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By Michael Angier

 

   

 

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Are You Requesting or Demanding?

Recently Dawn and I were discussing with friends how married couples deal with issues and upsets.

It seemed to us that many upsets are the result of requests being made that were, in actuality, demands.

When someone gets upset over a request that was made and not fulfilled, it's almost always because the request was, in fact, a demand.

If I ask Dawn to do something and she doesn't comply—which is her prerogative—it's simply that she didn't. She either refused, forgot or later chose not to fulfill my request.

If I get upset over her not doing what was requested, then it was actually a DEMAND on my part. It matters not whether I think she SHOULD have done it or whether she owes it me. The fact is my request was a demand and I have no justification for being upset. It is my responsibility.

From my own experience and that of watching what other people do, I see far too many hurt feelings, ruffled feathers and downright nasty fights as a result of not making this important distinction.

None of us really want to be TOLD what to do. It doesn't feel like we have any choice or power. But when we choose to comply with a request, it feels very different.

Now if Dawn were to agree to do what I ask and then later doesn't do so without communicating that to me, it's a different story. That's a broken agreement and certainly worthy of a discussion and a resolution.

It's smart to think carefully about the requests and demands we place on others. Run it through the Request Test: Will I be upset if Joe DOESN'T agree to do what I ask? If so, you may want to adjust your approach or make other arrangements.

Once again, clarity leads to power.

Related Article
Good Judgment vs. Being Judgmental

We all want to practice good judgment, but we don't want to be judgmental. Here's the difference. http://SuccessNet.org/articles/angier-judgmental.htm

 

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Last Updated 06/01/2006