What do you want to do?

When people ask "what do you want to do,"I hear "what do I want to do? Guess. Then tell me." Because you have to figure out what they want you to do. Or at least that is what I think when I hear that.

search and pick and think of what you know about them
come up with options that they are ok with
or that you think might be good
ask them and then try and see what their reactions are
then pick the one they seemed to react more positively to
give them options

never choose outright

always quiet
always waiting and watching

be quiet
don't upset
don't make people do things for you
don't make people do things they don't want

if someone is to be inconvenienced or unhappy, it should be me


I was talking with boyfriend. He asks me what I want to do rather frequently, since we spend a fair amount of time together. One day I finally got stressed enough about it that I told him this. Why did he keep asking me what I wanted to do? Wouldn't it just be easier to tell me what he wants us to do, instead of making me guess something that would keep him happy?



When he asks me what do I want to do
it isn't a trick
it isn't a trap

It really, honestly 100% means what do I want to do.

I don't have to guess what he wants to do.

I get to choose.

There is no good reason for me thinking it is a trick or a trap. Boyfriend doesn't do that sort of thing. The only thing he ever tricks me into is saying "I love you more" so that he can say "I love you most" and win. (But that is ok.) Or at chess. But that is also sort of the point of chess, so that is more open deception, because you know people are trying to trick you.


Apparently, this is a relatively universal custom. "What do you want to do" often means just that. Literally. I am not sure where Miss Literal Girl me managed to pick up "What do you want to do?" meaning the opposite. (Although I suppose some people are awful passive-aggressive people, who actually do mean the opposite, but boyfriend isn't and most of my family isn't and my close friends aren't.)

Part of this is guest-hospitality-customs. When people are over at my place, they are the guest, so they get to choose. Part of being the host is inconveniencing yourself for your guest.* But I don't just do this with guests. I do this all the time. Anytime someone asks me what do I want to do, I try and figure out the answer. What is it that they want to do.

I think part of it is probably me being confused with specific versus general cases at some point that I don't really remember. That tends to happen with me and my autistic brain. 

Part of it is me valuing other people's happiness over my own. And my extremely strong aversion to disappointing people. I would rather do something I dislike doing than disappoint someone, because I am going to be unhappy either way, so they might as well be happy, is my reasoning. But I also think things will disappoint people far, far more than they do it real life. For example, me choosing to watch Princess Bride over some other movie probably wouldn't be a big disappointment. (Of course that is a bad example, because Princess Bride is always the answer.)

Part of it is probably older-sister-stuff, where a lot of the time it was just easier to do what the other one wanted. So parts of me are just programmed into considering what other people want to do before I make decisions. (Which is totally unfortunate because somehow that missed my sisters, especially the youngest one.)

And then there is also a great big chunk of "this is the way I have always answered 'what do you want to do questions' and I certainly don't know what I actually want to do" because there are so many possibilities it can be a bit overwhelming" and "often I don't actually know what I want to do."


Mess mess mess.

(Although that is a whole different topic, where you have to invite people to stay with you and let them stay with you, but on the plus side, you can also invite yourself to stay with them at any time.  For instance, when I travelled through Europe this summer, I visited and stayed with several family members I had never met. I just emailed them when I would be in town and let them know. And the European ones do the same when they come to the US. Because that is what you are supposed to do. You will never hear the end of it if you DIDN'T let people stay with you, or went through part of the country and didn't visit someone. My mom still has one [second-or-further] cousin upset that she didn't visit him when she was only 2 hours away in Canada for a competition with my sister.)

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