Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Decidedly Indecisive

One of the things Joe and I have had to learn about each other, especially since getting married, is that we both have very different approaches to decision-making. Joe can usually make up his mind pretty quickly, unless it's a situation where he doesn't really care one way or another (quite frequent). I, on the other hand, prefer to check out the options at least a bit, to be sure I am making a choice I will be completely happy with - and in the end I do usually have a pretty distinct preference. Thankfully this hasn't been a real source of conflict, but we've both definitely had a chance to learn patience with each other. :)

The funny thing is, before I got married I thought I was decisive and able to make up my mind quickly. Ha! I'm realizing now that I was comparing myself to my family and...well, let's just say that they tend to take a while to decide on pretty much anything. ;) Guess that's what happens when two second-borns get married, hehe. Growing up in that environment definitely taught a lot of patience to this naturally go-to, decisive firstborn - God knew I needed it to become more balanced. :)

This familial indecisiveness has resulted in some hilarious experiences over the years, as I recorded in a journal entry from 2004 (a few of you may remember seeing this on LJ back then). Names have been changed to protect the innocent. ;)

Scene: A vanful of 10 people, three generations. Characters are tired from a 4-day trade show; most have head colds in various stages. Time is 7:00 p.m. on a dark winter evening.

The trailer is finally packed with booth remnants and characters load into the van. Amid noisy protests from Tired People, Hungry People cautiously bring up the idea of getting something to eat before heading home. Head Of The Family is favorable to the idea, especially when a sub sandwich coupon is found. Hungry People's hopes rise.

Driver finds Subway in the maze of the unknown city and parks vehicle. An observant Tired Person points out that the coupon in hand is not actually for Subway. Head Of The Family suddenly remembers that "gobs and gobs" of crackers and granola bars are already somewhere in the van, and suggests that Hungry People eat them.

Hungry People want something besides crackers and granola bars, but resign themselves to such if that is what the Head Of The Family wants. They don't have to have more food. They will survive.

Head Of The Family reconsiders, saying that maybe Subway will accept the coupon anyway and asks who will go in and find out. Finally two Hungry People and one impatient Tired Person go in to Subway with the Head Of The Family. After ten minutes of reading the shockingly high priced menu, they come back out and announce that Subway does not accept the coupon. Hungry people sigh and resign themselves to starvation.

Confused Driver starts van and heads for the highway. Head Of The Family sees a grocery store and tells Confused Driver to stop. Do the Hungry People want to see if the deli has something reasonably priced? Do the Hungry People want to buy bread to make sandwiches? No, even crackers and granola bars sound better than deli food. Tired People's hopes rise.

Confused Driver again turns van towards the highway. Head Of The Family sees a pizza shop and realizes he has a coupon for it. Do the Hungry People want pizza? One Very Hungry Person replies with a definite affirmative. Head Of The Family tells Confused Driver to stop, but it is too late. They must go all the way to the end of the busy block and turn the awkward rig around in a small parking lot.

Finally back at the pizza shop, Head Of The Family goes in and orders a pizza. The next ten minutes are spent deciding if the Hungry People, the Tired People, or the Head Of The Family should pay for the pizza. The Tired People end up paying for it, even though they have no plans to eat any themselves. Hungry People feel bad for bringing up the idea of food in the first place.

Head Of The Family goes in and fetches the solitary pizza. It smells good, but the crust is literally cracker-thin, the cheese is sparse and runny, and the hamburger is represented by distantly-spaced lumps. Even the Hungry People vehemently agree that it wasn't worth $10.

Confused Driver quickly consumes a flimsy piece of pizza and then finally turns the van homeward, much to the relief of Tired People and Hungry People alike.

...and now you all know why we usually end up taking all our own food with us on trips. ;)
So, tell me: are you decisive? Do you think it has anything to do with birth order or upbringing, or just the way God made our personalities all a bit different?


  1. I am not first born and I am much like you - I make sure I have researched and made a good decision I will be happy with.
    Ben is a spontaneous person and I don't think he ever regrets his choices although I often do if he is spontaneous *G*. (why didn't you look it up first?) But I am also a bit skeptical/critical and even if somebody tells me something is a good deal, a good choice etc I insist on researching to make sure they know what they are talking about and Ben takes people at their word even if they are salesmen . . . ;) It has resulted in many interesting situations and we are very flexible now "What do you want to do?" "I dn't care, just make a choice." "but I don't want you (Heather) to regret it, whereas I won't regret anything you pick." "Ben, just pick where you want to go."
    "But I really don't care Heather, I want to do what you want to do." LOL

  2. Hehe - fun to hear how you guys have differences in this area, too. ;) Sounds a lot like Joe and I. Thankfully it hasn't been a great source of conflict for us, though it has been a little confusing at times. I think we actually balance each other out in needed ways with this - and with a lot of other areas, too. Neat how that works. :)

  3. I smiled as I started reading. I can usually make up my mind pretty quickly, I think. Josiah is more like you, and wants to explore all the options before making a decision. If we want to rent a movie, he has to pick out a handful first, then narrow them down slowly. Whereas I want to look until I see one I want to watch and be done with it. lol

    We're both second borns! Different personalities, I guess. :) People are usually surprised that 2 second borns got married. We work well together anyways. ;-)

  4. I'm a 2nd born, technically ;-) but I like to explore all the options before making a decision. It depends on the situation... if it involved money and a large sum of it, I can take weeks to decide and weigh out the options and commit. But if it were something like a quick trip to town or an impromptu bowling night, I'm all for spontaneity. But I also like to ask everyone for their opinions ("Where do you want to eat?") and if everyone else is in favor of doing something else, I usually comply because it really wasn't a big deal to me in the first place. :)

    Your story is hilarious although I'm sure at the time it was somewhat frustrating...