Modern society has made it that much more confusing to navigate with the fact that some asks are really tells. In the olden days there were more tells, in traditional culture there were right and wrong things, for example the Ten Commandments. Nowadays modern psychology runs pretty much everything and people don’t like to be told things outright so they frame their tells as asks. For example I had a job coach who really wanted me to go somewhere and get some IT training. She didn’t tell me this, she just asked about it. But later on I realized when she brought it up again that that was what she really wanted me to do.
This can also be seen in self care. The party line is that exercise, yoga, meditation, eating vegetables, and chores are good for self care. While this might be for some people I think this is a situation where people are being prescriptive but somewhat disingenuous about it. For me exercise doesn’t help at all unless it is done with people who I have a positive relationship with. Meditation doesn’t work for me, stemming (muttering, yelling and even cursing, rocking back and forth) helps me. I like to drink sweet things (mostly diet pop) and watch trashy TV like Married with Children. None of these are approved ways to deal with things but when suspect an ask is really a tell you’ll just be inundated with blow back.
The whole enterprise of therapy is a tell framed as an ask. That’s why I’ve had three women cut me off telling me to “go get help”. They wanted someone to change me because they obviously found a flaw in me they couldn’t change themselves.