There’s a real thing called decision fatigue, it’s where you reach your maximum amount of decisions you can make with clarity in any given time and day. It is influenced by how much energy you have and how much you have eaten and slept.
I am a big fan of cutting through the chase and saying things explicitly, although at times I find that my social conditioning hinders this and I have to step over it. I know that sometimes people just want to be heard and don’t want people to tell them what to do but to only listen to them. I try my best to listen and then ask if they want me to tell them what I think.
As someone who likes to problem solve, as someone who likes to flip situations so they feel empowering, as someone who genuinely seeks the good things and aspects in life no matter how small they come, it is hard for me to just hold the space for someone without saying something to help.
Part of me thinks that if someone who knows me comes to me and talks about a problem they are having in their life, that they actually do want me to help with perspective or with a way through something. There have been times when friends have come to me for exactly that but I wasn’t in a space to help them with their exact problem based on what I was going through and when I suggested seeking professional help in as kind of a way as I could, it ended the friendship.
I know there have been countless times in my life when in the midst of too many decisions to be made and too much of a learning curve needed, or the lack of time, or a lack of perspective, that I wanted someone to just say it straight with me, to tell me what to do. It’s then up to me to follow through with it, or I can choose something different, but at least it gets the mental ball rolling in some direction which then has the physical self following along.
There have been times when something has happened to one of my kids, like the time my one year tipped over the couch head first and in teh small wedge between the wall and the couch where a slate fireplace hearth was being covered up and his his head causing instant swelling. My husband was in the air flying back home, and I called to my next emergency contact and just said “tell me what to do” and she did, and I followed the instructions and everything was okay, by the way we did end up at a hospital, the wrong one, but they were able to help us.
The thing is that it doesn’t have to be an emergency situation to need someone to tell you what to do. Sometimes it can be just a reminder of the things you already know to do but because of everything going on you forget, and by them just saying it explicitly, it can help. I find this especially true with moms with younger kids that we need a step by step process, almost a hand holding because we are holding other people’s hands all day, making decisions all day long from the moment we wake up until we go to bed about every little detail in our little people’s lives and in our households. So when the decision turns to us, the usually sleep deprived, caffeinated mom who usually puts herself last, we just need someone to say “Do this, then that, and that. Or what if you try this, or have you considered that?”
There are many times when I loathe being told what to do, and it can feel condescending if it’s coming from someone I’m not asking help from, or it can feel embarrassing, but if asking the right person who truly does have your best interest in mind, then it’s safe to explore the “tell me what to do” space.
If you want me to tell you what to do, let me know, I’m happy to give it a go firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t know, I can at least point you in a direction to take.