I’ve been thinking about this for a while, of course, but I’m thinking about it tonight because of this advice column. And this is a really… bare-bones idea, not rigorously tested, and coerciveness vs okayness is sort of a spectrum, there are gray areas, but I think it boils down to two main factors:
- How much are you asking of the other person, what would it cost them to do what you’re asking them to do?
- How much power do you have to impose negative consequences on them if they say no?
and then, what you could call the actions of coercion or manipulation– as separate from whether someone effectively feels pressured or not, which can happen without any extra effort or fail to happen even when someone is trying to manipulate them– those actions would be defined as things that (from #1) twist a serious cost to seem like a minor cost, or (from #2) create or threaten extra negative consequences.