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Live330
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16 Oct 2020, 7:45 am

Anyone else struggle with this? Is this an AS trait?

When it comes to making huge decisions, even after asking what my gut-instinct is, making pros-cons lists, and asking trusted friends and family for advice, I often find myself stuck when I have options that have equal merit. What do you do when you get stuck in this way? Any tips or tricks?



vividgroovy
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16 Oct 2020, 7:49 am

I don't know if it's an AS trait, but it sounds like me. My mind goes round and round the different options and I always stress when I finally have to make a decision.



ToughDiamond
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16 Oct 2020, 10:30 am

Yes I have that. It's not crippling in my case, but I tend to be slow making decisions. These days I've cottoned on to the problem being partly down to my black and white thinking, which tends to blind me to the level of importance of the decision, so that by default I see it as very important (otherwise why would I bother to even consider the matter?) and I feel compelled to analyse all the pros and cons. So I try to have a habit of asking "how important is this?" and if the answer is "not very," then I try to relax a bit and to pretty much guess the answer, confident in the knowledge that it's not the end of the world if I don't get it perfect.

I think another part of it is the fact that I'm a slow and careful thinker - presumably a lot of Aspies are that way - and so it's inevitable that an important decision will take time. If there isn't time, I'm in the wrong environment, and I just hope such things don't come up very often in my life. Still, it's surprising how well I can do in a real emergency. The other day I suddenly discovered I had to go and stay somewhere else for an indefinite time, and I only had an hour to think of everything I'd need to take with me. It was a thoroughly rotten experience, but here I am now with pretty much everything I need to mitigate the discomfort and danger of being in a new place where so many things are outside my control. The only thing I've realised I forgot is a packet of biscuits. So maybe the indecisiveness is more down to a lack of confidence than to any great inability to think on the hoof when it really matters.

As for most non-urgent matters where there are no real tight deadlines, I think it's good to just accept that it'll take a long time, and to try to enjoy the process of taking the trouble to make decisions of higher quality than most people are capable of making. I think Aspies often do take longer to do things, but when they finally get there, they tend to get excellent results because they're often good at meticulous thinking.



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16 Oct 2020, 11:07 am

I am aware this is a big problem for me. I can put off decisions for so long and the resulting anxiety is unpleasant to say the least.

I remember hearing a broadcast program on the radio about a study to see if snap judgements or long deliberations resulted in better outcomes or better "happiness" for lack of a better word.

The result were pretty surprising to me. The results found that people who make snap judgements do just as well as people who have long deliberations. The people who make quick judgements also progress further in life AND the are happier with their decisions.

And I thought, "Whoa!"

When I find myself mired in indecision, I have to grab the bull by the horns and just do it.

My husband calls this problem "paralysis by over-analysis."


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16 Oct 2020, 11:13 am

I experience crippling indecisiveness, but I pinpoint my issue as being that I can't cope with how many people have differing opinions. I don't mean to make myself sound dogmatic or weak-willed, but I tend to unhealthily rely on others for guidance because I never feel like I know what is right. For instance, I grew up in a home with very particular values and believed in that all my life; but once I left that home temporarily, I was exposed to other values that appealed to me. Now I'm back in my original home and I feel conflict constantly, because everyone always equally believes that they are right, and how can I tell??? This leads to my indecisive nature, because I know that no matter what I do it will upset someone, somewhere.

Another example: right now, I really want to move. I have a full-time job, which I think I can handle, and the money to do so. I've wanted to move for a long time, but my parents are concerned, don't want me to move now, the timing isn't right, etc. So now I'm in agony over the decision! Because on the one hand, I want to so badly and have the funds. On the other hand, I don't want to upset my parents, don't want to end up being evicted if I lose my job, am afraid of what the neighbors will be like, etc. So it's really tough to make a decision! Some people say I should and others say I shouldn't. But what do I want?? I don't know!! Sorry - that's what my thoughts are like so often haha.

I don't know if that's an AS/ASD trait? I know that trusting in people, even to a point of naivete, is common, and I think that's my problem to a point. But the indecisiveness, I guess, could stem from a variety of things, as seen in the posts before mine.



