That’s Why Restaurants Have Menus – Diversity

As a kid, whenever I would complain to my father that a friend, teacher, or cousin disagreed with me or didn’t appreciate my point of view, he looked me in the eye and said flatly, “That’s why restaurants have menus.”

It is only one of several sayings that infuriated me at the time but now, decades later, creep back into my mind (and even into my conversations) as very astute.  My father was succinct and droll – he was able to cut through to the heart of the matter, often hilariously.

I like his phrase, “That’s why restaurants have menus.”  We all want different things; we have different needs and desires. If we all thought similarly, enjoyed the same things, or if we all wanted the same things, there would be no need for menus, practically or philosophically.  Thinking, “That’s why restaurants have menus”  is a non-threatening way to speak to our diversity of taste and of point of view.  It’s easy to understand that  different people enjoy different foods but, if we take the phrase up to a more philosophical level, it clarifies the fact that we are distinct people and may want different things – it speaks to individual differences in more than food – perhaps personality, style, politics or culture.

If you are an early career clinican, a clinical supervisor, or a professor who teaches interviewing, you will find my newest book, “What Do I Say?” to be an essential addition to your professional library.

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