People who can’t decide

Have you ever been at a restaurant with someone who can’t make up their mind on what to order from the menu? 

It can be nerve wracking. 

It’s like watching a pot of water, waiting for it to boil.  Time stands still; your time that is. 

Time for the rest of the people in the restaurant goes merrily on at its normal pace as they get their orders in and meals delivered while you are slowly starving to death.

The temptation, of course, is to make your lunch companion’s decision for them. 

Life is full of examples like this.  But remember…

There is a huge difference between making decisions that impact others and making other people’s decisions.

We all have to make decisions that will impact others.  It may be planning a weekly menu for the family or it may be planning a major corporate reorganization for the firm, but whatever you decide will impact others. 

That is a part of the responsibility of being a responsible person.  And the better decisions you make the better other people’s lives will be.

But to make other people’s decisions is a different story. 

This shortcut, in the long run, is crippling and humiliating. 

Many times, we mean well, but in the end, making other people’s decisions for them hinders their maturity and stymies growth and potential.

It can be as simple as finishing other people’s sentences for them or as complex as micromanaging a large organization.  It can an overprotective parent who will not let their “baby” grow up or the over-reaching boss who can’t let other people do their job without constanly looking over their shoulder. 

Whatever the case, nobody really wins when someone insists on making decisions that others should be making. 

So, what to do when someone else needs to make the decision?

  1. Wait.
  2. Wait some more (maybe bite your tongue to keep from saying anything)
  3. Play dumb and wait some more
  4. If at all possible, accept their decision (Do it their way.  You may have made a better decision, but there’s a bigger issue going on here…growth and maturity)
  5. Celebrate their good decisions
  6. Support them in the bad decisions (“I told you so” is not supporting them!)
  7. Repeat the process

And by the way, the next time you’re at a restaurant with someone who has trouble making up their mind on what to order, immediately order an appetizer.  That allows you to do something and buys them some time and keeps you from starving to death in the process.  (Take this advice from a voice of experience.)

The ONE THING for today: Everybody wins when you do a good job at making your decisions; nobody wins when you do a good job at making other people’s decisions. 

Photo by Fraser Cottrell on Unsplash

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