General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What is your sphere of influence over family, friends and colleagues?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) October 19th, 2010

I was thinking about fluther and wondering if it had any impact in the world outside of fluther. I.e., does anyone else pay attention to us? Do we influence anything outside of fluther?

This is kind of what I’m asking, except on a more personal level. I think what I mean is that you and your actions matter to the other person. So, if you were a politician, your decisions would matter to everybody in your electoral district. If you were a CEO, your decisions would matter to everyone in the company. If you were a branch manager, then your decisions would really influence your employees. They might also influence the CEO’s decisions a little, but his or her actions would really impact you much more than yours would affect his or hers.

Similarly, in your family, you play a role. Maybe that role is patriarch or matriarch—the person everyone else has to pay attention to. Maybe you are a parent, and you really only have a big influence on your children. You influence your spouse, but that’s more of an equal thing. Maybe you are a child? What kind of power do you have to influence things in the family?

With friends and community, you might be the friend who initiates everything. Or one who follows all the time. Or one somewhere in the middle. You also may be a leader amongst your neighbors or in your religious institution. Or a follower, or somewhere in between.

So this is getting bigger than I thought and I’m going to ask a lot of you. I would like you to assess the kind of role you play on average, as well as the exceptions in each of these areas. Or, at least as many as you are willing to do.

Like at work, usually I have two assistants who I train and then I pretty much have complete say about what they do for the rest of the year, although they can influence my use of time because they will need help.

Right now, I don’t have them because the University cut my budget. So clearly decisions that happen far above me will affect me. My position arbitrarily got shifted from non-union to union this year—again, a result of negotiations I had no idea existed until they called me in to inform me what had happened. I thought they were going to fire me or something.

My boss, of course, has a lot of say about what I do, but for the most part he leaves me alone, so I do have a lot of autonomy over myself. I do provide services to a number of clients, and I get respect for that.

I would say that I have a relatively small sphere of influence here. There is nothing I can do about upper level decisions. I can have a lot to say about my assistants—if I had any. Any other influence I have comes from my reputation, based on work in the past.

Well, I hope that if you think about this, you’ll write something, even if it’s not very much. Of course the bigger thinkers will write more, and I’ll enjoy that, and I think it will be useful to us all to hear how we think of ourselves in terms of our influence over others in our lives.

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15 Answers

MissA's avatar

“Bigger thinkers” don’t always think in terms of writing more. They may think before they write. Not everyone wants to go through the process with you…except perhaps your analyst. :)

Those around me seem to want my opinion on things…but, they also know that I’m usually quiet, in the background, until asked.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I have little actual influence over my parents or my adult children. When asked or where I feel compelled to offer advice, I offer it for them to consider but then I back off.

Only my wife will listen to my opinions and ask about how I feel about things. She will often accept my influence on important things without begrudging it.

When I was still working, my colleagues, including those who employed me, sought out and often followed my professional advice and thanked me for offering it.

crazyivan's avatar

I have 11 employees over whom I exert a lot of influence. All my neices and nephews come to me with their academic questions and (usually) I influence their knowledge of and/or love for a subject.

For some reason all of my friend consider me something of an expert on spirituality despite the fact that I’m a vocal atheist, so I find myself often shepparding people through crises of faith.

Wow, what a great question. I honestly don’t think I’d ever have thought about it if you hadn’t prompted me.

BoBo1946's avatar

In the real World, my friends, my family, and former collegues (now retired), called me “Big Daddy!” My grandchildren have always called me that… So, I’m not sure how much influence I’ve on them, but they have respect for me and certainly feel their love for me and vise versa! Almost everything in life is about respect for one another! Works well that way!

Coloma's avatar

I think I am seen by my friends as a bright, insightful and honest person.

I have just recently been told by two friends a way I have influenced them.

One to be more open, appraocgable and friendly and how she is enjoying the change.

Another told me that they have really learned to live in the moment and practice being present with the now.

And, of course I learn from others as well.

Everyone is both a student and a teacher. :-)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I have fairly significant influence in key but ‘small’ parts in our business.

When people in our group have a problem with their computers, they usually call me first, even before calling the IT HelpDesk—I place those calls for them more often than not and act as the go-between. Ditto with Microsoft Office and other software application, “How can I… ?” questions. I also get asked regularly to analyze some of the data that we work with and use to predict future business, budgets, and the like.

No one I know has ever asked me, “If you were stuck in a room with three other people and only three of you could be assured of getting out alive…” types of questions, but when we have such discussions—and who doesn’t have debates about hypothetical questions?—then my opinions are as well-thought-out and worded as I can make them and are accorded appropriate respect.

And my wisecracks aren’t ever modded, but lighten the mood when things get too heavy.

downtide's avatar

At work I’m part of a fairly large team but for the most part I tend to work on my own: I know my job well, I don’t need anyone else’s assistance. I’m often asked to help with queries from other people so I think I’m seen by others as knowledgeable about the products and the work.

