Guys are inherently goal-oriented in almost every aspect of their lives, and vacations are no exception. The vacation itself is the goal, and everything else, the tedious and annoying, but necessary obstacles that must be overcome in order to reach our objective (chilling in some exotic locale, surrounded by our favorite things: sun, surf, frosty beverages, and scantily-clad you). Guys tend to be more interested in the big picture than all the details. We generally perceive the minutiae of how we achieve our nirvana as a nuisance. You want to go on a vacation? Just tell me when, for how long, and if I need snowshoes or flip-flops. You want to get married? Just tell me where, when, and if we’re having an open bar. You want to have sex? No plans necessary...zip.
But for women, much of the pleasure is actually in the details. You love the researching, planning, and organizing…sometimes more than the event itself. And that baffles us, because it’s so not what we enjoy. Thus we are thrilled to leave all the particulars in your happy, capable hands.
So how can you get us to participate in the planning and get us to enjoy it as much as say…a frosty beverage? Ah, there’s the challenge, to be sure. But I’ll take a crack at it.
1. Do your homework and be prepared. Since we have a limited threshold and short attention span when it comes to this, don’t give us too many choices about anything. Three is optimal. More than six…we’re praying for the arrival of the Apocalypse.
2. Once we’ve given you our opinion, accept it graciously and don’t debate the merits of our point-of-view. Doing so frustrates us and causes us to question why you asked us in the first place (and reinforces all our negative feelings about being involved in the planning of anything).
3. Once we agree on something, don’t offer up additional options. We made a decision – good. Reconsidering a choice we already agonized over – very bad.
4. Never, ever, offer us an option that you are not already completely behind. Again, this is where careful planning comes in. If you’re not excited about going body surfing in shark-infested waters, best not to list that as a possible excursion.
5. Only ask us to engage in planning-related discussion when we’re not focused on something else important to us (ESPN, sex, sleeping). You want our full attention and you want us to give it willingly…and consciously.
6. Be upbeat about the whole process. Your mood is contagious. If you’re stressing about making arrangements, we’ll pick up on the negative energy and use that as an excuse to immediately end the discussion and go re-grout the bathtub (a detail-oriented task that we find oddly satisfying).