flowerSpheres of Influence is a common model regarding relationships. Imagine some concentric circles with you in the center. The inner most sphere of influence would include your spouse or immediate family, and perhaps your closest friends. Furthest out in the circle would be a total stranger. Somewhere in-between, you might find business associates.

You behave differently with people in different spheres of influence. How you behave with your immediate family is very different from how you behave in public. This is a good thing. It’s socially and culturally appropriate. You can, of course, misbehave in any sphere of influence, but that is a different topic. You would do well to observe how you shift as you move from one sphere of influence to another. Behavior in each sphere of influence is an art unto itself.

Relationships can quite appropriately move from one sphere of influence to another. Not only from outer to inner, but also from inner to outer. People often have a hard time with that, particularly when it involves moving from inner to outer. It is important to keep in mind that such moves do not necessarily imply a loss of friendship, caring, or commitment. It is more a matter of respect for the ever-evolving and changing times. For example, a relationship may for some reason become strained. Striving to maintain the current sphere of influence in those circumstances could create additional strain in the relationship. It can be most respectful and honoring to, at those times, smoothly shift that relationship to an outer sphere, if for no other reason than to give the relationship time to heal. Changing the sphere of influence can significantly change the nature and tone of the relationship.

I’ve noticed with respect to my own daughters, that as they grow up, the relationship shifts. That could be viewed as a shift from the inner sphere of the relationship. As they get older, they need and deserve more autonomy. It is fascinating how spontaneously that occurs. It’s clearly innate. To hold it properly is an art and a beautiful thing. The term respect comes to mind.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.