Do you respect his thinking?

There are many reasons we are attracted to someone or not. Often, it takes a while to experience their behaviors before we decide if we like who they are or not. And it’s fascinating to see how some overlook actions that would be deal breakers to others.

Yesterday we had an extended family celebration at a rented community center. My 25-year-old niece, her boyfriend and I took charge of the kitchen duties. My niece and I would confer on what needed to be done next and how best to do it. The boyfriend, however, took it on himself to decide what he would do. When my niece suggested a different approach, he’d push back.

Sometimes we weren’t all in the kitchen at the same time so I wasn’t always present for their discussions . After delivering a dish to the buffet table, I scanned what was in progress and what needed to happen next.

With the boyfriend absent, I noticed 3/4 of the chicken wings were in the oven. Since there was plenty of room in the  pan, I didn’t understand why all of it wasn’t warming. I asked my niece what she was intending for the other pieces. She said the boyfriend thought some people might want to eat it cold. I said, “They wouldn’t know they had that option until it was on their plate and they picked it up.” In other words, there was no need for the separation.

At the end of the event, while I was out of the kitchen bringing in dishes, he took it upon himself to throw out perfectly good food. One of our group was planning to take leftovers to a homeless family shelter she supports. The dishes would have been a treat for them. The boyfriend had thrown out fruit, chicken, vegetables and other food the families would have enjoyed. I asked him to stop so we could salvage some of the food not yet in the trash.

When we transferred the food to serving platters, I’d carefully saved the resealable dishes and bags the food came in. I told the other two that we’d save these in case there were leftovers. Since we were in a rented facility, not a home, there were no zip bags or containers for leftovers. After dinner, when I returned to the kitchen to clean up, I noticed these containers were gone, with nothing for the leftovers. When I asked them where the containers were, he said he’d taken them to the trash to make more room. Arrgh. I made do by putting leftovers in large cups covered with plastic wrap.

It cemented my belief that I would have a difficult time being with someone whose thinking process I didn’t respect. Of course, in this case it’s more than his thinking that I don’t like — it’s his acting independently, making decisions that affect others without any sense of the havoc he’s wrecking for later. I greatly admire people who think through their decisions, but are flexible to make adjustments along the way.

So was I irritated with him for not thinking like me? Perhaps. But if he’d thought differently yet had a similar or better result, great! I don’t have a lock on good ideas. What bothers me is that he has a “I know best” attitude without being open to anyone else’s input. My niece and I would bounce things off each other and were happy if the other had a better idea.

My niece doesn’t like this part of him, but she is very forgiving of behaviors her mother, sister and I think are unacceptable. Yes, we are judgmental, but know we aren’t in a relationship with him. Although, we do find it hard to be around him.

As you begin to date someone, notice how you feel about his thinking process. Can you live with it, no matter how different it is from how you’d approach a situation? Or, are you like me, and lose respect for people who’s decisions seem ill-thought to you?


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4 responses to “Do you respect his thinking?”

  1. johnc Avatar

    I believe your niece is going to get tired of his behavior, and get rid of him – eventually. Who knows how long it will take. Dude sounds pretty self-centered to me. Who needs that?

    However, most people are a poor match for most people – but when two people get matched up that belong – then it all fits.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t likely you will find a perfect or almost perfect match – so do you just deal with someone that you can deal with? Remain single? Try to change him/her?

    Being with someone that thinks differently can be problematic, and rarely lasts.

  2. sdl Avatar

    How timely! It’s truly astonishing how many times we’ve paralleled on the way of thinking, making decisions and judgement calls, and handling things- he’s texted ‘lol, you think exactly like I do!’, and I’ve told him I like how he thinks, feels, and prioritizes in his life.
    It’s rather extraordinary just how alike we ARE on so many practical levels, as well as ‘getting’ how the other feels about things too, considering…
    We’ve got some differences, no doubt, some just Girl vs Guy perceptions of what’s a big deal— but if anything’s a real stumbling block it’s the subtle cultural behaviors, and the assumptions about them being understood…
    And those can play out in inexplicable actions, not understanding the motivations behind them, and upsets that are very serious.

    Perhaps some of your niece’s bf’s actions are in that area, and mentioning it to her may help: if it is, she can perhaps find the right way to bring it up and address it.

  3. Ricahrd Avatar

    The BF’s issue is control – he is trying to be controlling when it is inappropriate. He was there to provide help – do as he is told. It was an inappropriate time for him to be controlling.

    If it was his party – his decision not to help, when it does not cost him anything, shows a disregard for other people.

    I think “ill-thought” is being charitable. There are a lot of strategic thinkers that are 10 steps ahead of me. They could easily say my decisions are “ill-thought”. His decisions are just plain rude. His decisions imply a thought process that shows a disregard for other people. One could disrespect his thinking for that.

    BTW: It is judgmental to say “he is an evil person because of this.” It is not judgmental to say: “Are you sure you want to be with a man, for the rest of your life, who is not respectful of you and other people?”

    People think differently, and other people’s approaches take into account things that do not occur to me. That helps sharpen my thinking. “Can you live with it?” If the approach is malicious, rude, self-serving, etc. – Why should I?

  4. Jasmine Italroz Avatar
    Jasmine Italroz

    Yes, I’m with you Richard! Of course, people think differently. But we must also consider those opinions from someone. I know, it really helps in building a more great idea. Specially when that idea is good enough to contribute a positive result..then, why not? Let’s just respect one another’s opinions and idea. No harm in being open-minded.