Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I don’t like to go outside. I don’t really see the appeal. I enjoy indoor activities like reading and binge-watching shows and cooking. I will sit outside for a game or something, but I don’t go outside for outside’s sake.
I get a lot of pushback. People are really shocked when it’s objectively a nice day out and I couldn’t care less. I’ve shrugged them off, except I have been dating a guy who is into getting outside “to enjoy the day.” I live somewhere with rough winters so it isn’t a big deal until it warms up, but every good weekend he wants to go for walks or sporting events or eat outside. On a nice day recently, I wanted to go to the movies, come home, and hang out inside. He said he felt like we “wasted” the whole day and the nice weather.
I really want to find a compromise because I really dig him, but I feel hesitant to even tell him how much I dislike the outdoors because it’s been criticized most my life. Any suggestions?
Carolyn says: Tell him. Not telling is not fair. If this incompatibility is intractable enough and affecting parts of your lives that both of you are unwilling enough to compromise on, then it’s time to break up.
The compromise, by the way, is for you to force yourself outdoors on nice days to see if it’s a trade-off you’re willing to make in return for the pleasure of his company. But you don’t get to do it secretly, because he also needs to decide if he’s willing to be with someone who has to force herself outside.
That’s not just because people who are being good sports about something are less fun to have around than people who genuinely enjoy it. It’s also because there might come a point down the road where the thrill of his company wears off a bit and the effort to get outside feels bigger every time and the balance of your trade-off shifts toward “nah.” He needs to make an informed decision about you, and that possibility is likely enough that he has to be able to weigh it for himself.
Imagine if you commit long-term and get transferred to a warmer climate. Then you’re not sucking it up for short bursts, but instead tormenting each other year-round.
Please note that none of this has anything to do with any pushback you’ve gotten. Your way is good for you, their way is good for them, and anyone judging your standards by their own really needs to butt out.
You’re not alone! There are people out there like you, and you owe it to yourself to find them (or not, if you don’t want to). I have never been one for the outdoors, and I live where hiking is the preferred hobby of seemingly everyone. It doesn’t help that I’m also allergic to everything that blooms and prone to heat exhaustion. But regardless of the reasons, you’re entitled to the environment you enjoy. There’s no good reason to tie yourself to someone who doesn’t respect the things you enjoy.
Carolyn says: Right — and calls them a “waste.” Thanks.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at washingtonpost.com.