Sometimes we think that inaction is not a "choice". But I argue that not making a choice also has it's own consequences. Many times not making the choice is as good as a "no."
Let's say you are in a very hard position: conflicting loyalties, pivoting on guilt, etc. Let's also say- you are the only one who can improve a situation. Rather than choose- you do nothing, say nothing, avoid it altogether. That is a death blow to the person who needs your strength, security and influence. It relegates the person to live in a workable conflict; but without action- it will be an ongoing conflict. By not doing anything, you are asking the person to put up with the state of things because you can't figure out what your purpose is and what is the most important.
Sorry to say, but I think men are most to blame in this area. Women are more apt to make a decision (even if it's sorely received) than to leave people hanging and worrying about being held accountable. They will live, speak and act with conviction. Men will wait for an external component of the situation to shift and act when he's most likely going to have a win-win situation, or at least a win situation. Unfortunately, life presents us many excruciating decisions that will each have their own thorns. Life doesn't shift so that we can win; life itself doesn't care about biases or turns.
If my child is hurting another child, I have to be able to hang the "loyalty" card for the "teaching" card and correct my child within the context of the situation. If I don't act on it, I will give my child the idea that they can harm people without repercussions. It gives the parent the message that you don't parent according to what's right. To the parent, you have just caved to a child a fraction of your own age. Is that really a win?
Let's say, we don't want it to be "our child" that ruins a plan, but on this day life hands you a child, your child, who picks the worst time to be naughty. Do we ignore this bad behavior because it's unbearable that the source is our own child? Or do we carry out our intention of not rewarding bad behavior. Believe me, I've been there and it felt horrible to do the right thing!
Let's err with the side of "if the situation makes you want to make an exception to the rule- this is THE TIME to live out the rule." Get cozy with that uncomfortable feeling, may I call it a feeling of sabotage or failure? But- it happens... and from what I've heard, it happens to everybody!
Loyalty to people misleads our decisions and judgments. Loyalty to our convictions and to character may hurt- but you can never go wrong by going this way. Come on people- make the hard decisions!