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“Well,” I repeated, this time with a smile, “there is this really cute girl that I was hoping to kiss before I left.”
She smiled and giggled a little, “okay, I hope you get her tonight!”
I shrugged and looked playfully into her eyes, “me too, but that’s kind of up to you..”
She paused and tried to figure out what I meant. Then, suddenly, smiled. “Do you mean me?” She asked with a giggle.
I simply kept my playful smile and nodded at her.
“Sure!” She said. She was a great kisser.
But this isn’t an article about kissing, or to brag about how much fun that festival was (it was, though). It’s also not about polyamory (because yes, I am still married, but my wife and I are polyamorous – and she was fully aware and okay with what I was doing).
This is an article about why playfully asking for what you want can be the most powerful way to get it.
Many influence-coaches often focus on things like value, social status, determination, being firm and unwavering and so on.
And while it certainly is important to ask confidently and to own what you want, a lot of times a touch of playfulness will change the situation to the better.
You see, playfulness often brings with it a couple of elements that these other things don’t:
1. Comfort and trust.
Playfulness often inspires a sense of comfort and trust. We humans instinctively think that if someone is being playful, they aren’t a threat. This makes us feel more at ease, and trust that going along with this person will be perfectly safe.
2. A built-in escape.
Someone who asks you for something with intensity is more likely to be upset if turned down, but someone who asks you with playfulness will usually seem like they’re more likely to accept the turn-down with a smile. This, ironically, makes people more inclined to say yes – because they feel less pressure, and it’s natural for humans to resist pressure.
So this girl could’ve just as easily laughed and said no to my cheesy invitation and we could have both experienced the whole interaction as something fun and silly. She wouldn’t have needed to feel bad for saying no because we were just having fun together, and I wouldn’t have had to reassure her that saying no was ok.
I use this technique a lot in my personal life.
When I needed to put air in the tires of my car yesterday and didn’t have coins for the air pump at the gas station, I playfully asked the attendant how much candy I’d have to buy and hide from my wife for him to turn on the pump for me (they have a button behind the counter). He laughed and turned it on for free.
When the ticket girl at the movie theater discovered the ice cream I was sneaking in to the movie, I playfully asked how closely she would inspect me if I went to put in in my car, but came back with a big bulge in my pants. She laughed and told me to just make sure her manager didn’t see me bring it in.
The comfort and sense of ease that comes from playfulness can do a lot for us.
It makes people more inclined to bend the rules for us. It helps them feel more comfortable with our requests. And it inspires more people to say yes – because after all, we all like doing things for (and with) people we like.
So practice your playful requests and bring them out any time there’s no real necessity for seriousness. Then thank me later 😉