The word “maybe” is synonymous with “fence sitting”.  Which way to go?  What path to take?   The word is frequently used as a way to dodge a promise. A child asks a parent for a treat/toy/playdate, the social invitation that is offered with the hopes of (perhaps) a better one waiting in the wings, the boss who is depending on your loyalty and subtle hope that you will go that extra mile despite the demand and stress it may cause.

“Maybe” buys time, offers a chance to consider possibilities, gives hope to the future.

“Maybe” if I just wait a couple of more days…..”, “Maybe that job offer in Chicago will be the one rather than the one offered in Japan.”   “Maybe she’ll say “YES!”

If responding with a “maybe” allows you the time to check your heart, mind, schedule, possibilities then it’s better to respond this way than to give a quick response that you’ll later regret. However, if you are prone to always respond with a “maybe” and then never clarify it with a definitive answer you are denying yourself the important element of decision making.  In a word, “maybe” is also another word for “fear.”

Psychologists define decision making as a basic cognitive process in which a “preferred option or course of actions is chosen from among a set of alternatives.” So a choice is required. For some, however, the options are overwhelming making a decision difficult hence resulting in a “maybe.”

Take the time to evaluate reasons for hesitation.  Think about the reasons for hesitating. Determine if the hesitation is due to a busy calendar or a deeper issue of fear.  If it is indeed a fear of the awkwardness or anxiety that the situation creates it is worthy of understanding a pattern of procrastination, avoidance and, perhaps, self-sabotaging.

Trust your gut, your instincts. If fear of making the wrong choice results in always saying maybe, learn to listen to your inner voice. You’ve gained intuitive skills through years of experience so now it’s time to hone in on those gut instincts and respond accordingly.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back, a breath, a time out to think about the consequences, good, bad or otherwise, giving yourself the opportunity to weigh the situation demanding attention and commitment.

Listen to your inner voice. Learn from the accumulation of experiences. Lean on your intuition to turn “maybe” into a solid and determined yes or no.