We have all been there using the go-to phrase “I don’t know” when someone asks a question or when we ask ourselves a question with the hopes that that phrase will stop whatever is coming next…more questions.
So we know that if we deflect the first question with “I don’t know” the other questions that should follow will never be asked. It is very interesting that if we start writing it down we would notice that we prefer to say that we don’t know something when it has to do with deciding something important. If you ask a high school graduate what would they be doing next it is inevitable that the answer you will receive is “I don’t know we will see”, ask a college graduate you will get the same answer.
Using it is an escape plan, an abort mission type of code, it is a safe haven. It solves all our problems because if we don’t know the first question we get asked or ask ourselves we will obviously not have any answers for the other questions as well.
But here is a little secret, they are lying and they don’t even know it.
Every time someone answers with it or you are yourself tempted to use it try to ask once again and that is when for the first time the person will realize that they are lying. They have something they want to say to reply that they are scared of saying it out loud, of admitting it to themselves before admitting it to someone else.
Ask a person in a toxic relationship why are you not leaving your partner? There is a high chance that they will say they don’t know but guess what, they don’t want to admit that they are scared to do it. Scared to admit that they wouldn’t know how to imagine a different life. The high school graduate probably wants to explore their options and they are scared to admit it. A college graduate is terrified of the “real adult” world so they would just rather say “we will see”.
In order to deal with it yourself and with others you need to establish an honest safe relationship, a place that makes them (or you) feel as safe as the beautiful lie “I don’t know”. A relationship that is so healthy and trustworthy that it almost feels like the escape plan away from the confusion and fear. The person will understand that the confusion and fear will not leave unless they say “I know what I want” they can mention a thousand different things and that’s when they are not lying. It is okay to want very different things and to be confused about which one would be the right choice for them, that is the real truth that everyone experiences.
Build a healthy relationship with others and yourself by asking real questions, listening, and being very honest.
Stop lying that “You don’t know what you want”! Be honest and real!
Author: Sofija S. @bossesinthemaking