“What do you want to do for dinner tonight, CeCe?” I don’t care is her number one response by a long shot. When I’m with team members, “Where do you want to go to lunch today?” “I don’t care.” Wow, if we only had a restaurant named I Don’t Care, it would be full of customers.
Of course, I am just as guilty of replying with these three words that reflect no commitment or preference to the subject matter at hand. I used the restaurant selection as an example but I find myself using these words in work situations, too.
When someone is considering a decision or course of action and respect us by asking our opinion, responding with “I don’t care” could be considered slightly dismissive of their concern or stress. When you think about it, I don’t care puts all of the pressure on someone else to make a decision without any input from us, to make something happen despite us, or simply keep the conversation going to make better decisions or get buy-in.
I’m practicing changing my response depending on my true preferences or just showing interest in theirs. I’ve tried different responses: I’m open to anything but a salad today. Do you have a preference? Let me suggest three or four options and we can narrow them down from there. I’m not sure I have a preference but let’s discuss the positives and negatives of these options.
My reflection point is that even if I don’t care where we dine, what we do, or what we decide, I do care that they know I am fully present, respectful of their thoughts and open to their preferences. Words matter and we might be using these three too often.