My husband is a very patient man. Clearly, he would have to be to put with me and all my nonsense (AKA Julia’s Math)! But, I cannot take all the blame (credit?) for my behaviors, especially when it comes to decision making. My family- mainly my mother- has several bad habits when it comes to making a decision. It doesn’t matter the size of the decision, as all decisions are treated with the same Level 10 severity. This makes Thomas, my usually patient and level headed husband, throw an Emma-style temper tantrum.
I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that most families probably do not approach decision making the same way as mine does… I would guess that when a family decision needs to be reached in other people’s houses, the family gathers and has one conversation. During said conversation, they evaluate known facts, discuss possible outcomes, and reach a decision. Sometimes, someone might even make their opinion known, although most of the time this is implied within the context of the conversation and not overly proclaimed. This process usually takes all of five minutes and is done in less than ten sentences.
This is how my husband’s family works. It seems to work well… No one gets upset and things actually get done as a direct result of the decision making process.
My family, however, does not roll like that. My family cannot even fathom this process. Truth be told, I have been “in” Thomas’ family for almost ten years and it still amazes me… I remember walking away from his family’s discussion thinking, it can’t be this easy! Surely that was just a warm up round, or something. It seemed impossible to me that a decision that everyone was relatively happy with could be reached so quickly and calmly!
My family has taken the art of Non-Decision Making to new levels. Non-decision making does not imply that we do not want to reach a decision; it means that we are going to make it as difficult as possible to reach one. While similar to procrastination, it is in fact different. According to Wikipedia, in psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. Non-decision making is based on wanting to be gracious, putting others’ needs in front of one’s own.
In the interest of saving your sanity, I will give you some time to let this process sink in. To me, it seems perfectly normal. Admitedly, not the quickest; but at least normal. I have been told that to ‘normal” people (like my husband, or my father forty years ago) that is not the case. Next, I will outline a typical conversation in the art of non decision making…