Quick: What Do You Like on Your Pizza?

My daughter knows this story well—

even if I’ve forgotten the particulars.

A research project asked young girls

what they wanted on their pizzas.

The girls enthusiastically named

their favorite pizza toppings.

The next year, the researchers asked again.

The girls answered the question with a question:

What do you like?

The next year, the same girls answered:

I don’t care, whatever you want.

Confidence.

Compromise.

Acquiescence.

It’s a slippery slope.

I worked for a woman who

facilitated a weekly staff meeting

in which she fired off random questions

at unsuspecting employees.

Current events. Office procedure. Business etiquette.

You didn’t have to have the right answer,

but you sure as hell had to have an answer.

Bother to have an opinion.

I appreciate the exercise

more now than I did then.

Acquiescing doesn’t make you easier to

get along with,

it makes you dull.

It’s a way to check out and let others do the much harder

work of healthy compromise via effective communication.

What if I really don’t care what I have on

my pizza?

Then offer a preference

and be willing to negotiate from there.

Because today it’s pizza

but tomorrow something much greater

will be at stake.

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