They had been standing there for almost 20 minutes. One by one, the friends had passed it around, scrolled through their Yelp apps, and backed down with an “I’m good with anything,” or a “Really, I’m not picky.” Each had recused themselves from deciding where to eat, and now—now, there was a crisis in leadership.

Time was against them—it was past 8:00, and not only were tensions high and people hungry, but with no one capable of stepping up, the group’s options were rapidly beginning to thin.

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“I had pizza last night, but as long as it’s not deep-dish, I’d be fine having it again,” said Chris Pridham, the former leader who had organized the gathering in the first place. “Actually, even if you all want to get deep-dish, that’d be cool with me, as long as we get different toppings.”

With no one willing to express anything more than an ambivalent shrug, the list of dining options had ballooned to include Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Italian, pizza, deep-dish pizza, and Mexican. Though one brave friend had voiced her opinion that she could make pasta anytime at home, and another had offhandedly mentioned that Mexican-Korean fusion might be too much, could no one push the group toward some form of consensus?

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“Takeout, eat in, doesn’t matter to me—both are going to have about an hour of wait time anyway,” said friend Kate Ponish, as five other members of the group agreed with her immediately. “I’ve got enough cash on me to go pretty much anywhere, but also my card works if we just want to order online.”

While all parties seemed flexible, the risk of pinning everyone to a price range, ambiance, or even neighborhood was perhaps too much for one friend to bear. And if someone could not choose a cuisine, let alone a single restaurant within that cuisine, it seemed that the group would never eat.

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“Wanna just go to O’Shannessy’s down the street?” said Chris, suggesting the pub they had eaten at hundreds of times before, as the group remained wide-eyed and totally silent. “Maybe? We don’t have to.”