MOAR BOOK HELP, it’s question time again!

i’m hunkered editing and editing and trying not to add. currently at over 150k words trying to cut this fucker down to 80 or 90k. here’s some pictures of my boring editing life at the moment, in a secret book-batcave in new york where it is just me and jamy ian swiss (the book-doula) and our FUCKING BOOK DISCO PARTY 24/7!!



SO…the questions…

what do you think men have a hard time asking for?


what do you think women have a hard time asking for?

think deeply about this.

it’s a trick question.



personal insights and aha moments, as well as links to articles and statistics will be particularly helpful.

get deep people.

Back to Blog
  • hellothefuture


    • Anon

      And what some people never asked for either.

  • Ksenia Anske

    What do I think men have a hard time asking for? LOVE. They’re not supposed to ask for it, they’re supposed to “win it”, or so they’re taught. What do I think women have a hard time asking for? LOVE. They’re not supposed to ask for it, they’re supposed to “inspire it”, or so they’re taught. We all want to ask for LOVE, and we’re all afraid, women, men, all in the same way, maybe only slightly different, based on what society teaches us is appropriate to ask for or not.

    Could you walk up to a stranger, no matter her or his gender, or color of skin, or clothes, and ask for LOVE? Just like that, come up and say: “May I ask for your LOVE?” Think about it. You probably won’t be able to. You’ll probably appear crazy. You know what, I will try this today. Ask strangers for love. See what happens.

    • Amanda Palmer


      • Ksenia Anske


  • Bryt

    The truth.

  • Mike S

    The classic one (and in sharp relief with Zoe’s husband) is that men are very poor about asking about our health; women are far more proactive – so asking “What’s wrong with me?” We’re not supposed to ask for emotional support, either.

  • Sibyl

    I think both genders have a hard time asking for help. A universal fear of rejection and pride tends to cloud better judgment on occasion in both sexes.

  • Mcharles Gunn

    I think women have a hard time asking for independence.

    • Buffy17

      I was going to offer ‘permission to be themselves’ but the difficulty may lie in that we’re afraid of asking others – often but not always men – when the only person that can grant that permission is ourselves. And in a way that’s scarier, as we (all, male, female, whatever) hold the power to be ourselves. Noone can give or deny it. It’s like a caged bird realising it’s had the key within its reach all along, but hesitating in case it can’t do freedom properly. Call the Fraud Police!

      Does that make sense?

      • Anon

        I think we all have a hard time with being broken-hearted. So much so that we forget the point.

  • Rob Godin

    I can’t claim to speak for all men, just for myself (as a man).
    I find it hard to ask for help. I don’t want to show my weakness. I’m insecure inside, but don’t want that shown outside. So I avoid asking for help, especially when I have made an error.
    Usually this leads to greater problems because I can’t fix the problem, but don’t ask others to fix it with/for me.

    • Anon

      If this was simply about food I would say your eyes were bigger than your stomach. End of Discussion.

  • xtine

    After spending today on social media insisting that your “art” doesn’t negate trans people
    you go and ask your fans to stereotype people according to their gender.

    • Rob Godin

      Don’t worry. I think is is going to reveal a clever point that both men and women list the same things on their lists…showing that all humans have the same issues regardless of gender. Just my guess

      • PerfectWorldInc

        Doubtful. Very.

    • CoinOperatedBear

      If you identify as a male, there is nothing stopping you from answering the first question. If you identify as a female, then you’re included in the second. If you want to work from a Plato’s Cave assumption, then you’re included as well. This question can lead to some very interesting answers and the debunking of stereotypes.

    • JenB

      Honestly, I may have missed something along the way, but I really don’t understand why this Amanda Palmer/transgender issue thing seems to be popping up in every single blog discussion. What is the deal here? To my understanding, Amanda is an artist in a country that allows and protects freedom of expression so she can more or less do whatever she wants. She is one of the most liberal artists around as far as what she chooses to express, particularly in terms of flexibility concerning gender, so maybe I’m lost here but I really don’t see what the problem is. Artists are artists. They use creativity to express different aspects of the human experience from their own experience. Because all people are different, different artists are going to express different things in different ways. The reason we live in a free society is because we have decided that this is a good thing. Running around asking people to censor themselves and/or justify every little thing they do in relation to any particularity or bias just seems counterproductive. If someone out there is not making art that reflects your particular biases, interests or objectives, why not put your own art out there? Rather than try to make another person more effectively reflect your own voice and interests in their work, why not make your own work that reflects your own voice?

      • x

        so because of “freedom of expression” you’re telling someone to shut up?

        • Patches

          My advice to people like JenB.

          Don’t be fooled by pretty music. And famous husbands. You are more than just that.

  • CoinOperatedBear

    I’m gonna go with the idea that men have a hard time asking for help. It took me years to admit that I needed some help with my mental health. The cultural/gender norm is that men are in charge and know what they’re doing at all times, this is, of course, bullshit. Of course, this cultural norm is why comedies with men who have no idea are so funny; we’re supposed to pity and laugh at them.

    We’re supposed to handle things.
    Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
    We’re raised, stupidly, to deny or burn away any sign of weakness.

  • Athene Numphe

    I think men have a hard time asking for emotional support. Mainly because society has told them they have to be strong and not show/give into “weak” emotions, either positive or negative ones.

