It's one of the stories I always tell.
Jake and I were seniors in college at a advertising club competition, which took place about 2-3 hours away. Our team got to ride in one of the university branded busses and stayed in a hotel for the weekend. While on the road, the bus pulled over to Panera for a breakfast stop. We all piled out, and placed our orders (which was paid for by the university - a college student's dream come true).
At the time, I had no idea how to define my relationship with Jake. To this day, I still don't know what was going through my crazy brain. I was so drawn to him, but also so irritable around him/irritated by him. Was I annoyed at his overly-polite manners? Was I convinced he was in love with me and it freaked me out? Was I just mad at myself for liking him? I have no answers, but I can tell you this, I was not my best self.
Jake orders at the Panera counter, steps aside. I order, and join him. Somehow we exchange that we ordered the same thing (the delicious power up breakfast sandwich), and I made a huge stink about it. I was sooooooo annoyed that he ordered the same thing as me. I know, I know, it's ridiculous and childish and I don't understand why I cared. But you should have seen the way he would look at me like he loved me, and for some reason I always responded in anger.
Let's flash forward four years.
Recently, Jake and I got to visit LA together, which meant lots of eating out. Our motivation while being there was to rest, not to be tourists, so for the most part, we stuck with restaurants that were accessible and affordable, instead of trying out the "hippest" places.
But there was one morning when we walked down to Venice Beach for a highly rated restaurant, The Rose Cafe, and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on the building.
It's huge, with old signs, and large amounts of outdoor seating. When you walk in, there's a big beautiful bar to your left, with a garden hanging above it. There's a large bakery counter in the middle of the room, bursting with baked goods and tartine displays. Then you walk to your right and you're led through different dining areas, filled with happy beautiful people and the most delicious smells. Finally you get to a big dining room that feels like a green house, with tall ceilings and tons of greenery. It's very aesthetically pleasing, and the menu is even better.
All the food sounded delicious, and we did that thing that people do at restaurants, where they ooooohhh and ahhhhh reading off each item.
We bounced ideas back and forth, taking a long time to ponder our choices, and we came to the decision that we both wanted to order the same thing.
So we did.
And it felt so special and cozy, to both be enjoying the same deliciousness, having no comparison amongst our plates, with neither of us wishing that we had ordered what the other person was having.
There was no conversation about our choices this time around. We've been ordering the same thing a lot recently. I shared this with some friends, thinking I was just late to the party of two people ordering the same thing from the menu (because the two individuals both believe it is the BEST option), and I was the only one who seemed to advocate for it.
"I like everyone to get different things to try a little bit of each plate," was the general consensus. Which I toootallyy understand. But still, I felt a little misunderstood, a little insecure.
And so of course, that insecurity revealed that I had some soul searching to do. Why did I care about this? What does it really matter?
Here's why ordering the same thing is a big deal for me.
First. In the beginning of Jake and I being friends, it seemed like we had EVERYTHING in common. Every conversation was filled with, "You like that!? Me too." And then we got married, and all of a sudden things shifted and it seemed like only our differences were on display. We disagree in the ways in which we rest, how often to go out, what time to wake up or go to bed each night, how many dishes are okay to leave in the sink until morning, how to clean the bathroom, etc etc etc. I think this is normal, but it can be pretty draining.
So coming back to our commonalities is not only refreshing to find something we agree on, it also takes me back to our college days and how we fell in love in the first place. It's nostalgic and sweet.
A second reason why ordering the same thing is meaningful is because it means I actually know what I want.
I've always been an indecisive person. It's been crippling at times. I can chalk it up now to being a 7 on the Enneagram (never wanting to miss out on worthwhile experiences).
An area where I've seen HUGE growth in my life is my ability to order off a menu. It used to be an overwhelmingly terrible task for me to order food, whether it's a place I'm visiting for the first time, or somewhere I've memorized the offerings. I would feel a lot of anxiety trying to choose something, and would often regret my choices as soon as the waiter turned away from our table. My family and friends would always try and coax me into, "You can let the waiter know you changed your mind!" But I would refuse because I knew if I changed, then I'd regret not ordering the first thing, and on and on and on the circle would go.
The older I get, the more confident I am in knowing what I want. I know what kind of food I like, what kind of wine I drink, when to order a cocktail and when to order a beer. I'm secure in myself when I feel like eating a salad and when I feel like eating a burger. I eat way more intuitively than ever before, and it's a game changer.
So me ordering the same thing as Jake is me saying, "I don't care what you want to do, but I know for a fact that I want this." It makes me feel independent and powerful, self-confident and assured. And then if he happens to order the same thing, we get the pleasure of ordering what we want, and the joy in a shared experience.
So there's my case for why I like ordering the same thing as my significant other, which I never, ever, ever thought I'd say.
And I'll just leave you with this - when your little insecurities flair up, dig a little deeper to figure out why. I hope you'll get some refreshing processing out of it :)