Advice Column

Q.  “I take a long time to decide [what to order] in a restaurant, but not because I don’t know what I want. I know exactly what I want, and how I want it, but it's not always on the menu like I want it.  So, I keep asking the waiter to switch sides, add extra something while removing something else, changing the dressings, etc... In three words: waiters hate me. I know it means I'm picky, but what else do you think it means?” ~MiG, CNN


A.  Outside of being a self-professed “picky” person, you actually possess some very strong leadership traits.  Let’s break this down…       

Taking a long time to order so you can figure out how you will adapt dishes into what you want because it’s not “always on the menu like I want it” reveals some very strong pros and cons:

The Pros:  Your food habits reveal you are often consistent in your actions, assertive, confident and a creative non-conformist.  You know what you want and are not willing to settle for less.  When you do something you take it serious, with great pride, invest the time required to do it right and look forward to making your mark on it.  In a group setting, you will often surface as the lead directing the mast.  You are seldom impulsive since for you, options and choices are your playground and really what inspires you most.  It is the creative process that drives you, not so much the final goal that you revel in.     

The Cons: You may have a tendency to become a creature of habit and perhaps, not as adventurous as you may perceive yourself to be.  Essentially, you are a safe-risk taker, adventurous with what you know – who said you “always” have to enjoy a meal the same way you are accustomed to having it?  Unless you often change your own change requests it reveals you can sometimes run the risk of getting stagnant or stale in your approaches or ideas if you don’t change it up.  Sometimes, try the meal or experience as it was intended… think ‘inside’ the box and it just may inspire your next – fresh - inspiration for change.

The changes you request to your meals are literally the very identity of each of the dishes.  Sauces and sides are what give a recipe its personality, name, authenticity to the dish – your need to alter it – even if it were Grandma’s favorite recipe reveals your inherent need to display your own identity in all that you do or are member to.  You will often stand out in a crowd for your distinctive approach, style or manner.  Even wearing all black, in a sea of black outfits you will still manage to inject that “it” factor and stand out like a pillar.    

Recognizing “waiters hate me” reveals you are seldom intimidated by your environment and will often go the distance to get what you want or need in life.  However, what’s especially unique about you is you manage to be assertive and conscientious at the same time!  THAT, is a skill.  Most picky eaters don’t give a hoot that they are being difficult or “picky” as they are self-absorbed in what they want.  The fact that you recognize they may hate you reveals you do care revealing your conscientious and considerate nature.  While you will still stay on course with your change requests (being the driver that you are) you will do so treading lightly and with finesse in your delivery.  You are the type of person that can ask for the moon of subordinates, colleagues or business associates and still manage to maintain healthy, friendly, team-spirit camaraderie with no hard-feelings in the air.  Why?  Because your drive is fueled by passion, not power.