    I think women have a hard time asking for things directly. They are taught to be polite and to excuse themselves, so they either ask in a round about way, or couch what they are saying in ways that make it sound more like a polite request or gives the other person an easy way to say no.

    • Anon

      I don’t think the word “no” means much to some people. I think they take whatever they feel they need. And they continue to make other people’s lives miserable. I think Amanda is trolling everyone about love more than adding something to the understanding of the definition. Some of her music is really important, but she is so different when it comes to everything else she stands for as a human being sometimes.

  • Cybeline

    I think a lot of us fail to ask for what we want because 1.) we never bother asking ourselves that question and 2.) what if the other person says ‘no, what you want isn’t important to me.’

    Regarding the first one: when I ask my husband if he can do that one thing around the house he’s been saying he’ll do all week, I’m not asking anymore if he can Do the Thing, I’m asking him to value his word, though I may not have realized yet that that’s what’s really bothering me, and I might also be afraid to express just that and make things into a bigger deal than they really are. And likewise when he asks if I can also get some things done also, sometimes what he’s really saying is that he wants a show of solidarity and maybe some acknowledgement that he’s done a good thing. If we could all just say these things to each other, and break it down like we’re in kindergarten, how much better would we all get along?

    Regarding the second: responses like those were the precursor to some of our biggest fights. We both had to learn to say, ‘please respect that I want or need something, even if you don’t understand it right now.’

  • @kateweb

    I think women have a hard time asking for professional respect and money. Not helped by a) constantly being told to “lean in” and that not getting those things is their fault and b) the fact that sometimes when they do ask, it backfires – eg Jill Abramson at the NYT.
    I suspect all human have difficulty asking for love, intimacy etc, but it seems to still be easier for men to ask for – and get – professional advancement/status than if is for women.

    • Anon

      I think women have a hard time with how they are perceived by others. And men have a hard time with their perception of everyone else.

  • miriam


    I am emerging right now from a tough emotional situation. I was — and still am — in love for two years with a man who feels very little emotion *ever*, and nothing, apparently, for me, and because of my feelings, and the physical rejection I got used to from him (and from my very first, tone-setting relationship partner, many years ago), I shut down my sexuality. It was partially a choice, partially a choice ignorantly made for me.

    Recently, I’ve felt an urge to do something different. I’m very young-looking still, and I turn 30 next year (I’m less-experienced in many ways than most people my age). I still feel conflicted internally, as my heart has not really moved on, but as the world around me is constantly changing, so am I, as immoveable as I feel, sometimes. I’ve decided being sexually active is something I’m deeply missing and want much more of in my life. But coming on to men is something I’m not familiar with doing, and I’ve since suffered some *more* rejection, and concluded that, while it may be a personal problem rather than a universal one, it is still difficult in our patriarchal society for women to ask for sex without being negatively viewed or labeled (“slut,” “needy,” blah blah).

    <— straight female, raised in a conservative religious environment of which i am no longer a part, in theory/politics extremely sexually liberal, but yet to thoroughly explore my sexuality.

  • Aaron J. Shay

    This is a trick question because not all women have the same needs.

    This is a trick question because not all men have the same needs.

    This is a trick question because there is more to gender and sex than “men” and “women.”

    This is a trick question because, in spite of all of these differences between us, we are all the same in basic, hidden and frightened ways.

    • Bryt


    • xtine

      It’s not a “trick” question. It’s a stupid question that accepts & perpetuates gender binaries.

      • Aaron J. Shay

        Amanda hasn’t shown her hand yet; I’m willing to withhold judgment until we see how she uses these responses.

        • SallyRide

          She doesn’t really read your responses. She is probably smoking a bong hit and passing out thinking very highly of her accomplishments of being a performer. I don’t even think she writes her own stuff here anymore. Just sayin.

      • Mike S

        I don’t think it is a trick question; but whether it is answered in a way that is assumed CIS, CIS, queer, trans…, and the spread of answers is information in its own part.

        I answered directly and early with what came first to mind. I’m a straight CIS and self confident, middle-aged male, but I am a product of my upbringing, and to that extent, the “conventional” gender roles. They seem to have a deeper programming on me than many of my other attitudes – My friend circle includes many poly, trans, gay and queer people, and I am a role player; character, sexuality and role are something I am very happy to accept flexibly, in an exploratory mode, and/or unconventionally.

        On the basis of admittedly limited sampling, there is a huge growth in the number of queer friends under about 25, and dilution of conventional roles. How that layers against “how a man is conventionally supposed to behave” is something I don’t have meaningful opinions about.

        The obvious bias here among my friends and the responders is that we are all AFP fans, and that is a pretty special group of people.

        • Anon

          I think people who use buzzy acronyms to describe others really do a great injustice to the spectrum of human potentiality and have a bad habit of over generalizing everyone. Calling someone an acronyms doesn’t humanize whatever problem you are trying to address either. You are a BIC TRS PLV TMYDF. And I hope you do something about that or else, man.

          • Mike S

            The basis of the thread was whether the original question was whether/how Amanda’s question represented an implicit traditional/conventional gender binary.

            As such, contrasting that against other, less conventional role descriptions that people may choose to personally and currently self-identify with is probably meaningful. I chose to label myself, as on reflection, that marking where I consider myself to be in the infinite spectrum of human response might be useful in terms of an assumed meta-question vs my own original direct response.