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16 Oct 2020, 1:00 pm

If I get stuck, I make lists of pro and con to help clarify things. If there is still no clear winner, I flip a coin. However, the coin is not to decide the issue, it is so that, upon seeing the result, I will get a flash of happiness or sadness. With feelings clarified, I'll follow them.
However, there is a considerable class of problems where more time is needed to find the correct solution. There may be an evolving situation that affects the odds of the section under consideration, or I may just need more time for inspiration. Often, in designing things, I have felt stuck for months until finally seeing another important factor to consider consciously.
Snap decisions are good for minimizing distraction, but the best planners are known to wait as long as possible before deciding things without losing their authority.



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16 Oct 2020, 1:08 pm

I find I can be a little like that... Took me a while to make a decision today. I finally made it! Haha!


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16 Oct 2020, 2:39 pm

Live330 wrote:
Anyone else struggle with this? Is this an AS trait?

When it comes to making huge decisions, even after asking what my gut-instinct is, making pros-cons lists, and asking trusted friends and family for advice, I often find myself stuck when I have options that have equal merit. What do you do when you get stuck in this way? Any tips or tricks?


I'm a musician, and like other artists, developing a good taste is one of the essentials. Having a taste means knowing in which way you want to go, or knowing which path to take. It takes experience and heart. Obviously, Vivaldi went to the very North, while e.g. Rossini went to the South, as a personal side track. Making a practical decision is a mixture of logic and darkness. I think you are afraid of the dark, spirituality can help you with this.


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16 Oct 2020, 9:32 pm

blazingstar wrote:
I am aware this is a big problem for me. I can put off decisions for so long and the resulting anxiety is unpleasant to say the least.

I remember hearing a broadcast program on the radio about a study to see if snap judgements or long deliberations resulted in better outcomes or better "happiness" for lack of a better word.

The result were pretty surprising to me. The results found that people who make snap judgements do just as well as people who have long deliberations. The people who make quick judgements also progress further in life AND the are happier with their decisions.

And I thought, "Whoa!"

When I find myself mired in indecision, I have to grab the bull by the horns and just do it.

My husband calls this problem "paralysis by over-analysis."


There could be some truth in that, but I would think the research was done on neurotypicals. Aspies might get a different result. I gather there's a "condition" called defensive pessimism where the person spends a long time in figuring out what could go wrong with any significant venture they undertake, and in setting up strategies to mitigate the harm of it all. Although it's said that the downside is that they don't focus so much on the possible good outcomes and so they fail to get as much out of the venture as they otherwise might, it's also said that if anybody pushes a defensive pessimist into using different, more positive-leaning methods, the result can be quite nasty, because it's not a disability they have, it's a stress-management strategy. I suspect that Aspie procrastination might be similar.

Even so, I agree that if a person is failing to meet important deadlines or going through a lot of uncomfortable work for little or no gain because of overthinking, they might do well to review their behaviour and try a few safe experiments to see if it could be changed. In my case results have been mixed. Sometimes it's worked out well when I've worked to a deadline too tight for me to do all the thinking I'd like. Other times the result has been like chopping a car in half, i.e. I've ended up with a lot less than half the benefit of the whole thing. This may be related to the fact that when I contemplate reducing the thinking time, I can't easily see which thoughts and ideas I can safely omit and which I should continue with. It's rather like my aversion to risk, which I've long felt is too great, and that I'd do better to take reasonable risks, but the problem is deciding which risks are reasonable, and doing that in a timely manner.



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16 Oct 2020, 10:05 pm

i can't eat at restaurants because it takes me an hour to peruse the damned menu.



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16 Oct 2020, 10:06 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
There could be some truth in that, but I would think the research was done on neurotypicals. Aspies might get a different result. I gather there's a "condition" called defensive pessimism where the person spends a long time in figuring out what could go wrong with any significant venture they undertake, and in setting up strategies to mitigate the harm of it all. Although it's said that the downside is that they don't focus so much on the possible good outcomes and so they fail to get as much out of the venture as they otherwise might, it's also said that if anybody pushes a defensive pessimist into using different, more positive-leaning methods, the result can be quite nasty, because it's not a disability they have, it's a stress-management strategy. I suspect that Aspie procrastination might be similar.


I had to read that statement more then once because I realize that what you write can describe me, and I have a friend who is even more careful in this way! (He is a wierd mix as he is more outgoing in his ability to communicate with others but at the same time he so carefully assesses each decision that often (Actually like me as well) he misses the opportunities presented before him.


