11 Brilliant Idioms that You Can Use To Express Your Decision

Making decisions is part of everyday life. From choosing your social activities, fulfilling your family roles, to pursuing your hobbies and interests, it’s all about making choices. On top of this, making decisions is also crucial in your professional life and business transactions. Whether you have quickly decided, in a dilemma between two choices, or thinking about procrastinating, there are appropriate expressions you can use to express your decision-making experience. Read on to see our lists of useful idioms related to decisions.

1. Have second thoughts

Important decisions must be carefully thought of to avoid future drawbacks. In some cases, you may find yourself having a decision already but still thinking about other options and the possible consequences of your choice. You are not yet fully convinced that your choice is the best one cause there are still factors that you still consider. 

A good expression to use when you are hesitant about your decision is “have second thoughts.” It means that you still doubt your choice as ideas that come later can still change your mind after more thought.

Example: We were planning to eat in the Japanese restaurant located on the ground floor of our building, but we had second thoughts and came here instead.

2. At the end of the day

Telling your speaking partner that you have looked at all the possibilities and considered relevant facts and events before making a decision will make them understand your choice. You’ll enable them to see your reasons and even get them to agree that you made the right choice because it is the most practical thing.  

Use the expression “at the end of the day” if you want to convey that you are finally ready to decide after considering all the factors that need to be thought of. This expression can be used in two ways. The first is to provide a summary of your final decision. The other one is to introduce your final decision by initially providing the deciding factor for your choice. 

You can also use “when all was said and done” or “all things considered” as an alternative to this expression. 

Example: All of the proposals are good and implementable, but we have to consider the most cost-efficient at the end of the day.

3. Up in the air

Some concerns are left unresolved because they were not prioritized or forgotten. However, delays may also happen when you are still looking for the best solution, waiting for someone’s approval, or expecting a game-changer that will help you to decide. 

“Up in the air” is the suited expression when talking about a plan or issue that remains unsettled. No clear decision or arrangement has been made, so the next step is still unknown.

Example: The general manager hasn’t given me any update about the status of your proposal, so the possibility of you being our supplier is still up in the air.

4. I’m in a quandary 

Crucial situations that can be life-changing are the ones that are difficult to make decisions on. It can be perplexing because you are overwhelmed with the events that took place or confused in selecting the best solution for the difficult situation.  This requires careful thought and seeking the advice of others.

If you found yourself in a state where you don’t know what to do or no idea about the best option to choose, use the expression “I’m in a quandary. “

Example: The job offer is good, but I’m in a quandary because I have to relocate if I accept it.

5. Keep your options open

Making a decision is not always confusing as it may seem. In some cases, it is easy to choose because you are aware of the option that is most favorable to your situation. However, there are also instances where your preferred option may not be the best choice. The other alternatives may provide more benefits, or your option entails more risks than what you have expected. Well-meaning colleagues may advise you to think more carefully about your choice if they knew that alternatives can offer you better benefits. 

If someone advised you “keep your options open,” it means that they are suggesting you delay committing or making a final decision so you can still consider other possibilities. Learning about other choices will assist you in finding the most appropriate option.

Example: We will probably accept the proposal because it is excellent and affordable. However, we still like to keep our options open.

6. Rubber stamp

Deciding and giving approval is easy for things that we think less essential and don’t highly require careful deliberation. When we think something is good enough or run out of time, we tend to approve right away, even without scrutinizing. This may happen when the person who made the proposal is trustworthy and knowledgeable or when the solution is positively perceived and sound reliable. Also, this naturally takes place in the workplace when the most favorable option is already apparent and just needs acceptance confirmation for formality. 

Rubber-stamp is an expression used for the act where you quickly approve, endorse or give authorization on something without proper consideration or assessing its merit. 

Example: Ensure that you check each of the submitted applications thoroughly and not rubber-stamp them right away. We should carefully shortlist who’s going to proceed to the second interview.

7. Flip-flop

Changing decisions do not only happen to fickle-minded people. It is also experienced by individuals who could figure out the best option after considering all factors crucial to their decision. Even someone is seemed to be firm with his decision and has already expressed his choice, it can still change anytime. As soon as they have learned the option that is more suited to their situation, it is only natural to change their mind.

When an earlier decision or plan has been suddenly reversed, you can use the word flip-flop to describe the decision.

Example: A week before the presentation, the marketing manager flip-flops his plans. We have to make adjustments quickly so we can still present for the event.

8. Stick to your guns

When principles, truth, and facts are the basis for your decision, it is more likely that it’ll be hard to change your decision. You don’t want to compromise despite criticism, and you’d like to stand firm in your choice because it is what seems right to you. The more determined you are to hold to your convictions and rights, the harder it is for others to persuade you.

When people have a different opinion about your choice, but you refuse to change your belief or action despite the convincing or criticism you may get, tell them that you “stick to your guns.”

Example: The sales manager wants us to focus on traditional marketing, but our department sticks to our gun. We decided that we will do both traditional and digital marketing.

9. Weigh the pros and cons

To make an intelligent decision, one has to thoroughly consider both the advantages and disadvantages of each option. The most ideal time to finally decide is when you fully understand the situation and the possible risks of each option. By weighing the pros and cons at the onset, you will be able to speed up your decision-making process. Plus, it prevents you from facing consequences that can be predicted through careful consideration.

If you want to advise someone to assess the advantage and disadvantages of each option, use the expression “weigh the pros and cons.”

Example: My immediate supervisor recommended that I weigh the pros and cons of each proposed solution before deciding which one to implement.

10. My way or the highway

Being clear about the consequences that your speaking partner will face after making a choice can prevent them from being fickle-minded. It is also a way to forewarn and suggest them to be responsible for meeting the consequence. Being fully aware of what you’ll do after making their decision allows them to choose and be better prepared for the possible result.

Telling about your condition clearly is also advantageous on your part. You are confident that they understood that they will be required to follow your demands if they conform to your ways. If they disagree and are not willing to submit to your standards, they’ll know that you don’t intend to deal with them and are not ready to discuss any other alternative.

“My way or the highway” is another way of saying, “take it or leave it.” My way is like telling them to “take it” or “accept it.” “Highway,” on the other hand, suggests the “leave it” part. It vividly tells your conversation partner that there are only two options. They will either follow your plan or policy or quit and leave.

Example: The moment you have been part of that department, you must remember that the manager values obedience. His policy has always been his way or the highway.

11. To take a back seat

No matter how consistently active you are in participating in your company activities and projects, there will be a time when you will prefer to slow down. Even if you were always taking the lead, you’d also want to do the role of being a supporter at one point. This could be because you want to allow others to lead or believe that someone is better at handling the current situation. You prefer to lay low in other instances because you are more focused on other priorities but still want to get involved in the project. Taking the lead would mean having the power to make all the decisions and making sure that plans are implemented. However, occupying the inferior position allows you to be more relaxed while staying involved. 

In driving, the person sitting in the driver’s seat is the one who’s taking control of the car. The person sitting in the back seat trusts and allows the driver to decide the direction and vehicle’s speed. As for the expression “take a back seat,” means that you want to have a less important position or role. You prefer to be less active and influential in controlling things and making a decision. 

Example: The marketing manager decided to take a back seat and let the marketing officer lead the project.


Now you can easily choose the best expression when talking about your decision. This will allow you to deliver your message creatively and courteously. If it’s too hard to tell your decision, using the idioms above can soften your message. Expressing your decisions effectively helps others to quickly understand and accept your choices. 


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Kaycie Gayle is a freelance content writer and a digital publisher. Her writings are mostly about, travel, culture, people, food, and communication.