            I find it incredibly exciting that peoples’ behaviour and experience is spreading and opening out, but you have to call it something so you can contrast the change, and that’s hopefully from a behaviourist perspective, not a labelist one..

          • Anon

            Post Modernism and the whole concept of what you call “gender binaries” ended three decades ago. You should be happy.

            I don’t see anyone “spreading” or “opening” out. I see people led to believe a lie.

  • Becky Carroll

    Those are tricky questions, Amanda! Obviously no answer will suit everyone but generally I have some ideas.

    My husband’s mother had a 9 month battle with brain cancer this year and last and eventually passed away. He had numerous people offering help of all types and he would deny it all because he felt he “should” be able to handle it on his own. I would intercept these little offers of people made and say yes instead of no and they meant the world to him but he just couldn’t accept the help himself. I imagine the same thing would apply to him having to ask for emotional help instead of people offering it. That being said, this is not all men.

    From my experiences with female friends, I can’t seem to come up with a trend. What I do know is that all people have a hard time asking for things that make them vulnerable. That could be anything! For every person that is different…male or female.

  • Perio Zambopolis

    Men have a hard time asking for sex, or further, asking, “How can I make this better for you/me/us?” We are taught that the ritual of dating must occur first before thoughts of sex should even progress in our minds, but the nature of our beast (which I heard someone refer to as “the Silverback Theory”) is to conquer all sexual objects in our realm. Society has taught courtship and monogamy and marriage. I’m not trying to sound like a pig here. I’m not out to conquer every conquest within my eyesight. Sex has become taboo in American society, and we as humans have civilized ourselves away from our natural instinct.

  • Mario K

    Agree with Ksenia. In my case I’ve been going through a rough time and could use some affection from someone, but it’s extremely difficult to ask directly for it because we are supposed to be strong and even though a hug could make my whole day better I can´t get myself to ask for it. Or not being able to tell a male friend that you miss him because he might think you are attracted to him (which I’m not) and that would drive him farther away.

  • Ami

    Everything that matters. Especially when it matters most. Most people (regardless of gender) find it hard for asking for those things that they need the most whether it’s time, space, love, acceptance, etc. Most of the time they don’t know what they need enough to articulate it.

  • Annie Sikander

    I believe both genders have an equal amount of difficulty when asking for help, with small differences that englobe each person, regardless of whether they’re male, female, or everything else in between. Asking for help means hunkering down and admitting to your faults/that you don’t know something, and that’s usually a task equivalent to moving mountains for a lot of people.

  • arcane.nights

    Sex. Kidding, I think the hardest thing to ask for is someone’s approval.

    • Anon

      I think the hardest thing is not telling them you love them. But maybe that is just my situation.

  • pj

    I actually think questions about what people are afraid to give are more important because often the fear to ask is a learned response from asking and not receiving (rejection, abandonment). Most children are very open and honest and ready to ask. It is only through experience that they are taught they shouldn’t ask for certain things.

  • laminda

    Men have a hard time asking for directions. Women have a hard time asking for credit.

    • Anon

      Men have a hard time getting out of bad relationships. Women have a hard time going in.

  • Crystal

    I would think it would be the same right? We want to be important in the other’s life and be made to feel that is always the case. We need reassurance and refrain from asking for it for fear of looking needy. Of course, that also comes from us making them important to us as well and its hard to remember that and make it a priority.

    In relationships in my life that have failed, one of the biggest problems was that I unable to articulate my needs and what I had a problem with just simply because I was too close to it. I had to get a lot of space over a large chunk of time so I could come back and say “ok, this is what I was really trying to tell you…” Of course, not many are willing to wait for that, so that was a problem as well. Hmm, I think for my own sake, I always needed more time than the other person to get to the same spot. I just really didn’t know how to ask for it.

  • Dalusk

    I think one of the hardest things to ask another human being is to forget for a few moments what gender are we, and have a nice and friendly conversation after that. It´s like the invisible, cultural, gender boundaries were playing us when we interact with others, and even if that makes us uncomfortable, there´s that little inner voice whispering us all that can go wrong if we dare to forget.

  • RiverVox

    I think the difference has much more to do with how you were raised than gender. In my own case, I was raised on hardcore Yankee independence by a single mother. I’m also an only child so I like to do everything myself and NEVER ask for help. My husband is very different, as the baby of a close knit, emotional family. He will ask for help at a moment’s notice with tasks but also will announce his feelings and needs. I’m Ms. Suck It Up, he’s Mr. Going to Lie Down. (We are both cis-gendered for those keeping score). As far as the old joke about directions, I’m the navigator, and a first class one at that. Since I don’t like to ask for help and very rarely get lost, he’s the one who has to ask, while I fume and try to find my North.

    We make a good team but I need to learn to ask. It affects my work, because I will just take on more and more and never say no, pretending that I’ve got it all under control. It affects my home life because I don’t take time to do things for myself. It affects my relationships, because if there’s one thing that can sink my battleship, it’s Emotion. Vulnerability is a crack that lets emotion out and this is the Worst Thing. Besides spiders and dentists, of course.

  • June_Miller

    I don’t know.

    No, really: I don’t.

    I don’t have any grasp on the schematics behind gender roles, or any of that.


