Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Are You "Picky" or "Easy-going?"

Captain Awkward answered a question today that really rang true with me, particularly this part that she writes about people who pretend to be easy-going, but really aren't:

Before about the age of 30, I thought I was an easygoing person, because which would you rather be – someone whose sleep can be ruined by a single legume, or the person who makes friends with talking animals? In my personal relationships, I set out merrily down the Path of Least Resistance and strove to be easygoing in all things. I would prove my worth to people by being super-accommodating. They would be happy, and I would be happy because they were happy, and if at any point anyone was unhappy, I would use the power vested in me as a middle child to entertain and smile and cheerlead and mollify until everything was chill again.

A couple of problems with that:

1. I am not actually relaxed. Like, at all.

2. When you need stuff from others (and you will need stuff from others eventually), being super relaxed all the time doesn’t exactly work as the quid-pro-quo the aggressively-relaxed person thinks it does. “When you need x, I just go with it, so obviously the reverse is true!” Nope. Weirdly, other people are not mind readers, so they can neither suss out your wants nor give you the credit for the robust emotional work you were doing in prioritizing their wants over your own. You haven’t built up a favor reserve that you can draw on at need, you’ve just taught them that it’s normal for you to always go along with whatever they want, so when you do speak up it comes across as you being uncharacteristically difficult.

3. When you’re not in the habit of asking for anything, the thought of bringing up the topic is wicked scary. You don’t want to risk negative reaction from the other person, so you avoid it. And the longer you avoid it, the bigger the problem grows. And the bigger the problem grows, the more likely your expression will come in the form of passive-aggressive behavior or a FEELINGSBOMB vs. a reasonable conversation.


This is so me. And the reason is that I was a picky kid - about food, mostly, but sometimes about situations I didn't like or were extremely uncomfortable for me, but for which my presence was required (like church, and sometimes school). So I received a lot of negative feedback about my pickiness, which made me try to adjust my behavior to be more accommodating. I'm glad that I did - it's always good to be mindful of other people's needs and preferences. But being "easy-going" means missing out on some things that you really want - or worse - things that you really need.

So which are you, Niners? Or do you swing both ways?

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