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Avoid these three words when RVing

I need to make a confession. I have a very bad habit and it’s negatively affecting the way my husband and I communicate while RVing. My habit? It’s three little words: “I don’t care.”

Proof the “I don’t care” problem exists

Here’s how I know I have a problem communicating with my husband. Over the course of the last two travel days, the following conversations have occurred between us:

Husband: “Shall we take our normal route home or go a different way?”

Me: “I don’t care.”

Husband: “Want to stop for lunch at the truck stop up ahead?”

Me: “I don’t care.”

Husband: “Should we take a break and stretch our legs a bit?”

You probably already know how I responded. Seeing our conversations in print, I realize my gross overuse of the three little words, “I don’t care.”

My intent

Obviously, these three words have become my automatic go-to response. I mean them in a positive way. At least I think I do. In my mind, I’m deferring to what my husband might want. For example, he asks, “When should we stop for the night?”

I respond, “I don’t care.” What I intend to communicate is, “Whatever you want is fine with me. I am okay to keep traveling, but if you feel tired, we can stop.”

Husband’s take

My dear husband and travel partner doesn’t always interpret my “I don’t care” response the way I mean my words. Instead, what he hears me saying is, “I’m preoccupied right now. I don’t really care about this (or you) at all.” Ouch!

The thing I fail to think about is that my husband is maneuvering our huge home-on-wheels behind our large dually truck. I tend to forget the lead time it takes to safely slow down, maneuver wide corner turns through traffic, and locate a space large enough to accommodate our 40-foot rig. Often, it takes two fully attentive RVers to scope out the situation. My flippant “I don’t care” isn’t helpful. At all.

Communication is key

I’m glad we talked about this miscommunication because I really do care. Travel routes and lunch choices and all the rest are important to me. Most of all, he’s important to me!

Breaking the habit

I’m really blessed to have a travel (and life) partner who values my preferences. So now when my husband asks me a question, I try to pause before tossing a thoughtless “I don’t care” response back at him.

If I need time to consider, I’ll say, “Let me think about that for a second.” If I honestly don’t have a preference on the matter, I’ll turn the question back to him and ask, “What do you think is best?” At least he knows that I also value his choices. And our relationship stays on track.

Together we’ve determined that if neither of us has a strong preference, we’ll flip a coin and let it decide inconsequential matters for us.

Have you ever fallen into an unintended communication habit? What strategies helped you break the habit?

##RVT1083

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CJFOUNTAINTRAVEL
1 month ago

In 2021, a couple weeks before we drove 1,400 miles to pick up our first RV (TT), I expressed to my wife that I was going to have lot of things running through my mind during the trip besides being brand new to RVing. Our personal safety, the security of a pickup full of brand new gear for the RV, navigating/negotiating roads I had never driven before, getting fuel while pulling a trailer, comfort stops, etc, and that I would need her attention when I requested her input.

She was very happy that we had the conversation because in her mind, she had created a bunch of lists (trailer load-out, hotel reservations (2), setup, tear down, rough plan for the 14 day return trip) and she thought she was just going to be along for the ride during the travel times. Thankfully, we learned early in our life together that we both care and we attempt to express our wants/needs clearly. We aren’t perfect at it, but we aren’t afraid to ask for clarification when there is uncertainty.

Lexi's Mom
1 month ago

Oh my,
I am soooo guilty of those “three words”. By RV Travels bringing it to my attention and both sides of the comment I am changing my bad habit.
From today forward I am going to put forth a huge effort to “stop” using the three words.

KellyR
1 month ago

We laugh about it. Going down the interstate, “There’s an Arbys ahead, do you want to stop for lunch? – or we can wait for the next exit to see what they have” Ans. “I don’t care”, We go on. Maybe this goes on one more time. Then we have run out of close exits and we drive another XXX miles and maybe an hour or so. Finally we find ourselves eating supper at some far exit. WE don’t care.

Ron Yanuszewski
1 month ago

I do it to my wife all the time, except for a different reason. If she says “what do you want for dinner, The answer is “I don’t care”, since what ever I say she won’t want, so then I get the true answer of what she wants. It saves me from many words.

Wolfe
1 month ago

With that particular question, I KNOW it’s not really an open question, and I avoid IDC and go to “What’s on the menu?” to request options. Assuming I’m still conscious after the cast iron flies past my head, I’ll get a snarky “This isn’t a restaurant!” and then be told what she was planning to make the whole time. I’ve never refused to eat her supper that I can recall, so really, just stop asking.

Gary
1 month ago

I take as “I don’t want to make a decision as I would be responsible for the results”.

bill
1 month ago

Great thought provoking article (as usual under your byline).

Ken S
1 month ago

“Three little words”…
Wonderful article and an important component of good communication. Thanks for the insights.