One difference between him and myself is that he will just go up and talk to anyone. I have handed the telephone over to him with a complete stranger (To him) on the other side as a type of prank between myself and the guy on the other side of the phone, and they immediately start chatting away as if they had always known each other! I was quite amazed, as I am the opposite. I would run from the phone rather then answer it, or be holding it at arms length as if the other person could reach out the phone to attack me!

But for me, I masked my way through many jobs where a workmate who met me when I was not working, so I was not "Wearing the work mask" commented that I was a completely different person outside of work. He asked me if I was ok and if there was anything wrong as I was introverted and quiet! (I did not know it was called masking in those days. I do now!) With the work mask I was loud (As the job needed it due to surrounding noise) and almost cocky and I could almost order an army commander around! (I can't do it now if I tried as I adapt the mask compared to the job I was doing).

Sorry. I am straying from the subject.
Going back to the point I am making, is that due to my being so careful and needing to analysing everything to the point where I may go back and fore several times before I decide to make a purchase, I do tend to get security guards from shops following me around to the point where I end up being banned from stores or I am soo nurvous I stop going in them. It is not that I have stolen anything. It is more that to them I look like I am going to steal something.


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JerryM
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17 Oct 2020, 2:00 am

I typically do that as well where if I have a big decision to make, I'll fret over the options and can't seem to commit. However, personally, I feel this has a lot more to do with my anxiety than my ASD. But I don't think it helps to be fair (and in a lot of ways, I feel like my anxiety was brought on or worsened by ASD).



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17 Oct 2020, 9:59 am

I am quite the opposite. I make snap decisions and most times these are the right decisions. My wife who is an NT is the polar opposite. She is very indecisive. She will go to store and see something she likes and decide to wait. She thinks it over for a day or two then returns to the store only to find that the item has been sold out.

I will often tell her to buy it when she sees it and not wait. Over the decades, she is starting to see the logic of making snap decisions. So maybe I am rubbing off on her.

[But on the other hand maybe some of her indecisiveness is rubbing off on me. Sometimes lately, I am finding that I overthink decisions. Weigh too many factors and twist myself up in knots.]


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17 Oct 2020, 2:14 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
Going back to the point I am making, is that due to my being so careful and needing to analysing everything to the point where I may go back and fore several times before I decide to make a purchase, I do tend to get security guards from shops following me around to the point where I end up being banned from stores or I am soo nurvous I stop going in them. It is not that I have stolen anything. It is more that to them I look like I am going to steal something.

I've heard that a good tip for getting past security officials in many situations is to always look as if you know what you're doing - not that whether you ACTUALLY know what you're doing or not makes any difference, it's looking as if you do that's the crucial thing. Not quite sure what it is about going back and forth that triggers their suspicion though. It seems to me that security people suspect anything that looks in any way odd to them, so maybe it's just the fact that your behaviour looks atypical. Actual evidence of wrongdoing probably doesn't enter into it - somehow it seems to be enough that it's not quite like the average customer's style.

I think in my case I tend not to leave the stuff I'm thinking of buying until I've made all the decisions I want to make. Once I've decided and moved away, it goes against my grain to reconsider - I might do that later and revisit the shop some time, but I seem to have a strong aversion to suddenly changing tack while I'm executing a plan. That's probably at least as dangerous as your way of working, but in a different way.



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17 Oct 2020, 3:58 pm

Live330 wrote:
Anyone else struggle with this? Is this an AS trait?

When it comes to making huge decisions, even after asking what my gut-instinct is, making pros-cons lists, and asking trusted friends and family for advice, I often find myself stuck when I have options that have equal merit. What do you do when you get stuck in this way? Any tips or tricks?


I used to be like this.
I used to be a perfectionist, also.
Perhaps you are just too afraid of making a mistake?

What I discovered is that every choice/solution isn't perfect.
Life isn't perfect.
"You" just to accept the best solution out of a pool of imperfect possibilities.

Don't worry too much about making mistakes.
If the mistake doesn't happen the first time,
It will happen sometime down the track.
Rest assured. :P :mrgreen:


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17 Oct 2020, 3:59 pm

auntblabby wrote:
i can't eat at restaurants because it takes me an hour to peruse the damned menu.

Do they have take-away menus? :scratch:


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Laughter is the best medicine. Age-appropriate behaviour is an arbitrary NT social construct.
Don't tell me white lies. Gaslight me at your peril. Don't give me your bad attitude.
If I'm so bad, pass me by. ;)


And one more thing,




Truth may be inconvenient but it is never politically incorrect...The Oracle of Truth has spoken...8)