Could you? vs. Would you?
By Karen Card
speaking the same language as the opposite sex? There are some
differences in how men and women speak to each other that seem small
and yet can have significantly different results.
instance, most women do not see a difference in using “Could you
___?” versus “Would you ____?” to ask a question or make a request.
Some women even think it is more polite to use “could you”. On the
other hand, most men can see a big difference between “could” and
“would”, and may even get insulted by a question or request that
starts with “could you”.
asking a man, “Could you mow the grass?” is heard by a man as
insulting and manipulative, because obviously he COULD mow the grass
if he wanted to. After all, he is physically capable of working a
lawn mower. The question is not could he, but will he? For a woman
to be more successful in getting her requests met, she needs to ask
for things in “his” language. Rather than asking, “Could you mow the
grass?” she needs to ask in a more direct way using “would you” or
“will you”. By asking him, “Will you mow the grass, today?” she is
more likely to get the response she wants.
When you find yourself resisting a request from a woman, try to
remember the exact wording of her request. Did she use “could” or
“would”? Then you can let her know you are more likely to answer
with a YES to a “would you” or “will you” question rather than a
“could you” or “can you” request.
Women: Even if you do not see a difference in these words, just
understand that men do. If you want him to say YES to your requests,
be direct and use a “w” word: “would you” or “will you” and not the
“c” word: “could you” or “can you”.
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