Freedom from choice

In Japanese culture, making choices on the behalf of other people is considerate. The Japanese believe in ‘freedom from choice’.

When asked to pick a restaurant or a place to meet up, we often hear ourselves say, “Anything is fine by me”. We are open, considerate and accommodating people who don’t wish to impose our choices on others. We wish to preserve their freedom of choice.

But interestingly, the opposite is also true. By making a specific request, we free the other person from the burden of looking up a restaurant, looking through its menus and checking its opening times. Going with a specific suggestion is considerate for it liberates the other person from all those decisions.

When travelling in a group, we all like that person in the group who eliminates decisions – who takes the effort to plan everything out for the rest of the group. To respond with a specific point of view when asked for it is more considerate than shrugging one’s shoulders and saying “anything works”.

Inspiration: A Beginner’s Guide to Japan

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