It’s a little understood, but surprisingly common condition that afflicts women from all walks of life. The main symptom of Asker’s Syndrome is that you’re incapable of asking for what you want.
I was alerted to Asker’s Syndrome during a recent visit from my mother and mother-in-law. Both of them are incapable of articulating something as simple as what they would like for dinner.
For example, asking my mum which frozen meal she would like goes something like this:
Me: Which dinner do you want?
Her: You choose.
Me: No. You choose, you’re the one who’s going to eat it.
Her: Whichever one you don’t want.
Her: Just open the fridge and the first one you pull out will do.
Similarly, when I asked my mother-in-law to select which meals she’d like me to order from the home-delivery menu she only chose the ones her husband would like. I asked her what she would like and she said, ‘I’ll just have whichever one is left over’.
This goes way beyond politeness. After pushing both of them at length to state a preference — and failing — it would seem that they are actually incapable of voicing what they want.