    It’s a good and a bad thing.

    I guess if I have to channel one of my ex-roommates, who did pay attention to those things: Men have a harder time asking for emotional support, because then they’re viewed as weak not just for themselves, but other people (their wives, their children). Patriarchal values certainly don’t help. If you start asking for help with emotions, you’re obviously about to lose your nerve. Then the company’s gone. Then you’re not paying the bills. Then who are you?

    Women have a hard time asking for emotional support, as well, though. For different reasons. When you’re viewed as inherently weak from the start, because of your gender, you don’t really have a lot of emotional support to begin with in general, now do you? Whole lot of fighting back against that.

    I feel asking for validation is something crippling in both genders. In ALL genders.

    It’s so hard to want to know your worth as a person. It’s something we should all be able to look within ourselves and feel confident of. Maybe even proud.

    No one wants to be seen as needy or selfish.

    Love is hard to ask for, and it’s harder to accept. Especially when self-value is lacking.

    So maybe for all: afraid to ask for compassion, support, love…everything that makes a person whole, I guess.

  • David Long

    Men — Directions. Women — To be left alone.

    • Anon

      Men — Insecurity; Women — To be completely honest

  • Peter Herrmann

    I think (like many others here) it’s hard to ask for things that we are not “supposed” to need, be it because of perceived or real pressure from society, of because we want to get by on our own, and find it embarrassing to be in need. What it is we need, and what we are or aren’t supposed to ask for, depends more on the society we live in than on gender.
    I also find it particularly hard to ask for things like validation, or respect, since in a healthy relationship, these things should come natural.

  • Natalie, the Chickenblogger

    Sort of off-topic, except not. I have a hard time asking for help.
    {I just finished watching the TED talk you shared, and was deeply impressed by your view. I love to see a new way to understand our behaviors, our beliefs, and to realize that our conventions are a construct, and new beliefs and better systems are born every day. I love the “job” you have created for yourself, the way you choose to relate to the world, and to be a part of living and engaging and surviving, without succumbing to the standard conventions and dictates. Thank you. Thank you for being Amanda Palmer, and thank you for sharing your beliefs, and ideas… the ways in which you choose to be here. Your choices, your strengths, your path… you are an inspiration.}

  • Lacey

    Everyone has trouble asking for love.
    Men have trouble asking for help when they are supposed to be the “doers” of today’s society.
    Women have trouble asking for comfort, whether it was because a person in a book they’re reading died, or it be a sense of security by having a little extra money in the bank.

    • June_Miller

      You. What you said. Thank you.

      Sometimes, all of these feelings can happen in one being. Man, woman, whatever, which makes it all the more hard to know what it is they’re asking.

      I speak from experience.


      (Also your disco ball avatar is fantastic.)

      • Deprogram

        I think most everyone’s problem is seeing all the way though the bullshit about being in love. It isn’t mean to be political. It isn’t mean to be a statement about yourself as a person. It is a feeling. It isn’t/wasn’t really meant to be objectified like this in the first place. It is a human emotion. You are putting too much thought and time into the whole process than it really should/needs to be. Thereby rendering yourself love neutral. Unhappy, and generally depressed and looking to project these kinds of rational upon something that really hasn’t anymore more definition than art itself.

        • June_Miller

          I’m pretty sure you’re the same person who responded to my other comment, so I’m just going to copy and paste most of what I already wrote. Sorry, it’s early and I haven’t had any caffeine.

          You’re right: Love TOTALLY shouldn’t be this complicated. Are you fucking kidding me?

          I could get into how our brains and social skills grow over the years, and how these factors contribute to an overall outcome (like a love affair stretching out over 9 years that’s only now just being touched on). I could get into how some of our brains are wired in unnecessary ways, and it further complicates what should be ‘normal’ courting.

          But I work things out, and I stick with her…because I want to. Because I love her, and she loves me, too. I work things out because I need to for myself, but also because I want her in my life.

          • Anon

            Working out the fact that she likes to eat grapefruit and you are allergic to grapefruit is one thing. Having to change your entire idealogical worldview or even your religion in order to suit your sustainability as some kind of rigid social unit is quite another. If you have to use therapy or even medication to be with someone else, I would safely say you were probably better off alone before you go into that kind of mess in the first place. And individaully worked out whatever limitations you have developmentally as normal ordinary people. No offense. Not trying to be a hater, and just telling you my opinion on this. There is such a put down on being ordinary people lately that I think it needed to be said in this situation.

          • June_Miller

            Well, since you’d like to get to know me:

            I was actually in therapy for eight years, growing up. That had to do with an abusive upbringing. If I *didn’t* get therapy, I would be even more fucked up and wouldn’t know how to function around other people. I would probably be even more abusive to both myself and my partners.

            Which brings me to my next point: If I don’t take care of these aspects of myself, I won’t be able to have functioning relationships with anyone I’d like to be close to. Friends, family, co-workers…the whole she-bang.

            So, please, be an ordinary person. It really takes a hell of a load off your brain.

            I’m not. I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m the most beautiful, unique special snowflake. I’m saying that I’m weird, the way I love is weird, but that’s not the bad part.
            Thanks for your input. Just trust me on this one. Trust a stranger who just shared some dark mental shit with you, okay?

          • Anon

            Well. I guess your dance card this weekend must be full. Touche.

