I think everyone has a default setting. By default setting, I mean the natural way in which they respond to life’s situations. The default setting is an instinct, an automatic response that people use to react to daily life without giving it much thought. Some people’s default setting is sarcasm. For others it’s exasperation and overreaction. For some its seriousness and thoughtfulness, and others its being argumentative and defiant.
My default setting is agreeableness. I will and have agreed to many things I never meant to. It’s my default setting. Before I even have time to think, my head is nodding, and I’m affirming everything the person speaking to me has said even if I’m genuinely opposed to it. Oftentimes I’m agreeing to do things I never wanted to do.
In other words, I can’t say no. Generally speaking, I will nod, smile and agree with anything you say.
- How ’bout I volunteer in the church nursery? Help clean up snot, blood and poop during the church service. Okay.
- Do I want to help pass out fliers to promote your struggling business of underwater basket weaving? Absolutely.
- Why don’t I join your Star Wars themed traveling minstrel group and play the tambourine? You guys really need a tambourine player. Alrighty then.
- Would I like to accompany you the annual conference of Satan worshippers and sacrifice a small child? Sure.
See? I don’t want to agree to these things but before I’ve even constructed a nice way of telling the person, “Oh, hell no.” I’m nodding my head and saying, “Yeah, that does sound like fun.” even though every fiber of my being is kicking and screaming things like, “NOOOO… This is a TERRIBLE IDEA! WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID?! I WOULD NEVER WANT TO DO THAT IN A MILLION YEARS! HOW CAN YOU SUGGEST SUCH A THING?!”
Basically, I’m a hard core people-pleaser. I’m addicted to other peoples’ approval. I want and need for you to like me so I can sustain an emotional equilibrium. And somewhere along the way, I’ve convinced myself that disagreeing with you is enough for you to hate and disown me, so I just agree with whatever you say so I can feel okay with myself. And thus, after many years of practice, my default setting has become to agree with whatever you say.
It. Is. Horrible. My default setting is pretty much the worst one you can have. Can you imagine agreeing with everything anyone has ever said? This is why I generally avoid talking about politics and religion. The agnostic liberals and Christian conservatives are endlessly confused by my behavior, while the independent is eyeing me as fresh meat.
It can get pretty ridiculous. Especially when you do have your own opinions and you are passionate about them. It’s just that when confronted with other peoples’ passionate opinions, I generally agree with those too. Even though I don’t…
Such is the bane of my existence.
SO, I’m curious. What is your default setting?