Choice: Support, Influence or Demand

The complete Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of choice is extensive, but simplified meanings are:

  • the act of choosing : the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities
  • the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision
  • a range of things that can be chosen

When introduced into relationships, choice is reinterpreted by each and every individual involved.  Power comes into play … consciously or unconsciously.

Influence involves opinion and self-interest.  You believe a specific action or “choice” is best or you prefer the outcome of that specific choice.

Support involves commitment with objectivity.  You explain the possibilities and which you think are best.  Then you commit to supporting the person through whatever choice they make.  Once they make a choice (whichever one it is), you offer ideas to make it successful.

Demand involves commitment to your own viewpoint.  You explain the only “right” choice to make.  You act to promote that choice.  You advise the final action(s) to take to implement that choice.  If this particular choice isn’t best from the other person’s viewpoint, the relationship changes because your influence and support don’t result in the outcome you advise.

I’ve exerted influence and I hope I’ve provided support.  I try not to demand things from others, especially when those demands are outside my personal scope.  Failed demands cause damage.  You make failure about your self-worth:  Obviously, they don’t value you because they didn’t take your advice exactly as given.  You resent others who agreed with your evaluation, but refused to make that evaluation a demand.  You both cause and experience emotional damage.  And next time you may not be given a chance to exercise influence or asked to provide support.

And, frankly, I personally find making demands on others exhausting.  You are then responsible for all the outcomes, especially if the person lets you override them.