I could unpack the concept of what it means to be a domineering or pushy woman in a patriarchal society, but I'm more interested in the solution, and two of my close friends and I seemed to get at that solution during some honest and challenging conversations during our Yule celebration.
The answer has to do with naming preferences, and this has three discernible-to-me parts:
First, there needs to be space (i.e. an intentional shared container) for all voices in the conversation to name what they want.
Second, all voices need to be willing to name what they want, even if it feels uncomfortable to do so.
Third, and this is the super-helpful part: all voices name how strong their preference is. For me and my close friends, naming a preference as slight, medium, or strong helps us prioritize preferences when they differ. Furthermore, if two or more strong preferences are named, that's something that gets honored in the very saying of it. There's no need to hide behind it (as I have so frequently done throughout my life, for fear of offending or annoying someone I care about). If two or more strong preferences emerge, then a conversation can be had about making time to do both (and then deciding which comes first, either using circumstances to decide or using a coin-toss to take the decision outside the realm of personal decision-making).
The great thing about this manner of naming preferences is that everyone gets to be heard not only in an objective way but in a deep way. I get not only to name my preference, but how dear it is to me (or not), and I get to hear the preferences of others and how dear they are to those I'm talking with. This kind of honesty and authenticity allows space for dear ones to see me and I to see them, while avoiding any sense that one person's preference is more important than another's.
How do you name preferences with those who are dear to you?