Patient centred care is now considered the gold standard and there should be ‘no decision about me, without me’. Internists who treat patients with complex multi-morbidities should consider patients' preferred outcomes, following a ‘goal-oriented’ principle. Perhaps the most important barrier to goal-oriented care is that medicine is deeply rooted in a disease-outcome-based paradigm. Rather than asking what patients want, the culture of modern medicine has prioritised optimal disease management according to guidelines and population goals. Doing what is right for the patient should be based on trust. Patients and internists must therefore meet as equals: ‘I’ and ‘you’ should be replaced by ‘we’.