          • Jenny

            yeah, some of us just want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I’m over this nonsense too.

  • SitsUnderWaterfalls

    I guess the whole asking for love confuses me. Love is…a gift. Yes? You can’t earn it, and someone who is witholding it cannot give it simply because you ask it. Sometimes it’s because they won’t but usually it is because they can’t :/

    I can choose to be kind, and I will, if you remind me. But love just happens or it doesn’t happen. Both romantic love and sacrificial impulses. You cannot earn my sacrifice or my emotions, and you cannot ask for it either. Or, you can, but it won’t do anything. Either someone loves you or they don’t.

    • June_Miller

      Asking for love is having your room mates hug you after a shit day at work.

      Love is a gift.

      It’s the best gift of all. It heals so much.


      Honestly? Asking for love was confusing to me too, for a long time.

      I didn’t really know you could. But you can. And it’s something I’m working on, daily.

      Love does just happen; sometimes, you don’t know how to get it. But you have to. You want to.


      To the second part of your statement, I keep that regard for my guy friends. I can’t give all my love to everyone: it’s just not how they made me. I guess that’s why it was harder for me to understand how I can share my love to varying degrees.

      • SitsUnderWaterfalls

        I guess, for your first example, that could be love. Or it could be compassion, or kindness, which is easier to ask for. Maybe your roommate doesn’t even really like you, but if you’re just beat and they’re kind, they’ll hug you if you ask.

        But, I dunno. Love. Like okay: I was born with some serious illnesses and disabilities which I largely grew out of. But until I was eight, I couldn’t even go to school, and my mom stayed home with me. She had to drop her career, and taking care of me all day was, I’m sure, stressful, but she always made sure that I knew first and foremost that she loved me, and she *wanted* to make sacrifices for me. Fifteen years later and she still doesn’t have her career back; her current job is only somewhat related. But it was still worth it to her.

        The thing is, though, I don’t think you could ask someone who is not currently making a huge sacrifice for you to do that. I just feel like, if they don’t already love you–either romantically or with grand gestures–it’s probably because they don’t want to. And like you said, likely they just can’t. No one has the energy to love everyone, and no one has the emotional space to fall in love with everyone.

        Then again. I’ve been in a situation where I’ve openly said, “If you need help from me, just ask,” and I become the go-to person and suddenly saying no is really hard. Even saying no to things beyond my capability. So then I end up feeling really stretched thin and a bit used. I’ve always struggled finding the balance there.

        • June_Miller

          Compassion and kindness are synonyms of love, though, and again, differing degrees.

          (Also, I was the one giving the hug. I love her very much; she drinks Jim Beam and teaches me how to Bernie. It’s a dance.)

          No. You can’t ask just anyone to make the sort of sacrifices your mom did. It has to be someone who wants to do it for you. Wants to see you thrive. I don’t speak for your mom, but I’m sure that’s why it’s worth it to her. She got to watch you grow.

          It has to be someone you really want to trust.

          And then it goes back to the art of asking: Sometimes, the risk IS the trust, not the other way around.

          I have this mental disorder that makes it hard for me to trust people–even those I love. Deeply, intimately love. Everything is based on emotions, and not facts. Up until fairly recently, the pattern would be: things are going well, something is said or done which I interpret negatively, I shut down. The whole house of cards falls and we’re back again.

          That dynamic of stretching yourself out thin and a bit used? That is how people have felt after I’ve built them up and ran away due to my own monsters telling me I’m not worthy. Hiding behind my ice shield was supposed to be protection. It hurt and confused my loved ones. I didn’t know how bad I was, until recently. I had a mirror held up to my face.

          She asked me to let her love me, because she could see things falling apart.

          She didn’t want to see me die.

          You make a good point that, she didn’t really have to ask for me to love her: I always have.

          Maybe she asked me to love her so I could ask her to love me.

          I’m glad, either way.

          The world’s fucking crazy, SitsUnderWaterfalls.

          • Anon

            Should love really be this complicated? Couldn’t that be a contributing factor. Maybe you are just adults who think too much and therefore can not have the kind of love you built up as an expectation during your formative years?

          • June_Miller

            Hahaha, NO.

            Love TOTALLY shouldn’t be this complicated. Are you fucking kidding me?

            I could get into how our brains and social skills grow over the years, and how these factors contribute to an overall outcome (like a love affair stretching out over 9 years that’s only now just being touched on). I could get into how some of our brains are wired in unnecessary ways, and it further complicates what should be ‘normal’ courting.

            But I work things out, and I stick with her…because I want to. Because I love her, and she loves me, too.

          • Anon

            No, you either love each other because you give a damn or one of you owns a restaurant or has a shit ton of money.

          • June_Miller

            I’ll take your ‘Give a damn’ option, please. Thank you.

          • anon

            Love is only as complicated as the baggage and expectations that you bring into the mix. Otherwise you could be just as happy as a dog. But somehow you think you are more worthy than a dog by being less loya to anyone, even yourselves.

          • June_Miller

            ‘Happy as a dog.’

            What an odd choice of phrasing.

            How odd that an anonymous stranger takes such time and effort to counsel me on how I live my life and choose to deal with my own emotional baggage.

            Should I start reconsidering how I live my life *for you* to make YOU feel better about how I live it?

