Karen Fratti
August 31, 2017 1:44 pm
FX

There’s a lot to be said for following your gut and being decisive when faced with choices. But there are some decisions that take a few days to think about, just so you can really hear everything your gut is trying to tell you.

There are conflicting strategies about decision making. One study done in Germany found that the “unconscious brain is intelligent enough to select the best options,” which means that when you find yourself buying a plane ticket to Spain while you’re out having drinks with your friends, you’re doing just fine. Then again, other research shows that we aren’t using some parts of our brain when we make snap decisions, which is why you wake up in the morning and sometimes totally regret the things that seemed like very good ideas just a few hours ago.

But not everything needs to be mulled over days on end.

There are times when you just need to pull the trigger and pick one thing or another. But other choices have bigger consequences, and it’s important to lay them all out and see how you feel about them. These are some of the big ones that might need more time.

1Cutting someone out of your life.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to insist that you’re never talking to a friend or family member ever again. Sometimes, like if they’re really wrong, you have to just cut ties and move on with your life. But when it comes to people like your parents or a very close friend who’s hurt you, sometimes taking a few days (or weeks or months even) to cool off is better than never letting them back into your life again.

2Getting a tattoo.

There’s something romantic and thrilling about getting a tattoo with a friend without planning on it. But there’s a reason most good tattoo artists will gauge your level of intoxication when you come in for a tattoo — they’re for life! You’re “stuck” with whatever you get. Planning it out and thinking about the design, or who you want to do it, isn’t being a dork. It’s pretty smart.

3Quitting your job.

It can feel really good to just up and quit in the middle of an especially bad work day. And you know what? Sometimes you just have to do it when a certain line has been crossed. But quitting can be risky (which you already know). You want to make sure you can afford to quit if you don’t have another source of income lined up and what kind of bridges you might burn if you quit suddenly.

4Getting a high-maintenance pet.

Puppies and kittens are so cute — especially when you pass by one up for adoption and want to take it home and cuddle with it right this very minute. But pets need a lot of attention and can cost a lot of money. You should be sure you can take on the responsibility before you open up your home.

5Moving really far away.

Once you spontaneously quit your job, you might get it into your head to pack up and head off somewhere new. But moving to a different state or country takes some major planning, so throwing down a deposit and jumping on a plane is not a good idea. You’re going to want to really think about what it means to live somewhere new, since there is a huge difference between being in a place on vacation and actually living there.

6Big relationship changes.

We’re always so used to watching couples get engaged, saying “YES!” without missing a beat, but that’s not always how it works. If someone’s bending a knee and proposing marriage, usually the couple has talked about it in some way, so it’s not as spontaneous as it looks from the outside. It’s not like relationship choices can’t be undone, but once you make one it can be hard to not to get swept up in something. Deciding to try for kids, get married, or follow someone to another city is a big deal.

You’re always allowed to change your mind, but some choices can end up getting away from you quickly and it’s harder to get back on track.

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