On the whole I tend to prefer working alone (because I can get more done) and socialising with others. I don’t see myself as a leader because I’m not really assertive enough. I’m not a follower because I don’t follow, I just work on my own. At the same time I’m not a loner, because I enjoy the company of others. I’m not a creative free-thinker AT ALL: give me a nice tidy routine and a plan and a schedule and thats me sorted. So I don’t really know where I fit in or what my role is at all. I don’t think I’ve ever fit a stereotype in my life.

Outside of work (and maybe inside work as well) I don’t feel like I play any roles at all (not since I stopped trying to play the female lead). If I do, it’s not anything I can identify.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have little influence over the vast majority of people in my life. I don’t happen to work, so I don’t enjoy that kind of influence. I do have 2 teenage daughters, however, and I like to think that I have their ear, so to speak. I hope they listen to what I say.

I have a handful of close friends, but only 1 that I can honestly say calls me with problems. Perhaps that’s the appeal of Fluther for me. People come here with questions, and for the ones I know something about, I feel like I have some input into their situation that might help.

I assert the little influence I have in the wider world by playing my small part. I vote regularly. I contribute very small amounts to campaigns that I believe in. I write to my elected officials about issues that really concern me.

In my town, I volunteer. Before it closed, I was a volunteer at the literacy center in my public library. I also help bring performing arts to my community by acting and taking part in the governance of the acting group I’m most closely aligned with. For the acting group, I even step far outside my comfort zone and help build sets using power tools and getting dirty.

I am just a small person in a big world, but I think I do my bit.

CMaz's avatar

I am the one that lives for me. I take the risks and roll the dice.
Living for what makes me happy, not the influence and afluence of others.

My family digs that and relates to it. Some of their dreams get lived out in me.
And, sometimes they wish I would get with “the Program”.

I see things they don’t. They respect that “gift” and clarity.

Loried2008's avatar

My family. I am the oldest of 6 girls and I have influenced them greatly over the years and didn’t even realize it. My parents have been influenced by me and my struggle to gain independence and grow socially. They are not the same with my sisters and for that I am grateful.

My school (my peers), I went from nothing to something. I walked into school unable to look someone in the eyes and say “hi”, by 12th grade I was top of my class, friends with everyone (not just one click), class musician, involved with everything I could be, and I even made prom queen. I couldn’t have changed so much without the influence of all of those around me.

I never thought I was important in this world. I never knew what I did for myself could help other people, but evidently it did. I feel like every person you come encounter with is influenced by you, even in the slightest ways. You can make or break someone’s day. We are all important and our words, but more importantly our actions, influence this world.

MissAnthrope's avatar

In the world, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think I wield much influence. At work, I’m respected because I work hard, have a good attitude, and can be relied on. This can help me be taken more seriously, but I have little direct influence on the running of things, even if I’m really good at seeing how things could be improved or streamlined. However, I frequently have the sense of Why doesn’t anybody listen to me?

In my personal life, it’s different. I’m complex, deep, and extremely guarded. I’m the kind of person you have to get to know and peel back the layers gradually. The deeper my relationship with someone, the higher the probability that our relationship will affect some changes on them. I don’t try to change people, but invariably, I play a role in the person’s self-discovery. A small part on a greater journey, if you will.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There are a few family members, friends and acquaintances that appreciate any pearls of wisdom that might be shared. In the same three groups, there are those that think I’m an idiot. And they all switch teams with alarming frequency based upon the message.

Megaperceptiva's avatar

I think it has a great influence on friends, colleague, and family. All these groups and can share knowledge, get information, and ask questions. It’s a good place for colleagues to learn how to become better worker, how to dress for an interview, and how to get hired. Friends can make and maintain friends. A parent can get parenting advice and for the father of a 18-year old, he knows how to let go. This is where people get a lot of answers to life toughest questions.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m the rich grandma, so when the adult grandkids needs money they call me. I’m the grandma with nothing else to do, so when anybody needs a ride or a babysitter, they call me. I always have an answer for any questions family members have, so they call me.

I do volunteer work for the Linus Project and our chapter always shares supply resources. I click on the hunger site every day and play on freerice.com regularly to help feed hungry people. I answer questions on various Q & A sites. I have no idea what the results of those activities is.

I donate to several charities, and I am confident that my efforts result in relieving a burden for someone, somewhere. I participate in local political and government activities, which is my form of community service to all the people.

I do my part to help the economy by being a conscientious consumer and taxpayer. I try to be aware of my impact on the environment, therefore helping to preserve the Earth for this and future generations, which I have also conscientiously contributed to.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

If members of my family are in the market for a product or service I advise them.

They have never been disappointed.

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