Asking for what you want is a key aspect of assertiveness, but I personally also find it to be a key aspect of respectful communication as well. If you are indirect about what you want, it can inconvenience others as they try to guess what you are looking for (often unsuccessfully). Asking directly eliminates ambiguity, which is considerate to the listener.
- I'm upset about some issues in our relationship, and I want to talk to you about them and resolve them because I like you a lot and I want to stay together and enjoy being with you without worrying about these things. --- A great way to remove any sort of doubt in a relationship...you start the conversation by emphasizing that you want to stay together and want to resolve the issue, so the other person doesn't have to start worrying about this.
- I was very troubled by how this incident was handled, and I want a written response so I can be assured that it won't happen again. --- This statement is good because it communicates exactly what you are looking for. Often, when people are upset, it is not clear exactly what they want in order to be satisfied.
- I want to speak with someone who has the authority and knowledge to answer these questions. --- If you're talking to a customer service representative, or other person who doesn't have the knowledge or authority to address your problem, this cuts to the key business, and it lets them know that you aren't interested in wasting anyone's time, but that you want your question resolved.
Asking directly for what you want is useful in close relationships, in the workplace, in school, and when dealing with businesses, stores, and corporations. It is useful anywhere other people are involved. You won't always get exactly what you want, but it usually doesn't hurt to ask.
You can also ask a direct question. For example, in the third case above:
"Can you refer me to someone who can help solve this problem?" - People dont like to say no, and will be more likely to either solve your problem or refer you to someone who can, if you ask directly like this.