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I have recently had the occasion to browse through some online profiles and have found the phrase repeating through quite a few as a tag line: “Never make someone a priority who views you as an option”- or something to that effect. On its face it does look like a sensible piece of advice to follow. But then I thought about it. The intent of the phrase is really about commitment- basically, don’t commit to someone who is not willing to commit to you. That sounds like a reasonable thing to follow.

Life is always about options and choices. When you want something to eat you have your choices and options. If you want to go to a play you tend to ask a friend you know might enjoy it over someone who might say yes just because they don¿t want to disappoint you. Every time someone calls you asking you for help, they have exercised an option because, in reality, most people would prefer to be able to handle their own problems.

The point is that is that being seen as an option is more often an extension of trust. How many people do you really feel you have the option to call when you are in trouble, or have need of comfort? Is being an option really that bad? On the other side of it, how many people have friends that make them the number one priority every time they want to borrow something and lawd knows you wish they would exercise OTHER options?

Love is not about priorities and options. It is about respect. Some of us are more needy than others. And some of us prefer not to be smothered. The key is to make certain that BEFORE you decide to commit to someone, that the same things that are important to you are important to the other person. Little choices amount to big differences in priorities that can really destroy a relationship.

Some call it being nit-picky. How well I know how easy it is to give up on some of those little things when there seems to be slim pickings of available people around you. But you know as well as I that as soon as you compromise it, you feel miserable and also guilty for having gone in a direction you should not have gone in the first place.

It doesn’t take much to understand where somebody’s priorities are long before you get your head and heart wrapped up into them unless you just choose to be blind.  Just take a look at the life of a person. How they maintain their life, job, possessions, family, and friends. It is a clear map of priorities. And where there is concern by what you observe, ask for clarification.

Most people are generally consistent with their priorities.  When we feel like we have been burned, normally it is because we made changing the other person our priority instead of respecting what is clearly in front of us.