Reid: So, you invited your friends to dinner. And you’re like, hey! Where do you want to go? And they don’t have any answers. So, you’re like, how about Chinese? Coz’ you love Chinese, insert whatever food you want. But you secretly worry that they just went along with it and said yes, because maybe they’re shy, maybe they don’t have the words to speak up. What do you do?
Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from http://reidaboutsex.com/
Reid: Cathy Vartuli from http://theintimacydojo.com/
Cathy: And we, we did this all the time where I worked. It was a rule that you had to pass three times before, like kind of an unspoken rule. We get together for lunch, we’d all agreed we’re going to lunch. And everyone would stand around, and we’ve kinda joked about it because it would take longer sometimes to decide where to go than actually [inaudible 00:00:43]
Cathy is an award winning engineer who works with really, really smart people. Some of them, super smart, maybe not super articulate? Unless it’s about math.
Cathy: Some of them.
Reid: Some of them. So, you know, awkward genius types. Just setting the setting. Go.
Cathy: Some of them were averagely in some types and some of them were genius types. Umm, I work with some really, really smart people, but we would often and I still see this thing we’re working out. It’s like people would like, where do you want to go… where do you want to go… where do you want to go? Oh, I don’t know. And we’d kinda go around like three times and then someone could start to hesitantly suggest things, because no one wanted to feel like they…
Reid: And so these three rounds of I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…
Cathy: We still joke about it.
Cathy: Like, yeah. And sometimes we just like, someone’s get frustrated and say no, let’s go here and we will all go there but sometimes really like, “Ah! I really don’t want to go there. They didn’t give me a chance to say my thing.”
Reid: So, that for me is a communication geek. It’s like you’re building up a protocol, like a ritual…
Cathy: An awkward one
Reid: An awkward one. I’m a big fan of the awkward and “brace the awkwards” is one of my catch-phrases.
Cathy: But that’s not like create the awkward.
Reid: Yeah, go to http://reidaboutsex.com/awkward, I have a whole thing on it. But, so you’re giving everyone permission, social permission to pass before they say what they want, which actually very Japanese by the way.
Cathy: Yes, it is.
Reid: And I think there’s a Chinese tradition of you, you say no, you say no, you say no.
Cathy: Yes, if someone offers you a gift…
Reid: Possibly couldn’t, possibly couldn’t, possibly couldn’t. I think it is three times, and then on the fourth time, you’re like “Mine!”
Cathy: And if someone doesn’t offer it the fourth time you’re like or the third time, you’re like…
Reid: And oh, that’s probably like a [inaudible 00:02:25]
Reid: So you created a situation where it was okay for people not to ask or to be polite by passing, and then people could start to speak up.
Reid: Okay. And then sometimes somebody would cut the chase and ruin the protocol, and then it would silence people.
Cathy: Right and they would feel like “Oh, we have to do that” because they were definitive though, like let’s go here and nobody felt like they had the right to say well, I hate that place.
Reid: Well, when everyone was putting their suggestion into the hat after passing for three rounds, how did the decision get made?
Cathy: It just took a long time until I think it was, whoever got most frustrated, they’d just say where they wanted to go.
Reid: And then, how would that generally land on everybody?
Cathy: Umm, I think it depended on how it match with their internal picture of what lunch was gonna look like was, which changes every day. Like someone would be like, “Ah, I had Mexican last night and I want it to have it again today.” Somebody didn’t say that but, just like you said they go to dinner, let’s have Chinese. Like, great, but if someone who has strong personality says, sometimes people are shy or more reticent may feel swept away like they don’t have a voice. I like to make sure everybody has a voice and…
Reid: Yeah. Well, there’s a lot, a couple of things you can do, ideas around how do you give people a voice even if they’re shy. So as a teacher, I’ll often you know, when I ask people to ask questions, I’ll be like going once, going twice, my shy and introverted people,
Cathy: Call them out.
Reid: Well, it’s more…
Cathy: Not by name.
Reid: It’s more just giving people permission to have not shared right away. So it’s really like you can geek out on how do you handle and maybe some of you are experts who are shy and reticent, introverted type folks because you grew up with them. Or maybe…
Cathy: You are them
Reid: Or you are them. So you have just naturally calibrated to deal with fellow shy folks. And I have no value judgments but there is a certain kind of extroverted privilege, of being able to bound in and just speak up! You know, and then I’m a 220lbs white guy so there’s even more privilege there. So the question, the thing that comes to mind, in your engineering circle of geniuses. If everyone just wrote down on a piece of paper on a post it note where they wanted…
Cathy: And then we tallied it. It would have been faster.
Reid: Either tallied or everyone throws into the hat, and the agreement is, we’re gonna pick, that’s where we’re going. Unless somebody, you know, really just had that food within the last 48 hours. Right? Like, so again you can build a way for everyone to opt in, where they feel empowered and have a voice. And then you could also install, just being nerd… If it’s kinda like spin the bottle, like coz sometimes there’s just one person that the bottle never lands on, and all they’re doing is watching everybody make out and then they’re like, Oh my god! Like, so you could install that. As before you reach in, is there anybody here right now who hasn’t had their restaurant type picked in the last week? Or last two weeks or whatever. And in that way you encourage people to be able to speak up. At some point, we’re gonna have people in our lives who never spoke up, who feel silenced and we’ve never gonna know because they’re not telling us.
Cathy: Yes, just talking about this can make a difference.
Reid: Or showing them this video.
Reid: So you’re gonna like, there’s not like a hard and fast answer, it’s more about how you talk about it with your friends and find out, create a safe space to find out, if maybe they are people among you that are close to you who aren’t speaking up.
Cathy: And I want to let you know that your protocols did help after I started working with you and learned about asking for what I wanted, my friend and I would decide on what restaurant we wanted to go to, and send out an email to everyone… We’re going to this restaurant, do you want to join us?
Reid: And how does that work?
Cathy: It was a lot easier coz people could opt out if they don’t want to go there, or the more vocal ones could say, “Hey, let’s go here instead” but it’s just…
Reid: You opened up a conversation.
Cathy: Yeah, and most of the time people, “Oh, yeah. We want to decide, let’s go there.”
Reid: And the learning piece here is sometimes taking the initiative is difficult for some folks, but when you have a buddy, taking the initiative together.
Cathy: Yeah, and by the way I have this one person I enjoyed to have lunch with. And so if it’s just the two of us, that was fine. And if other people join us that was fine too.
Reid: Cool! Leave some comments, what are your thoughts? We’re interested. What’s your favorite food? Where we’re going for lunch? We went there