maybe other people don't do this, but when i have an important decision to make, i like to convene what i call my "cabinet." i stole that terminology from the shrink i saw last year (that's another rant for another time), but it's pretty spot-on. i have a small retinue of close friends who fit this label, and i run anything vital past them. i tell them what i think i want to do, then i ask them to weigh in. pros, cons, etc.; it's basically a board of directors for my life.
or it was, anyway. as i get older, it's slowly dawned on me that, while my friends have given me great advice, this is no way to live a fully adult life. first and foremost, they don't always tell the unvarnished truth. on three separate occasions over the last two years, i've had to say, "i asked you this question because i want an honest answer." they were basically undoing the purpose of the questioning and discussion: they were holding back uncomfortable criticisms from me.
nowhere has this been more obvious than in the long and stupid saga of my marriage. apparently, as i blissfully hurtled towards the altar, the people who know me best in this world were talking to each other, and all they could say was how insane i was for doing this. not once, however, did anyone say anything to me. the closest anyone came to questioning me in my rational decision-making skills was my father, and his entire treatise on the matter was something to the effect of "why don't you just shack up?" not exactly a statement that will cause serious reflection.
now, as i stare down the end of this boondoggle, i find out that everyone felt this way. i asked my best friend, "why didn't somebody say something to me?" the response was, "well, would you have listened?" a fair point; i probably wouldn't have. but then again, i don't know about that. i have always trusted so much in what my brilliant friends have said about my life. i can't say for sure that this situation would've been any different. there's no way to know, but i never had the chance to find out.
so these days, i tend to follow the unitary executive model of decision-making. not that i don't trust and love my friends, mind you. they're still wonderful people with interesting perspective, more than willing to support me. but i choose to let them support decisions i make on my own now. they're still on my team, but it's clear now that i am the star.