Sarah Sheard's Thoughts and Theories

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here's why your suggestion stinks...

Suppose you ask a group of people what to cook for your picky kids that's easy.

Suppose they come up with a variety of suggestions; let's imagine:
-Spaghetti squash with ham
-Chicken tacos
-Scrambled eggs
-Ginger turkey with vegies and soy sauce

Suppose each person who sent such an idea included the recipe too. Maybe they even looked over the note to make sure it read well, corrected their own spelling, spaced it nicely.

You'd say thank you, wouldn't you?
You asked for help, people spent considerable amounts of their own time, getting no personal benefit, trying to help you out, and they hoped you'd like your suggestion. Seems to me you owe them one, big time!

If you don't like their suggestions, should you follow the lead of some of my acquaintances lately?:

-Hi, Stella, they won't eat squash and I don't eat processed meat.
-We tried tacos last year and they're too much trouble.
-Charlie breaks out in hives when I cook with eggs.
-We never have the right kind of vegies in the house for Chinese food.

What kind of game is this? Even though I personally was thanked for my suggestion, which the asker liked, I was offended that the other suggesters were given the Here's Why Your Suggestion Stinks (HWYSS, pronounced "wice") treatment. I mean really, if you ask someone for something and they give it to you, don't hold it against them if you don't like it! (It's akin to "Pass the ketchup? Yuck, I hate this brand.")

Here's the bottom line. If you ask for a suggestion and I provide one, you MUST thank me. Even if you don't like the suggestion I offer, you need to recognize that I went to some trouble on your behalf. Guess what? nobody cares why you hate something they suggested. The reason doesn't matter. They will take anything other than enthusiastic appreciation as a slap in the face. "Never again will I help her!" they might well vow.

Here's the polite way:

Question: "Does anyone have any ideas for quick meals for my 4 kids?"
Answer: "Chicken Tacos have vegetables, lowfat meat, and even cheese as well as the taco shell, which is gluten-free."
Thought: ...Ewww, I hate Mexican food...
Permissible response: "Elena, thank you so much for providing the recipe. I really get a lot of ideas when a lot of people respond. And I appreciate that you remembered I must eat gluten free, and offered something balanced."
Not said: ...I'm never going to make this stuff....

Don't punish friends for being nice if you want them to continue to be nice.


  • I hate Mexican food, but I liked your post. "Wice" ... that was cool!

    By Blogger Cecilieaux, at 8:33 AM  

  • Veggies is not spelled as "vegies". That pesky letter "G"...have to watch out for it in duplicate...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 PM  

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