#41 – Boundaries Quick Tips #3 | Demands & Requests: What’s the Difference?

Thanks to all the listeners for the great feedback and questions you’ve been submitting. This episode is a response to a listener’s question about the difference between demands and requests. Tune in to learn about the difference between the two, and whether it’s possible to create a boundary with another person without making a request.

Biggest Takeaways From Episode #41:

  • Almost everyone struggles around knowing the difference between demands and requests. Even if you feel you understand the difference intellectually, it can be easy—and tempting—to use demands rather than requests.
  • A request involves asking politely, respectfully, or formally for something. A demand is a forceful statement in which you say that something must be done or given to you.
  • If you confuse creating a boundary with making demands or making a request, you will be in trouble. Creating a boundary with another person requires that you have an agreement with that person.
  • Even if you have very good reasons to be concerned about your spouse, every adult has a right to make the choices they want to make, even when their choices are behaviors that may not be healthy for them.

Highlights from Episode #41:

  • Welcome to a quick-tips episode that was inspired by a listener’s question, which Vicki paraphrases. [00:40]
  • Vicki starts her answer to the listener’s question by defining requests and demands, and shares an example of a request that her husband made of her. [04:54]
  • We learn why confusing boundaries and demands is problematic. [07:43]
  • Demands are often made when a person is feeling anxious or very attached to the outcome, Vicki explains. [10:16]
  • Vicki makes a couple of comments about specific aspects of the listener’s question. [12:01]
  • What do you do when your spouse is engaging in unhealthy behaviors like eating too much, eating junk food, or smoking. [14:48]
  • Vicki offers advice for when your spouse thinks they’re a victim when you are not in fact breaking an agreement. [19:25]

Links and Resources:


Hi, I'm Victoria!

I love guiding my clients on a journey of Returning to the authentic truth of who they are, Reclaiming what is theirs, and Receiving everything that is meant for them.


  1. Catharina Berg on January 18, 2020 at 11:50 am

    You state, “Creating a boundary with someone requires having an agreement with that person”. I’m not sure if I agree with that. Let me explain. If I have a fence around my yard (a boundary), that boundary needs to be respected by everyone. I don’t need to have an agreement with them. As far as relationship goes, I get to decide how I want to be treated. I don’t need anyone to be in agreement with that . If they don’t respect my boundary, I will enforce a consequence. (to protect my need) That person can choose to respect my request or not but I don’t need to have an agreement with them, in order to have/enforce my boundary with them. Are you saying that a request will never have consequences? The reality is no demand ever needs to be met unless somebody has a gun to your head. Even then, Marshall Rosenberg (author of nonviolent communication) used to say you still have a choice.

    • Vicki Tidwell Palmer on January 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Catharina, I hear you’re not sure you agree with me that creating a boundary with someone requires having an agreement, and you are entitled to your opinion!

      There is a lot to know, and many distinctions between boundaries, agreements, requests, demands, and consequences. A request, by itself, doesn’t have any consequences since it is simply a question. However, if someone jumps over the fence you built or a person breaks an agreement they made with you, that could result in consequences, which you get to choose.

      Building a fence is completely in your circle of control so it does not require a request or an agreement. None of us can guarantee that no one will ever breach our fence or that everyone in our life will treat us the way we decide we want to be treated; however, we do get to decide what we will do if someone breaks a boundary or does not treat us in a way that feels respectful.

      Hope this helps!

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