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We’ve all been there in a relationship: one partner asks the other “Do you want to go out for Mexican food or Chinese food?” or “Would you rather watch Barbie or Oppenheimer?”. At least 95% of the time, the response is the same: “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t matter to me”. According to reporter Emily Kingsley, this easygoing answer is said by 72% of men and 51% of women when given such a decision. At first glance, giving this response seems friendly and polite, offering the other person the choice. However, research has shown that having the “I don’t care” or “Doesn’t Matter” mindset may actually hurt relationships for two reasons:

It Implies Disregard: Many people, especially women, feel saying “I don’t care” or “doesn’t matter” implies neglect and understandably so. In any other context, the phrase “I don’t care” implies you truly don’t care which is the direct inverse of being in a relationship. “Not caring is an action, not a statement. It’s something you show through complete disregard. The things you don’t think about, talk about or look at — those are the things you don’t care about”, says Kingsley .

It puts more pressure on your partner: According to a survey on Psychology Today, 50% of men and women were told that their partner doesn’t care where they go out for dinner while the other 50% were given a direct response by their partner. The group that was forced to make a decision said that they “felt more stressed and didn’t appreciate being put in that position”. Deciding where to go for dinner is stressful on it’s own, especially factoring in price and ambiance, so it may make sense that planning a nice dinner may be stressful, especially when their partner won’t weigh in on a decision. As such, saying “I don’t care” or “Doesn’t matter” may actually make their partner feel uncomfortable and even end a relationship early.

As previously stated, the mindset behind giving this response lies in attempting to be polite. Some people feel giving their own idea of what to do may undermine their partner’s intentions. It’s difficult to think of a solution to this, but the best we could up with is to take turns. For example, the next time you are faced with the question of Chinese food or Mexican food, respond with “I’m in the mood for Chinese food. So let’s go out for Chinese and, next time, you can make the decision”. This gives your partner more time as well as not rub off as a complete narcissist.

A relationship is built around trust and relaxation. Despite how polite it may seem, “I don’t care” or “Doesn’t matter” actually creates distrust and internal chaos. Therefore, taking turns or making a decision straight away keeps the night moving along and prevents disputes throughout the relationship. Sometimes we have to disagree to agree on choices.

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