🙅🏻Wants and DiswantsExpanded vocabulary for those "I do, but I don't" moments.
Imagine you’re offering a friend some ice cream… and they respond like this:
What’s going on?
They are being paradoxical: they shared one reason TO have it, and one reason NOT to have it.
They’re having trouble deciding! You can see their gears turning ⚙️. They are externalizing their thought process, while resolving this inner paradox of theirs.
Sometimes ice cream is a hard decision.
Thankfully, we can get better at talking about the nuances here.
Discussing the Paradox
At a high level, that ice cream friend was saying:
🤔 I do, but I don’t
Here’s how I’d say that:
💚🙅🏻👍🏻 I really want it, but I also kinda diswant it. I guess overall I net-want it.
- Wants = a factor that makes me want it
- Diswants = a factor that makes me not want it
- Net-want = my overall decision, based on my wants and diswants.
In that graph:
- Wants = green bars above the line
- Diswants = red bars below the line
- Net-want = The blue line, which is the average of wants and diswants.
Own your diswants! It’s okay to want and diswant something at the same time.
Sometimes I want ice cream, but I want brownies more:
- I want ice cream a lot
- I want brownies even more
- I don’t want both, that’s too much for me right now
Overall, I don’t net-want the ice cream. That means I even diswant it some — because eating ice cream would mean I wouldn’t have room for the brownies. I don’t wanna get full on ice cream today!
Wants vs Net-wants
Want and net-want are often synonyms… except when they’re not!
🤔 It’s not that I don’t WANT to help, it’s just that…
They really mean:
⁉️ I want to (some), but I don’t (net-)want to.
- they want to help some amount
- they diswant to help some amount
- overall, they don’t want to help — or: they don’t net-want to help
Examples of using the terms?
These terms can be a bit clunky — here are some ways I’ve gotten them to work:
I want the ice cream some, because it is delicious.
But I had some yesterday, so I want it less than usual.
I really diswant the part where I get full and can’t eat the brownies.
Overall, I’ll pass. I don’t net-want the ice cream today.
But I do net-want the brownies!
How does this nuance help?
Two ways this might help you out:
- Hopefully this helps you understand yourself better, and now you can see more of the gears turning in your mind with more clarity.
- Hopefully this helps you understand friends better — especially your slow-calculating friends. You’ll have an easier time talking about wants and diswants with them, and maybe be more patient with them when they’re “calculating”.
Notice the next time you say “I do, but I don’t”:
- Try to break it down into positive (want) components and negative (diswant) components.
- Figure out what you want overall (net-want).
- Share this thought process with a friend.
Good luck articulating your experiences! 🎉