Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do You Read The Rules?

Last night, I was lying in bed flipping through the tv channels. I finally settled on a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond. On this particular episode, Debra, Ray, Marie, Frank, and Robert were gathered in the living room about to play a board game. Robert started very carefully reading aloud each and every rule and direction for how to play the game. This went on for awhile and soon the others became irritated with him. They had heard enough of the rules and just wanted to get on with playing the game. Debra even told Robert, "we'll learn to play as we go." This didn't go over well with Robert, who thought a thorough and proper understanding of all the rules was necessary prior to the start of the game. Of course, this whole scenario was full of bickering back and forth and it was quite funny.

It got me thinking, I guess this situation actually applies in real life. Some of us (like me), go through our lives "reading the rules" first so that we will know what to expect and when to expect it. We like things to be orderly and methodical and "by the book." We don't handle change all that well. Others, are more spontaneous. They take things in stride and are able to roll with the punches. Change is something they can adapt to fairly easily.

I'm not saying one of these is better or worse than the other - I'm just saying that there are differences in how people approach their daily lives. There are times when my orderly and methodical personality is a good thing (like when I know exactly where to look for that receipt that I filed away five years ago). There are other times when my orderly and methodical personality is a real hindrance (like when I get super-stressed out over last minute plans changing). I often wish I was more spontaneous. But, that's just not me. I'm one of those folks who will sit and read the entire rule book before I play a board game. I like to actually read all the opening and closing credits of a movie. And, if there's something to assemble, you better believe I'm reading the entire set of directions before I even attempt to put it together. Now, my husband, on the other hand, would never even open the set of directions. He would simply pick up the pieces and start fiddling with them and end up with a perfectly assembled item.

What about you? Do you "read the rules" first? Or, are you able to jump right in and figure things out as you go?


septembermom said...

I can go either way on this one depending on what I'm doing. When it comes to my poetry, I'm not a fan of following the rules. When it comes to games or assembling something, then my inner Virgo kicks in and I have to go by the rules.