Jan
1 month ago

Thank you for this reminder! I am one of those people. You have certainly shed a new light on this statement! I’m very grateful to you.
Jlarabee

Richard
1 month ago

I’m driving 65′ of equipment 6-7hrs/day; fighting traffic, idiots and wind; hours of when do I stop to pee? When should I fuel up? Should we stop to eat or eat while moving? What was THAT noise? While DW naps… And I get a “I don’t care…”

John
1 month ago

I’ve been trying to explain this to my DW for 40 years and she just refuses to make the adjustment. So get into fights weekly over not caring. Thanks for the comments tips.

Wayne
1 month ago

My response is “come on dear, let’s care together.”

Glenn L. Lygrisse
1 month ago

Regarding the “I don’t care” comments: My Aunt cured me of that long time ago, when she asked me do you want Strawberry or Vanilla ice cream. I replied, (thinking to be polite) “I don’t care”. She said, if you don’t care enough to make a choice, you don’t get any. I chose very quickly.

Vivi W.
1 month ago

After reading this article, I realize that I don’t say “I don’t care” to my husband, instead I say “It doesn’t matter”. Yikes!!! I’ve gotta stop that! (because yes, it typically DOES matter!!!) 🙂

Bob p
1 month ago

Guilty! DW will ask me something and I’ll answer I don’t care, really I mean it doesn’t matter one way or the other to me but it aggravates her as she is looking for answer. I’m going to have to do a better job of giving her an answer one way or another.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

I have found the following question helpful. “What would my old friends do”?

Glenn A
1 month ago

Wife: I’m hungry
Me: what would like
Wife: I don’t care
Me: Chinese it is
Wife: I hate Chinese
Me: then, you do care

Snoopy
1 month ago

It’s impossible to figure out what “you meant to say” really seems most of us GUYS don’t have a chance with those words! My ears & brain only hears what you said & I react from there.
Snoopy

Last edited 1 month ago by Diane McGovern
Shir
1 month ago

I also have a husband who thinks you should only stop for gas. I rarely get a chance to say I don’t care because he seldom asks! My two dogs give me an excuse to stop every so often. I can walk them and do whatever I need. Fortunately the MH means everything I want is right at hand. I think whoever is driving should call the shots. Driver could ask ” Do you care if I stop to……..?” Passenger can respond with yes or no. And the passenger can likewise state his/her requests with “Can we stop till I ….?”
The “I don’t care” statement is misinterpreted. It usually means “I don’t have a preference” or “I’m good with whatever you decide”.

Ace
1 month ago

Wife to me: “Are you hungry?”
Me: “No”
What she really means is “I’m hungry and would like to stop for lunch.”

Impavid
1 month ago
Reply to  Ace

Yes, the talent to a happy marriage is in how you interpret a comment. It would also be advantageous if the little lady could ease the bladder situation, on the side of the road, between the truck and trailer. Nope, that ain’t gonna happen.

California Travel Videos
1 month ago
Reply to  Impavid

On a funnier note, when I have a conversation with one of my astute grandkids who loves to share his assertion of being all-knowing, it goes like this:

Me: [educational learning statement]
Grandson: I know.
Me: [more pithy nuggets]
Grandson: I know…
Me (finally): I YES!
My Wife: I Maybe!!!

Life is too short not to enjoy the ironies of life with all of us seeking to be relevant.

California Travel Videos
1 month ago
Reply to  Ace

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers, The Story of Success” he cites the South Korean cultural issues (superiority/obedience) led to stifled airline crew communication resulting in repeated pilot errors that should have been recoverable.

https://medium.com/leadership-counts/copilot-leadership-what-we-can-learn-from-the-airline-industry-5ed213cef252
 On Korean Air flight 801, the first officer and captain had the following exchange while preparing to land in Guam:
“First officer: Do you think it rains more in this area?
Captain: (silence)
Flight engineer: Captain, the weather radar has helped us a lot.
Captain: Yes. They are very useful”

Reverence being supreme, subordinates speaking in Korean adhere to passive subordination. Ultimately, KAL training forced employees to speak in English – a draconian measure that was effective to enhance team communications.

Duane
1 month ago
Reply to  Ace

Yep! Or, she will say “That’s a cute ice cream store.” What she means is, she wants to stop for ice cream. After many times of her saying something like that as we are passing a store and I see nowhere to quickly turn around with the trailer, she is now starting to let me know with a bit of warning that she wants to stop somewhere.

kat
1 month ago

Oh man did this ever hit home! I blew up at my husband once as I was sick of hearing “I don’t care!” He no longer responds like that and I know to say I’m ready to stretch my legs, time to stop for lunch and a walk, etc., because yes, he will drive straight through from northern Michigan to SW Florida without stopping (except for gas)!

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