So this question is about something I every now and then generally am facing, but it happens especially frequent, when I am just getting to know someone better i.e. having a first or second date.
When I am asking about someones preferences it sometimes happens they want me to tell them my own first or being like "I don't care about it, you decide please.". What I find sometimes sort of problematic, not to say annoying. I generally have no problem with talking about anything related to me and also don't feel uncomfortable doing so first, neither do I have a problem with making decisions for others if they wish so.
But what I don't like is just being presented with an mirrored version of my own preferences, when actually in the phase of wanting to get to know that person. And that's what usually happens when a person is insisting on me answering a question first myself which I asked in the first place.
This could be for questions about favorite activities, interests or favorite things or what ever else. I think you know what it is I am talking about here.
To give an very extreme example that just happened to me recently:
I was spending a day with a woman I met a few months before at a regulars table. Since then we had been texting a lot for months, but that was the first time we met just the 2 of us.
So when I asked her what she would like for dinner, she just asked me what I'd like to have. We established before already that we were going to order something. I told her that it is really nonesense expecting me to make a decision here since I don't know what is available. So she started listing me all the delivery services they have in the city (and since she lives in a major city, it where quite a lot with so many franchises I haven't even heard of before). I asked her to just give me a handfull of her favorites and lets decide from that, what she declined saying: she wanted me to pick something I'd like and not go by what she likes. She was very insisting about that, and it took us almost an hour till I decided we can order from something that I would describe as a fastfood restaurant. She pointed out that's a great idea and it is only a foot-walk of 10 minutes away from her place so we could just walk there. So we did and I really liked it. A week or so later I asked her if she would like to meet with me again for dinner at the restaurant. So we had dinner there again and had a walk together after that. At the walk she started complaining how it already was so bad for her diet that we went to the restaurant last week and she will now again have to make up for this dinner the following days.
In the end, I didn't feel responsible for that, since it was her concealing that info from me to manipulate me into making a decision disregarding her own preference. But what actually is an annoyance here for me is, usually if I ask someone about their preference in what ever regards, I do so to get to know more about them.
Not getting an factual answer to that, makes me not getting a correct picture of the person. What then leads me to making wrong assumptions about them. And I face this also when it comes to favorite games, movies and what ever. Often I am being told after I explained what I like that they have very similar interests just to figure at a later point, that they actually hate such activity.
In general I don't have a problem with making decisions that disregard the other persons preference if the other person insists that's what they want.
But what I really have a problem with, is if I am manipulated into making such decisions, by technically speaking: being lied to, when all I want is getting to know the other persons preferences without even necessarily making any decisions based on that.
What I tried so far to work around such situations:
Not revealing my own preference until they revealed their own.
- This usually just leads to an unnecessary back and forth, where ironically the others person final argument is "I don't want you to just adapt your answer related to what I respond, so I want you to tell me first." despite that is not my intend and rather most often what the other person is going to do.
After this has happened once or twice already with a person, I point out that I am not going to respond to it any more if I am supposed to answer a question first which I just have asked.
- The result so far was, that the other person rather just avoided to answer a question I asked. What is sort of the same result... Leaving me with no meaningful knowledge about the persons preferences.
Trying to get at least a grasp idea of what their real answer would be by pointing out what a coincidence it is how similar our interests are.
- What just leads to me facing surprised mimics, confirming how unlikely this coincidence must be.
How I think this could be solved:
Given that I have a habit of attracting the interest of insecure and shy women having often problems with their self-esteem/confidence I think the core issue is, they are scared of revealing their own interest/preferences are not compatible with mine. So I think I had somehow to make clear, that's not going to be a problem. But I can't really come up with a way of communicating this, which wouldn't feel weird and possibly awkward. Since it would imply, I am aware of them trying just to match me.
So how I can avoid being possibly manipulated by having to answer first, and still getting a relevant answer, when asking someone about their preference?