            Because I’d be happy as a dog, then.


          • June_Miller

            ‘Happy as a dog with two tails.’

            Sounds as happy and normal as a PB & J to this one.

  • SitsUnderWaterfalls

    Also: men in my life have trouble asking for money. I think because of the mooch / deadbeat dad stereotype, and some of them really do have deadbeat / alcoholic fathers who always ask for money and waste it.

    But sometimes you’re just in a pinch. If I need rent covered, I’ve never been given the side-eye by my friends. I ask rarely but it’s not embarrassing. But my guy friends / roommates in the same situation get so shamefaced about it, tail-between-the-legs even. And actually, part of that is our friends probably do hold them to a higher standard; like a certain guy friend missing rent led to a screaming match, and that girl was totally fine with me needing financial help earlier.

    Women have trouble asking for personal space. I think we tend more to think it’s rude and it’s more socially acceptable for guys to be introverts and need down time.

  • Yana Allum

    If rejected = ‘not worthy’.


    • anon

      Love >>> Rejection >>> Questioning existence >> Existence ends with the real answer. You probably weren’t in love from the beginning but instead taken advantage of because of looks, or what you could do for someone else instead of what you THOUGHT was love. You have no idea how many times I have asked myself why would so-and-so date that person for? This is probably the root cause.

  • TremendousDynamite

    I think the differences between what people have trouble asking for aren’t defined by gender, but by an individual’s self image and self esteem. The things you have trouble asking for are most likely a result of your parent’s values, your life experiences, peer influence, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs – so it’s ALL a matter of learned/nurture/nature. Men and women can have a hard time asking for the same thing – asking for help, asking for love, asking for respect, asking for money – but the reasons for hesitating to ask for those things are personal.

    He doesn’t want to ask for help because his father told him asking for help was a sign of weakness, she doesn’t want to ask for help because her boyfriend slags her for being unable to make a decision.

    He doesn’t want to ask for love because he believes men shouldn’t show need for emotional connection, she doesn’t want to ask for it because she doesn’t want to seem needy.

    He doesn’t want to ask for respect because he feels he deserves it anyway – why should he have to ask?, she doesn’t want to ask for respect because corporate culture will label her a feminist with an agenda.

    He doesn’t want to ask for money because he was taught men should be the caregiver, she doesn’t want to ask for money because she’s been accused of being irresponsible with money in the past – and even though it wasn’t her fault this time…

    “What” people have a hard time asking for can change – but the reason’s why are often the same.

    I watched your TED talk for the first time today… when it comes to asking for help, the difference between you and others is you ask for help but have that personal connection with the people you are asking for help from – you take the time to talk to us, to respond to us, to open yourself to us – you WANT to know us. Others are only interested in what they can get from us. It’s respectful that you want to have a connection with those who support you, and it makes us want to support you even more. As someone who enjoys your art and has been personally changed by it – thank you, and you can ask me for anything – if I have it, it’s yours.

  • Shanna Brainard

    I think men and women have a hard time asking for the same thing: help. Asking for help makes us vulnerable and naked. We are afraid of being judged for our weaknesses, inabilities, faults, insecurities, and insufficiencies. When we ask for help, we are exposing all of the secret inner workings of our hearts to someone else. And we have to trust that this person will accept us completely and not turn away. And when this person does help, then he/she opens himself/herself up also. The exchange of asking and receiving is so intimate and powerful that we all must change and extend the reaches of our souls. But we are afraid to expand our souls because we feel as if we will explode; however, we were meant to contain the universe and everyone it. All we have to do is ask.

    • JenB

      I think a lot of this resistance and shame in showing vulnerability, insecurity and/or a need for help is a consequence of social programming. Living in a society that embraces “liberal” values like individualism as radically as ours does, there is a very strong emphasis on one’s ability to stand strongly on their own and anything short of that implies failure. As a result, people are afraid to admit that they might not have all the answers or be able to do everything for themselves all on their own all the time. I think this is something that could change over time by embracing a more communitarian perspective….one that encourages individualism, but also acknowledges that people need people, social safety nets are good things, that falling down sometimes is just a part of life and when that happens having other people around to help pick you up is a very, very good thing. I’m hoping we can move towards this. Not radically, but gradually….I think everyone would benefit.

      • Anon

        I think much of it has to do with watching too much TV dramas. I think much of has to do with placing unreasonable standards upon others to hopefully gain more in your own your personal motivators. I think many of these people are just really lonesome and need attention, and maybe even some therapy after too much self-inflected abuse and manipulation. Love is real, but when you have to think this much about it, then it will never come to fruition either.

        • Teresa


  • Jack Lowe

    If men and women have a hard time asking for anything because of their gender, it is because their understanding of what constitutes their gender is based on social and cultural norms that are reinforced and repeated through everyday practices. Judith Butler’s performativity theory is the key here: we only see things as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ because men and women repeatedly perform acts that are seen to align with these gender norms. If throughout history, and in Western culture, men repeatedly played with dolls and wore dresses, this is what we would associate with masculinity. Gender is only as real as it is repeatedly performed.

    So going back to the action of asking, if women find it hard to ask for a promotion specifically BECAUSE they are women, it is because their understanding of femininity is influenced by social and cultural norms that repeatedly perceive women as undeserving of high-power positions, for example, or other norms which might dictate why promotions might not be associated with women.

