During a workshop on personalities, a participant asked, “What does it mean when your spouse won’t give you a straight answer on where to go for dinner?” The room erupted with comments and banter on how annoying that is. You know what I mean? You have one direct person and the other person is far more accommodating. So the direct person always picks where to go for dinner or what movie to watch. After years have gone by, the direct person finally asks, “Well, where do you want to go?” The spouse replies, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Where do you want to go?” They in turn respond, “It doesn’t matter to me, really. Where do you want to go?” They reply, “Oh, whatever you want is fine!” Okay, I know that exchange is excruciating just to read, let alone engage in!
So what is this all about? Here’s the gist. Each person has an idea of what they want, at least the majority of the time. But they have an inner dialogue running through their head that prevents them from speaking up. On the one hand, you might have dialogue from the direct person thinking, “I’ve made decisions all day. I don’t want to make another decision. I don’t care; just make up your mind. Can you just make a decision? I’m exhausted. I’m trying to be nice. I always pick the place. Last time I picked you complained the whole time, so now you should pick.” All the while, that’s what is going on behind the scene, never to be spoken aloud. Meanwhile, the other person is thinking, “If I tell you where I want to go you will make fun it. You’ll huff and puff and make the night miserable. You are so picky and you only like two places. So it’s just easier if I go along with you.” Again, all these thoughts are behind the scene, never to be spoken.
So what to do? Be honest! How difficult is that? What if you said, “I would like you to choose because I always choose and I know I’m picky so I want to do something nice for you”? Or “I would like to go here, but I want to make sure you’ll have a good time also.” Sometimes we spend so much time avoiding the conflict, but it would just be easier to say it like it is!