Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sherry has a really interesting post about impatience and group decision making and those conversations where people are deciding where to eat and no one really cares and it goes back and forth forever and no one wants to make a decision.

She writes that she hates those conversations and even when she doesn't care, she'll suggest something just to avoid the pointless conversation. I can't help but think her friends are a lot happier than she thinks they are when she does that. That's exactly what everyone's hoping someone'll do, isn't it?

See, I'm not very often the one to step up and make a decision in situations like that, but it's not like it's something I'm all that happy with myself about, like, ooh, how flexible I am, how exciting. No, I feel like in a way I operate with a low-level fear that I'll do something to make someone upset but they'll be too polite to say anything about it. The where-to-eat thing is trivial, but works okay as the example. It's much more important to me that no one hates me than we eat where I want to eat. I don't care where we eat, if it's somewhere whoever I'm with wants to eat, and I'd rather be the flexible one than the decision maker. But this is stupid, because it's not like if someone picks somewhere I don't want to eat I'm really going to have any bad feelings toward them at all -- I won't care or remember and it's just not a big deal in any way. Plus it frustrates people a lot more when we stand there and no one wants to make a decision, yet no one steps up.

So she wants to be more passive, I want to be more assertive... is there anyone who can even occupy the middle ground here? I guess "You pick this time, I pick next time" (or the reverse) is the right solution for this, even in an unenforced way. It shows flexibility, but also forces a decision to get made. There. I've solved this problem permanently for humanity.