Flip A Coin To Figure Out What You Want

Photo by Fabian Blank

A little more than a decade ago, I found myself sitting on a couch in this girl’s apartment. We’d known each other for a few months and had been hanging out since we met.

While we had been having a great time together, we were — by no means — dating. No! At that time (or maybe at that age) labels were important, and we hadn’t labeled anything.

But that night on the couch was the last night of the semester (really, we had quarters, but who does that any more?). My Mom would be in town the next day to take me back home for winter break. So there we sat, wondering what we should do. Has this label come into play yet? Could we ignore it, go away for a month, come back, and have everything be as it was? Or did we need some word to bind us together in the meantime?

We didn’t know.

We had a good talk about it (as good of a talk as an 18- and 19-year-old can have about that sort of thing), but we made no progress. There were pros and cons to both cases in our minds. (Either that, or both of us were afraid to be the first to admit we wanted to put a label on it.)

The resolution we came to was to flip a coin.

“Heads means we’re dating, and tails means we’re not (yet),” she said as she handed me a quarter she had found in her purse.

I flipped it.

It spun through the atmosphere, its forceful spinning battled by air molecules, while gravity sought to pull the object to the carpeted living room floor. I wasn’t a great flipper — the coin landed on the other side of the room.

After it landed, I stood and walked over to the coin.

“What was it?” the girl said.

“Tails.”

“Oh.” She sounded disappointed.

I picked up the coin and said to her, “Do you want to say we’re dating anyways?”

She nodded and smiled.

That girl is now my wife.


It’s a silly thing — flipping a coin. To make important decisions based on chance is illogical and borderline foolish.

But some decisions are difficult. Sometimes there are two answers and it’s difficult to know which one is best.

Still, two options is significantly better than more. Narrowing the number of options helps you focus and make a decision. That’s why it’s so much easier to choose what to eat at a restaurant with a one-page menu, compared to T.G.I. Fridays.

When you have to make a decision, pressure resides on making the right one. On the other hand, when someone tells you to do something, don’t you usually know whether or not you want to do it? Or maybe even if you should do it?

Let the coin be your boss. Let the coin tell you what to do when you can’t decide.

Then, after the coin tells you what to do, decide if it’s what you wanted to do all along. Put the pressure on the coin, then react.

Then you just might make the decision you wanted to make all along.


Thank you for reading my writing! If you enjoyed this article, please help spread the word by clicking the ❤.

And if you really really enjoyed it, consider following me to keep up with all the nonsense that goes on in my head.