“Hey, can you help me?” he asked.
“Yes! What’s up? What’s wrong?” I reply hastily. I don’t get this kind of message from him often.
“I’m okay, there’s just this girl…” Okay, I never get THIS kind of message from him.
I felt like I had spent my entire life preparing for this moment. My teenaged nephew is asking me for help… about relationships? Maternal instincts: engage! Breathe. OK. What do I do? What do I say? Play it cool, play it cool.
I leap around for a few moments with a stupid “I’m a cool aunt” smirk on my face before calming down to actually respond. I give my friends relationship advice all the time, but this was in a category of its own.
Without revealing too many details, the girl in question was a little confused about her feelings. While I was tempted to respond “WELL, THE BRAT DOESN’T DESERVE YOU THEN! IS SHE AN IDIOT? WHAT’S HER ADDRESS? TEXT ME WHERE SHE LIVES!” I decided to take the less crazy, less scandalous, er, penitentiary route. I asked him a few questions without prying (always important to gather data), then offered up some advice, and hoped I didn’t blow it.
It had me thinking about women, and no, not the “not a girl, not yet a woman” 14-year-olds, I mean twenty to thirty-something-year-old women. For some reason, we’re often pegged to be indecisive. But you know, I’ve been there. I’ve been the indecisive one saying, (albeit a little more maturely) “I like you, but I don’t know if I want to be with you.”
There were many times in my past when I would convince myself that I didn’t know what to do with my own feelings, leaving me to dabble masochistically in the indecisive zone. Old Southern phrases would pour into my mind: “shit or get off the pot!” and “you can’t ride two horses with one ass!” But, why not? Making decisions is a difficult thing, you know? But it’s the adult thing to do, and into our 20s and 30s, we should have little patience for others and ourselves when indecisiveness controls a situation. Indecision is not a safe zone. It creates an area for us to take less responsibility, while potentially harming others and ourselves along the way.
So is indecision really about wading in an area of fewer rules, while putting off possible guilt or regret? As our dear guest writer in The Cowardly Break-Up pointed out, “Girls, we always know, and if we don’t know, then it’s not right.” I read this and thought, “Yes! She’s got it!” Now I know it’s not always broken down that simply, but gray area can be a horrible place for a relationship and your psyche (and probably the other person’s as well). Taking a moment to not over-complicate things and do our best to break them down to their simplest form can be helpful when making a decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that decisions are easy, just merely that decisions are necessary. And yes those gray areas will always exist, and sometimes they are there for very good reasons. We should all give ourselves a bit of that luxury, to clear our minds so we can (in lieu of being cheesy) follow our hearts.
Decision Making Pointers:
- Talk it out. Talk it out with your mother, therapist, auntie, coworker or best friend. They may have the best advice, or none at all. But having someone listen while you hash out your own feelings is key.
- Write it out. Only you know your true feelings, don’t be afraid of them. (PS: Lists are always great.)
- Ride it out. Take a quick dip in the the gray area if necessary, but don’t get too comfortable.
- Choose the option that makes you happy. Yes, you need to put yourself first in this one.
- Have a candid conversation with the other person. Sometimes communicating through the doubts and fears will dry up indecision the quickest.