What are some (or one) of the things about which you usually don’t trust your own judgment, and need someone’s else’s confirmation?
If you don’t trust your own judgement when you live life on your own, nothing happens: the world doesn’t come to an end. But if you don’t trust your own judgement when you live life on your own, nothing happens, either: you’re stuck in a world of mind-numbing inactivity. This is so boring that you start making decisions in self-defence; most of them turn out OK, and you’re off. And after a while, you realise your judgement is probably valid for you, so what the hell?
My sister is in the same boat. She’s on her own, and although she has a lot more friends than I do, she’s fiercely independent, and happily self-reliant. But when we get to together, it’s a different matter.
This is called Is the chicken cooked.
In our separate lives, we can both cook chicken to the requisite degree of doneness while standing on heads reading Tolstoy in the original (or similar). But once we get together, we consult – perhaps for the sheer pleasure of having someone we trust to consult with. This is a bit ‘Is the chicken cooked’, we’ll say, but do you think…’ It’s fun. We enjoy it. We don’t always take each other’s advice. But sometimes the luxury of having a sounding board is irresistible, and it certainly helps clarify your own thinking.
But there’s one area where I rely on her for the absolute, unvarnished truth and have no faith in my own judgement at all. If I’m writing fiction, I trust her to tell me if it’s working, because I don’t have a clue.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. It’s too easy to get so immersed in what you think you’re saying, that you can’t tell whether you’ve actually said it: you’re so focused on where you’re going that you forget to explain why you’re going there.
She also happens to be very intelligent, and a qualified editor and proof reader. We might both wonder whether the chicken’s cooked, but she’s the one who knows if the book’s still raw in the middle.