Don’t want to cook tonight?
Try this simple approach for getting your husband to take you out to dinner.
(I’ve written this post with my husband in mind, but these steps work equally well for partners of any gender.)
6 Steps: Your Ticket to a Dinner Out
You’ve walked in the door of your home at 5:45 after a long day at work. You don’t feel like cooking and you’d love to have your partner take you out to dinner.
Follow each of these six steps and you’re likely to get what you want. Each step starts with a simple sample sentence for you to try.
Step 1. Take time to focus your attention.
“Honey, I’m home. Whew…it’s hot (or cold or rainy) outside. How was your day?”
Yes, start with the weather or the traffic or any other bland subject. And chit-chat until you can feel your attention and that of your significant other come together.
Caution: Never begin with how crummy your day was or how tired you are or the fact that there’s not much to cook.
Step 2. Set the stage for a conversation about dinner.
“Let’s figure out what we want to do for dinner tonight.”
With this simple sentence, you’ve nudged the conversation topic to dinner. Notice that you still haven’t said that you’d like to go out. All you’ve done is to ask to have a conversation about dinner.
Step 3. Find out what’s on your partner’s mind about dinner.
“What are you hungry for?”
This is not a yes/no question. This question asks your partner to check in with himself and to imagine what would taste good.
Once again, you’re not saying what you want. Instead, you’re finding out what he might want so you can shape your request so that it serves his desires too.
Here’s the important point!
Getting what you want from someone usually depends on your ability to shape your request in terms of what they want.
Now, imagine that your partner replies, “I’m hungry for a steak.”
How will you respond?
Step 4. Shape your request in the context of your partner’s desire.
“Mmmm. I’m hungry for steak too. How about that new steakhouse down the road?”
With this response, you’ve shaped your request in the context of what your partner wants. And by doing that…BINGO… you’ve greatly increased the chances that he’ll say yes.
But even after he’s said “yes,” you’re not done yet.
Step 5. Figure out how to proceed.
“What time do you think we should go? 7:30? Should I call for a reservation?”
In this step, you are exploring the specifics and figuring out what needs to be done to confirm the decision to eat out.
Step 6. Confirm the plan and clarify the next steps.
“Hey, I made reservations for us at 7:30. Let’s be ready to go at 7:15. Why don’t you drive.”
In this final this step, you tie it all down and specify what comes next.
Asking in a Way that Works
This simple 6-step model works remarkably well as long as you frame what you want (in this case, a dinner out) in the context of the other person’s desires.
Seems too simple?
While this example shows the model at its simplest, you’ll be surprised to find how well it works even when your husband isn’t quite so cooperative.
NOTE: I’ve had some questions about whether this approach to getting what you want is manipulative. To see the answer, check out my response in this post.
Ask Your Partner to Take You Out to Dinner
The next time you’re itching to eat out with your partner, try the six step method outlined above and see what happens. Memorize the steps or write down them on an index card. Practice them out loud by yourself. You should, of course, use your own words. But be sure you stay true to the essence of each step.
How do you think your partner will respond when you use this approach? Tell us in the comments.