Tag Archives: outs

The Courtesy of Giving Outs – or The Illusion of Choice

I don’t plan on doing much pontificating, or ranting on this blog, but I thought I’d talk about this.

Here’s a scenario:

You have a friend who is throwing a party, or a get-togther, or something.  They’ve sent you an invitation, and tell you that they “hope you can make it”.  For some reason or another (it could be any reason, really), you can’t actually make the party, and say “Sorry, I can’t be there!”.

At which point, your friend completely rejects your decision, and starts questioning you on why it is that you can’t make it.  They try to find solutions for you, just so that you can show up.  They just can’t take “no” as an answer, and leave it be.  It just doesn’t sink in for them.

That really pisses me off.  And it doesn’t have to be an invitation to a party, either.  It happens anytime someone gives you a choice, and then rejects your decision. This is not a choice – it’s the illusion of a choice.  The only way it seems like a real choice is when you choose in the other person’s favour – in which case, everything is peachy-keen.  Choosing otherwise, however, becomes a hassle.

It gets even worse if they try to punish you, or shame you for your choice.  “Oh come on, don’t be a jerk…”, “That’s lame, dude…”, “You’re really letting us down…”, etc.  It sort of implies that you (the person who was given the choice) are not capable of making the “correct” choice, or are not capable of forseeing the outcomes of the choice.  To me, this type of behaviour, while not intentionally malicious,  is highly manipulative and disrespectful.

The best situation, is when the other person simply respects your choice.  They might question you on your choice out of sheer curiosity (“are you doing something else that night?  Oh, that’s cool, no worries…”), but no struggle.  I refer to this as “giving outs”.

For example, anytime I invite people over, I do my best to “give outs”.  I say something like, “want to come over?  If not, that’s cool – I just thought it’d be a nice day to hang out”.

Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of courtesy and respect.