There are many reasons we are attracted to someone or not. Often, it takes a while to experience their behaviors before we decide if we like who they are or not. And it’s fascinating to see how some overlook actions that would be deal breakers to others.
Yesterday we had an extended family celebration at a rented community center. My 25-year-old niece, her boyfriend and I took charge of the kitchen duties. My niece and I would confer on what needed to be done next and how best to do it. The boyfriend, however, took it on himself to decide what he would do. When my niece suggested a different approach, he’d push back.
Sometimes we weren’t all in the kitchen at the same time so I wasn’t always present for their discussions . After delivering a dish to the buffet table, I scanned what was in progress and what needed to happen next.
With the boyfriend absent, I noticed 3/4 of the chicken wings were in the oven. Since there was plenty of room in the pan, I didn’t understand why all of it wasn’t warming. I asked my niece what she was intending for the other pieces. She said the boyfriend thought some people might want to eat it cold. I said, “They wouldn’t know they had that option until it was on their plate and they picked it up.” In other words, there was no need for the separation.
At the end of the event, while I was out of the kitchen bringing in dishes, he took it upon himself to throw out perfectly good food. One of our group was planning to take leftovers to a homeless family shelter she supports. The dishes would have been a treat for them. The boyfriend had thrown out fruit, chicken, vegetables and other food the families would have enjoyed. I asked him to stop so we could salvage some of the food not yet in the trash.
When we transferred the food to serving platters, I’d carefully saved the resealable dishes and bags the food came in. I told the other two that we’d save these in case there were leftovers. Since we were in a rented facility, not a home, there were no zip bags or containers for leftovers. After dinner, when I returned to the kitchen to clean up, I noticed these containers were gone, with nothing for the leftovers. When I asked them where the containers were, he said he’d taken them to the trash to make more room. Arrgh. I made do by putting leftovers in large cups covered with plastic wrap.
It cemented my belief that I would have a difficult time being with someone whose thinking process I didn’t respect. Of course, in this case it’s more than his thinking that I don’t like — it’s his acting independently, making decisions that affect others without any sense of the havoc he’s wrecking for later. I greatly admire people who think through their decisions, but are flexible to make adjustments along the way.
So was I irritated with him for not thinking like me? Perhaps. But if he’d thought differently yet had a similar or better result, great! I don’t have a lock on good ideas. What bothers me is that he has a “I know best” attitude without being open to anyone else’s input. My niece and I would bounce things off each other and were happy if the other had a better idea.
My niece doesn’t like this part of him, but she is very forgiving of behaviors her mother, sister and I think are unacceptable. Yes, we are judgmental, but know we aren’t in a relationship with him. Although, we do find it hard to be around him.
As you begin to date someone, notice how you feel about his thinking process. Can you live with it, no matter how different it is from how you’d approach a situation? Or, are you like me, and lose respect for people who’s decisions seem ill-thought to you?
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