The Case of “Should” vs “Need To”


The meeting began with the head of department, Hans, sitting at the front of the table, looking sternly at the slides sent over to him earlier that day. Clearly, a storm is brewing…

“Peter, what happened to company A? Why didn’t we get that order?”

“They decided that they needed a faster lead time and a company which has a reputation for it.”

“You said we are better choice previously because we can provide them better post-service and initial pricing, which is all this is about. You should know there are more requirements involved!”

How often have you encountered someone telling you that “you should“? And how do you feel about it?

I certainly have my fair share of it, and am guilty of having said that or thought of that.

Yet, whenever I came across a situation where I have exclaimed the same, there’s a small voice in me that asked “Is it really so? Why should they

Similarly At Home

You should have taken that trash out!

You should buy that brand instead!

You should know better!

The communication between 2 parties often result in frustration when one party thought that the other party should know everything. It is understandable that amidst chaos or busy times that one would hope that he/she does not have to juggle so many things, and his/her partner would be able to help out without communication or instructions.

However, that may not be the case all the time.

Remember the small voice I talked about earlier? It is our own responsibility too, to communicate what is needed instead of putting that responsibility onto someone else, and expect them to know. [Read: How to Start Having Meaningful, Loving Relationships?]

Expectations can be detrimental in any relationships. Of course, a fair argument would be that, “I cannot always be communicating my needs. They should know some time down the road

Here Comes The “Need To”

Now imagine yourself in a relationship with someone who says

you need to take that trash out because…

you need to know that brand is healthier instead of this

you need to help me out on this

How would you have felt, when your partner or someone senior in the company approached you and told you that you need to know or do something instead?

I certainly felt the need to remember in future, or feel a stronger sense of necessity to do something right by my partner. Because it did not come from an angle of blaming, but rather one of advising, or coaching in terms of the corporate world. It certainly brings across a better sense of empathy.

Have you always used the word “should“?

What are your thoughts?



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