The Damaging Negativity of “I Don’t Mind”
Many of us will answer “I don’t mind” to a vast array of questions. From what we want for dinner, for what we want to do.
The reason that most of us will say ‘I don’t mind’ a lot is probably because we think it’s the more pleasant response when posed with a question. Rather than forcing everyone to do what we want, we instead pretend that we don’t have an opinion in order to ensure that everyone else is happy.
On other occasions you can’t decide what to do for best and don’t want the responsibility of making the wrong choice, so you say ‘I don’t mind’ thereby giving someone else the job of making that decision.
Actually though, this tends not to be how things play out. For starters, there’s a very real chance that everyone will say they don’t mind, which then slows things down and prevents you from making any progress and usually results in one of the worst outcomes. Now you’ve just inconvenienced everyone else and ended up doing something that no one wanted to do… great!
Another danger is that you end up seeming disinterested, like you don’t care about the question enough to give an answer. That’s pretty annoying when someone is offering you a hot drink…
Alternatively you say you don’t mind, the other person then gives their opinion, and so you default to doing what they want instead. That then means that you don’t get to do what you wanted to do, and in some scenarios you may even end up resenting them for that. Which is pretty nuts really when you failed to provide an alternative option…
The other problem is that when you say you don’t mind, it appears as though you have no opinion or are just completely indecisive. This may come as a surprise to you, but that’s actually not something that people consider particularly attractive. Keep saying I don’t mind and pretty soon you’ll come across as ‘wet’. Want more respect? Then learn to make at least the tiniest decisions – such as whether you’d rather have orange juice or apple juice.
Here’s the worst part: if you keep saying “I don’t mind” then you might well come across as though you don’t feel you value your own opinion enough to share it – or that you don’t feel you’re entitled to a vote.
This can eventually change the way that others see you, and even lead you to actually believe that about yourself.
Speaking Your Mind
‘I don’t mind’ is essentially conflict avoidance taken to the extreme, and if you don’t stop it now, then you’ll possibly find yourself coming off worse in the vast majority of discussions and looking completely incapable of making decisions.
And the crazy part is that there’s actually nothing impolite at all about speaking your mind and saying what you’d prefer. Just make sure you make it clear that you’ll potentially go along with another decision and don’t be too forceful with your opinion. Instead of ‘I don’t mind’, try: ‘I’d prefer we had the lasagne tonight, but I’m open to other options’. There you go, that wasn’t so hard was it?