Verdict: inconclusi­ve



Being decisive is an underrated life skill, like knowing how to put out an electrical fire or being comfortabl­e talking to your friends’ parents. I know this because it’s a skill I lack. All three are, in fact. We are bombarded with decisions every day. Decisive people may not realise this because those decisions don’t appear like giant boulders in their paths. My less decisive pals will know what I’m talking about, though. Every minute is filled with tiny choices. Some may be inconseque­ntial in the scheme of things, but for the indecisive, they never appear that way. Each choice matters and must be dissected in great detail. Just think of the ripple effect of those goddamn butterfly wings.

Your choice of socks; what to eat for breakfast; how much coffee is just enough to keep you awake, but not enough to reduce you to an anxious mess. If you’re indecisive, you’ve probably lost about 16 days of your life making these judgment calls. I think I’ve lost 22 on the coffee question alone – and yet, I still get it wrong and end up shakier than a maraca. Despite years of struggling with decisions,

I still don’t have a systematic, time-saving way of assessing my options and making a firm call. Type A people would. They’d develop some decision-making matrix that’s efficient, colour-coded and a little psychopath­ic. But what’s more ridiculous? A well-organised system or evenings lost to scrolling on food delivery apps so long that all your restaurant options close and you end up eating toast again? When it came to big life choices – decisions about a job, relationsh­ip, babies, pets, homes and which bottle of wine says ‘I’m not cheap’ but actually is – I used to have the best system. It’s a system many adults employ, and it serves them well. When faced with a decision, I’d call my dad. He would always know the answer. Selfishly, he then made the biggest decision of all – to shuffle off this mortal coil – leaving me indecisive and adrift. In the six years since, I have made many bad decisions and lost many more years of my life to the creation of prosand-cons lists. I’ve tried calling his mobile, long since disconnect­ed, in the hope it might alert him to my need and trigger an answer from the next realm, guiding me towards the best type of bread to buy: wholemeal or multigrain, DAD?

Out of desperatio­n, I’ve recently resorted to a new system. It works pretty well, but take caution when applying it – it could lead to fights and fractures with your loved ones. Here’s what happens: I call someone, either my sister or my partner, and tell them my options. I list out the pros and cons, then I wait. They usually start leaning towards one or the other – generally the sensible choice; the one with the most ‘pros’. When this happens, my hackles rise up at the injustice of this person deigning to know what could possibly be best for me. Then I choose the opposite, the one with the most cons. And voilà: I have a decision. It may not be the best, and my confidante is left frustrated, but on we go. Having someone extol the virtues of an option my gut thinks is the wrong one instantly triggers me. Nothing else makes the decision so clear.

Yes, I’m a nightmare sister and girlfriend, this is nothing new. But at least my decisions are being made. Life is moving forward, propelling me towards yet another jug of coffee, cask of wine or loaf of white bread. It’s no Excel matrix, but it works for me.

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