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As to conversations that go around and around, I like to deal with those by phrasing my suggestion as a suggestion - something like "I don't really care - how about the Hobbit? What do you think? Prefer anywhere else?"

In general, in relationships or in trying to fix a place to go out to, there's nothing wrong with telling the other people involved what would be a good solution in your eyes, and then suggesting that you're happy to wait for their input, but if the process drags on suggesting that maybe you can proceed on some sort of provisional basis, or just make an arbitrary decision, or that you'll be checking out alternatives or whatever you want to do to cut down on uncertainty. That said, in a relationship you'll need to have some sort of patience, or leave people with options if you don't want to cut things down.

Or you could try to restrict your interactions to decisive and emotionally mature people only. If you do, let me know how you managed it.


I agree with Marcin's comments. I think you can influence such situations and help bring things to closure with the proper delivery. By offering suggestions with a positive tone, others will not view your decisiveness in a negative light. The tone of your message is just as important as the words you choose to utter, in my opinion. I've run across many people in this world that haven't got the slightest clue why they have such trouble communicating with others. Often their issue is that they fail to comprehend what messages are conveyed with their tone. What is equally interesting is while they can't hear their own tone, they are very attune to others and become quite annoyed when they broadcast similar messages through tone.


I find it's pretty rare that the "where should we go to breakfast?" conversation becomes so unresolved that breakfast gets canceled altogether. But on the rare instances when that occurs, whatever happens instead is bound to be more interesting anyway.


Charm and tact cover a multiple of sins. Miss Manners would have no trouble with this at all. I suppose at the end of the day you don't want to have to be charming with an intimate, so to the extent you aren't instinctively charming, turning on the charm is a temporary fix. But I think habits of interaction can become instinctive, especially with a particular person. My spouse and I certainly work on changing our habits.


Leave room to get rejected. Yeah, horribly painful, I know. But you KNOW it is a problem, and have been so proud of yourself when you can do this. The subtext of what you said you do -- and how you VIEW it once you have backed out (as rejection) tell you what you have to work on. Give somebody the space to reject you, and just let it ride. If they don't, you get to be happy; if they do, you keep right on living and the terror involved in the fear of the unknown is gone. I really understand how hard this is, believe me, but I also believe that taking a chance on uncertainty (even where it means hanging out in it with your heart over the blender) is the only way to really live. And yes, I've had my heart ripped out and handed to me. I am still here. You are stronger than I am, and will still be here, too. Keep trying! It takes practice to stop plotting and planning for 15 minutes at a time. We alpha types must learn to examine a little less at times.

Carolyn Elefant

The "I don't know, where do you want to go" isn't necessarily a sign of concern or a signal of accomodation. It also reflects a lack of self-confidence in asserting an opinion or a fear that you'll offer a suggestion that will be rejected. I engage in that "I don't know where" much more than I like, though I am trying to break the habit - but my hedging often comes from fear of my ideas being rejected and only sometimes out of concern that I'll pick something that the other person won't like very much. I would much rather be like you and I think most people feel the same.
As for the relationship aspect, I don't think there's anything wrong with the decisiveness. You can give someone a chance or give a situation a chance to develop but really, after 3 or 4 months, you either know it's going to work or it won't. There's not much in between.


I see the breakfast example in a much different light than the other writers. This is a negotiation in which the prize (picking the restaurant)is very small. (The reward of having breakfast together is already established.) Therefore most people are unwilling to pay the price (appearing bossy, pushy, etc.) for no gain. In that case they devolve into the "nice guy" negotiator personality. The "datacrat" personality will start asking what is good a which restaurant. It remains for the more decisive types to break the deadlock. That person may be the "bulldog or steamroller" type who loses patience quickly and wants to get to a goal. Or it could be the more everfescent butterfly type who wants to land getting ready to contemplate the next adventure. I like Marcin's suggested way out of having to deal with such low impact negotiations.

When it comes to negotiations the prize is much bigger. Why not pay the price and encourage resolution. You will never have "all the information,' not until you've lived a lifetime together. In that case I find that "there is no time like the present" is a better approach than "everything in its time." Why? Because it is not "its" time, it is our time.

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