  • Alice Bremner Watt

    I don’t feel comfortable speaking for either gender today (highly unusual for me) but I find it hard to ask for food, because I think people will be laughing at me eating because I’m a bit overweight. Or asking for something I think people will judge me for. Which is ridiculous and sometimes I forget for a moment which is lovely. I’m getting better at it though, it’s just a matter of asking why I care and smiling. As for men, I don’t know, I have a lot of male friends and they all seem to find it hard to ask other men for specific things, where there is a potential for losing pride. Which is also ridiculous. Anyway, I have work in the morning, hope that wasn’t totally unhelpfully pointless.

    • Anon

      You might just have an issue with self-confidence and really just need someone to accept you for who you really are instead of who you think they want you to be for them.

  • jo

    As a genderqueer person, I have a hard time asking for my gender to be recognised and validated. Most people don’t hold it in their awareness that not everyone fits neatly into one of your question’s boxes, and when I DO assert myself I’m often met with ignorance, intolerance, and/or indifference. So I’ll answer the third, unasked question: “what do you think non-binary people have a hard time asking for?” To which I reply: visibility and acceptance.

  • Guest

    I have a hard time asking for smear tests. I hate phoning up the doctors and making the appointment. “Hi, yeah, could I uh.. make and appointment for a.. *whispers* smear test, please.” “Sorry, what?” “A SMEAR TEST. I’D LIKE A SMEAR TEST, PLEASE.” “Ok, when was your last period?” “Uhh.. two weeks ago?” “Cuz you need to be DRY for a smear..” “Yes.. I know. Thanks. Could I have an appointment on Friday?” “Yes. Would 3 o’clock with the nurse be okay? Oh wait, do you want a female nurse?” “…..uh, yes?” “Cuz Friday we only have a male nurse in.” “…uhh……” (Now I’m embarrassed AND I feel like an asshole.)

    I put it off for YEARS. Just couldn’t pluck up the courage.

    I would guess men have a difficult time asking for doctors to check their balls for lumps or stick their finger up their butts to check their prostate. Maybe it’s even worse for them because it’s not such a regular thing? Men seem even more embarrassed by/disconnected from their bodies than women. I’d guess sexual health stuff is harder (ahem) for them.

    • Alice Bremner Watt

      yesyesyes, this! For ages I was the same, then this year I am trying to be fearless more, which worked just about. It’s really difficult though I think, that kind of stuff. Glad you said it :) x

  • Phoeline

    Accepting the gender binary for the sake of argument, and buying into stereotypes for the same reason..;)

    I think both genders have the most trouble asking for help. For men, because they are supposed to be strong, independent, self-sufficient. Do everything by themselves, do not need support (emotional or not), do not for the love of bacon be perceived as weak. Don’t be a girl.
    For women, because they are supposed to be able to do it all, do it quickly, perfectly, smiling, without complaint. Don’t let them see you can’t handle something, or that you don’t magically know, from your genetic build up or something, intuition what have you, how to do stuff. If it’ “womenly” stuff like how to bathe a baby or make soup, you’re apparently not a real woman, if it’s “manly” stuff like how to unplug your sink, you’re clearly a woman.

    For both, it’s about shame and not being worthy. Yes, I’m a Brené Brown fan, can you tell ;)

    Asking for help can take many forms. From “please explain to me how to do this thing everyone else seems to be able to do and they make it seem so easy” to “can you tell me how to get to 42nd street?” and “I need to get something off my chest, can we talk?” through “give me a hug?” and everything in between and around it.

  • Christy Todd

    I (woman, usually) have a hard time asking for help from my partner (woman; always as far as I know) when it comes to simple things like tidying, grocery shopping, and completing life tasks like buying new tires for the car or setting up a new account with the hydro-electric company.
    My partner has a hard time asking for affirmation and re-assurance.

    My experience with men is that many have difficulty asking for affection, but I have found myself in great friendships with those who can.

    Men, women, and everyone in between and beyond those confines… we all have difficulty asking. Asking period. We feel like others expect us to be prepared for all situations we’re put into; we feel like we’re expected to be equipped with all of the emotional and material resources required to face all of life. And sometimes we expect that of others (hence why we feel like it is expected of us). But I think we’re much more understanding of others’ needs than we are of our own.

  • BuffeyMaria

    Asking for help.
    Spending all of my life, working my ass off, to PROVE to myself and my world that I could do anything, and do it well
    . Butcher,baker , candlestick maker , builder,buyer, stone mason.. Uterus or not… (I have one, in its proper upright position)
    I have a most difficult time asking for help.
    weather it is my stubborn Sicilianna/Irish, blood, too much Ani, and Marlo, Ms.Wolf. and really strong women,
    the need to never seem weak,
    prevented me from knowing how to even ask.
    willingly, with out hesitation, I would give my anything I could, to help another. I never thought less of the party in need.
    so I never have understood wtf my problem was!

  • Isla

    Definitely “help”.
    Because if people don’t hear you when you are asking for help the first time, then you get so so scared of not being heard, and therefore let down, again.
    I mean, everyone comes into the world WANTING to trust it. But everytime we are let down, our skepticism grows, and our trust in the world lessens.
    …and I think this applies to both sexes.

