July 16, 2024

DECISION MAKING~ Are you a Straight-Shooter or a Fence-Sitter?


Do you have trouble making decisions?

When you have a decision to make, whether it’s big or small, do you dread having to do it?  Maybe you’re one of those self-assured decision makers who doesn’t understand why some people can’t “just make a decision!”  If you’re a straight-shooter and confident decision maker, you likely gather your thoughts, ponder the pros and cons, then make a decision based on your knowledge, experience and feelings.  I bow down to you.  Often the ease of decision making depends on the weight of the decision; (lightweight) Can you re-paint if you don’t like the colour you chose?  Or (heavyweight) Should you take a new job, move to a new city and have to make new friends?  Maybe you’re trying to decide if you should end (or start) a relationship.

Sometimes you can decide easily, but other times, it’s like torture trying to figure out how you feel about an issue, a person, a job direction or even just a colour choice.  How do we not know how we feel?

Why is it so hard for some of us to make decisions?

First, you are not alone.  Many of us agonize over the simplest of decisions.  You’re not crazy or lazy.  There may be other things going on here.  We will look at some possibilities and see if we can improve your ability to make decisions.

Second, even if there are circumstances or conditions contributing to your inability to confidently make decisions, such as depression or anxiety, there are ways to improve that skill.  Yes, it is a skill.

Straight-shooters– We know that people who are straight-shooters tend to be up-front, and clear about expressing their opinions and logical about decision making.  They’ve likely made decisions with positive results and therefore are confident in their ability.

Fence-sitters– What does it mean if you’re a fence-sitter?  According to Dictionary.com a fence-sitter is “a person who remains neutral or undecided in a controversy.”https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fence-sitter.  The definition I favour is from the Cambridge Dictionary, “someone who supports both sides in a disagreement because they cannot make a decision or do not want to annoy or offend either side.” https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fence-sitter.  This can be so annoying, whether you notice it in yourself, or someone else.

If you deal with depression or anxiety https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/anxiety-and-depression/in your life, understand that this can be a large part of your difficulty in making decisions.  Dig into your research a little more, with a focus on how and why decision making is affected.

If you’re not dealing with an underlying issue like depression or anxiety, then why can’t you just make a decision?


Consequences: Everyone has an opinion.  Don’t try to tell me you don’t.  Even if you are not fully committed to taking a side, or choosing one job over another, or what colour to paint your walls, my guess is that you lean toward one side more than the other, and you know it.  What’s happening here is you’re likely afraid to make the wrong choice.  You worry that your decision may hurt or impact people in your life.  Maybe you made a decision once that ended up being a poor choice and now you’re afraid of the consequences.  You retreat and end up procrastinating in hopes that it will just go away.  It won’t.  All you’re doing is wasting time.

Being Judged: Why are you so worried about what other people think?  Confidence, or lack thereof may be at play here.  If you don’t express your true opinion, flawed or unpopular as it may be, you’re just hurting yourself.  By not voicing your opinions, or by living a lifestyle that just doesn’t feel authentic, you’re living your life according to someone else’s choices.  Whether it be your clothing, your hair style, your after-work activities; would you rather go out for drinks?  Hit the gym?  Go home and garden?  Listen, life is short.  Time is too precious to waste living your life for other people.  You get one life.  You’ll be much happier if you live it your way.  If you do not take the time to figure out what genuinely makes you happy, you’re also probably causing yourself some unnecessary stress.  That makes no sense.

Your struggle may revolve around other people, or you may be battling your own thoughts.  You just don’t know what you want!  If you want pink walls, paint them pink!  If you love it, great!  If you don’t, go buy more paint.

If the weight of the decision is heavier, such as whether you should you stay with this guy or not?  That takes more thought.


I’m a big fan of Mel Robbins, Life Coach, T.V. show Host, and Author.  She says that while you must consider both the practical and logical, you have to listen to what your heart tells you.

But how do you do that?  You know when you spend time with someone, attend a class or event, and you leave there feeling so pumped?  Something about the conversation with that person, or that activity, energized you.  You need to listen to that.  That’s your heart and your gut telling you something.  “Pay attention to what energizes you!” says Mel.  Knowing what energizes you will help you make decisions.  You think you should paint your walls a neutral, safe color because it’s practical, but when you think of how happy you would feel with a pink wall, you get excited!  Listen to your gut.  Who cares what your friend thinks!  Most decisions aren’t permanent.  You can change your mind if you want to.  Just take the step.  Do yourself a favour and read the book The 5 Second Rule, https://melrobbins.com/five-elements-5-second-rule/by Mel Robbins.  In it, she describes how when most of us have that instinct to speak up, or to do something, instead we hesitate out of fear.  In those few seconds of hesitation, we talk ourselves out of it.  Whether it’s deciding whether or not to speak up, to share our true opinion or to do something…you’ve got to make a positive move.  Last year I read that producers for The Mel Robbins Show were looking for a people with a specific issue.  I thought to myself, huh, that is so me!  I should email them.  Two seconds later, I moved on to something else.  Then, I remembered The 5 Second Rule, got up, and contacted them.  The result of that decision?  I was put on a plane the next day, put up in a nice hotel in New York, enjoyed a fabulous dinner, walked through Central Park, appeared on the show and met a doctor, Mark Hymen M.D who changed my life.  All because I learned not to hesitate.  I learned to listen to my gut.  I spoke up.

On The Mel Robbins Show
On The Mel Robbins Show

Tips for decision making

If you have to make a decision between this or that, think about how you would advise a friend in the same position.  You would likely be a bit more objective in helping her.  Try to be objective in making your own decisions (the logical and practical) but understand that the result of this decision should energize you.  It should make you feel good, happy, satisfied, hopeful and positive.  If the decision you’re about to make is going to make you feel that you’ve silenced yourself, compromised your values or that your life has somehow shrunk because of it, then try to recognize that this may be the wrong decision.

If you need to make a decision regarding a person in your life; someone you’re dating for instance, Mathew Hussey, an English born Life Coach, YouTube personality and Author says that we need to think about whether this person expands us, or contracts us.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9HGzFGt7BLmWDqooUbWGBg Does this person expand your life, make it better? Or does this person make you feel smaller, insignificant? Listen to your heart.

So, make that call, speak up in that meeting, share your honest opinion, act on what your heart knows is the right thing for you.  Do what’s best for you.  It might be the first step you take toward your new life.  Whether that decision turns out to be right or wrong, at least you acted.  You practiced the skill of decision making.  That in itself is a very positive move.

Life is too short to be living it according to someone else’s standards.  You won’t always make the perfect decision, but if you continue to sit on the fence, you will waste valuable time.

Thanks for reading.  Check back every Sunday afternoon for my next post.

Carol Paino~ Parts Of Ourselves


Matthew Hussey. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9HGzFGt7BLmWDqooUbWGBg

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