Demands are not requests

May 24, 2021
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

The way we make requests can contribute to a group or individual’s well-being. Demands are not requests, and you can free yourself and others from demands by being aware of how you phrase requests.

The language of demands is destructive and can take several forms: words, body language, or tone. They can be stated or implied threats of punishment or consequences (positive or negative).

Demands disguised as requests are phrased as:

  • “You have to…”
  • “You must…”
  • “You should…”
  • “If you don’t X, then I’ll…”
  • “If you don’t X, then you’ll have to…”
  • “If you don’t … then why should I…”

Demands are most prevalent when one person has power over the other:

  • “Eat your vegetables and you’ll get dessert.”
  • “If you loved mommy, you would...”
  • “If you work the weekend and get the project done, you’ll get a bonus.”
  • “If you don’t change your ways, I’ll have no choice but to put you on a performance plan.”

Take a moment to think about how you experience demands.

Do you enjoy being spoken to in a way that reduces your agency? Forcefully? With false urgency, threats, or implied consequences?

Tomorrow’s Daily Tip will discuss how to start a request so it’s not heard as a demand.


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