  • Jacy Rush

    Asked some friends to help brainstorm on this one.
    The best response so far has been this:

    “Women have a hard time asking for what they know they deserve because they’re deeply afraid they won’t get it and it’s a lot easier not to expect something and not get it than to expect something and not get it.
    Men have a hard time asking for help because they prefer being problem solvers than problem havers”

    I’ll be back with more good responses.
    Bad (or not deep responses from my lovely peers) included anal for men and period stuff for women.
    Take what you will.

  • Mike S

    Amanda, Here’s a thought question to you: How has adding wife/partner modified your behaviour? Do you feel there’s any expectations that you need to “conform” to – and in reverse, is there anything that actually feels right, that you may feel some negative nuance to, because it’s conventional?

    Now ask yourself your own question x

  • Ashlee Francis

    Although I dispute the idea that there are ingrained differences in gender I do accept the cultural differences in the construct of gender. So; I think women have a hard time asking for acceptance. Complete acceptance of who they are, so many women make apologies for who they are and society backs that up. “I’m sorry I’m not ‘pretty’ enough and I am not the ‘right’ size. Complete acceptance down to your neurotic behaviours, I personally apologise repeatedly for my inability to control my consistent humming.
    If I accept myself first I would stop apologising to partners and friends for simply being who I am. This also applies to men obviously.

  • insignifikunt

    For women, I think it’s asking for their needs/wants to be valued/considered by others, and to not be seen as an arsehole or selfish for putting her own needs before others.

    For men, i think they have a hard time asking for help because it’s seen as weak.

  • Anika

    I think men have a hard time asking for anything. I think that in this culture where the glorification of masculinity goes largely ignored, that men are not readily given permission to ASK. It is manly to CONQUER, to SEIZE and to ACHIEVE – but not to ask. Asking shows concession to another man’s greatness. Women have a hard time asking for things that highlight any sort of “feminine frailty,” anything that could somehow imply that they are emotional, needy or in some way weak – or indeed weaker – than men. (crossposted from my other FB)

  • JenB

    Men have a hard time asking for help. Men also have a hard time asking for compassion and for people to allow them to show vulnerability. Men also have a hard time asking that their sexual needs be gratified, particularly in longer term relationships, i.e, marriage, etc…

    Women have a hard time asking for time and space to themselves. Women have a hard time asking others to pay attention to them and their needs. Women have a hard time asking to be treated with respect and dignity, asking for a raise, equal compensation, etc….

    There are many, many others I am sure, but these are a few I’ve observed.

    • Anon

      Projection. Co-dependency. Validation. These are many of the reasons people want to be in-love but aren’t. They are very commonplace. And are avoidable by simply knowing who you are, and what you really want from someone in a relationship beforehand. Otherwise you are going to have want you probably deserve instead.

  • Kevin

    I think the hardest thing for most people to ask for is help. And that’s a shame.

    • Anon

      I think the hardest thing is telling someone the truth in a relationship. They never want to hear anything about it really. They just want everything to provide the same results. Selfishness, and jealous thinking is the fuel. If you have to lie to someone you are dating then you aren’t really dating anyone but your own creation, which is a foundation of falsehood.

  • Karl Sandfort


    • Anon


  • bootselectric

    Asking in general is the main problem for men and women equally

  • Busayo Adewale

    Can’t say for everyone else, but I have a huge problem asking this girl out on a date for the fear of driving her away.

  • Kevin Maloney

    Ksenia below is right it’s love. and it doesn’t get easier after your college/youth years get a job and if your lucky one or more special people to share your life with. Although sometimes the monotony of everyday life gets in the way of love and you wake up one day and feel loneliness and emptiness. I think society has people chasing perfection, that we are so fearful of our warts and dark secrets and imperfections that we hide ourselves from love as well so get out there and wear your warts and share your secrets and LOVE! i hope this made sense it sounded good in my head :)

  • Lou Serrano

    I know Jamy Ian Swiss! Tell him i said hello!

  • rebecca doane

    Is it a matter of men in general or women in general having trouble asking for something?
    Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention.
    I think as time goes on gender roles are blurring. I don’t feel it’s a matter of male or female anymore. Or, not in my experience.
    Every person brings their own past and their own difficulties into a relationship, romantic or otherwise. Every past is going to make something difficult.
    It may be asking for love, or help, or privacy.
    I think people in general are having a hard time asking for attention in healthy ways with the the whole social media scene.

  • Joshua Herriage

    Men: Understanding and Guidance. I feel like as men, we’re taught that we should be strong, and that being strong means being “finding our own way” and being obstinate in the face of resistance. To do what is necessary, and not what may lead to happiness.
    Women: Respect. Respect is a loaded word, and it means different things to different people. I suppose I just feel like women’s boundaries aren’t respected a lot of the time because they don’t make their voices heard.

  • Ashley

    I think the truth is that men and women want, and have trouble asking for the same things. We’re all human beings, we all have the same needs at heart. Sometimes I think there’s too much emphasis put into the differences between the sexes and we never see the similarities.

  • Grace Saucier

    I would say it’s the same for both sexes. People have a hard time asking for help. It makes them feel weak and vulnerable. The hardest is financial help. I still can’t bring myself to borrow money.

  • catdog97

    to be love ?

  • Camila Sanmiguel

    both have a hard time asking for each other.

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