Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Did you ever get into trouble for asking too many questions? What happened?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) May 23rd, 2012

Today, a client thought I was questioning her methods when I asked her questions. She got pretty upset. It was almost a disaster.

Today, I also discovered I caused our cement contractor to abandon us when I asked him questions about what he was doing. He thought I didn’t trust that he knew what he was doing, and so he abandoned us (although he kept the $400 deposit for six months). He finally told my wife what had happened when he returned the deposit today.

So my need for asking questions to learn has a downside. It seems to threaten people in some situations.

Did you ever run into problems like that? Because you ask the wrong questions?

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13 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Not exactly trouble, but sometimes my husband can’t stand to be overloaded with questions. I realize now he sometimes interprets it as me feeling he is doing something inadequate or wrong.

Also, when in a group setting, sometimes people get annoyed with those who ask a lot of questions, sometimes I am asking a question and get flashed a look, because the others just want to get the lecture or information session over with and get out, and the questions delay the dismissal of the class.

missingbite's avatar

I watch almost everything that goes on at my house repair wise. I ask lots of questions but the first and most important one is “do you mind if I watch so I can learn something?” That almost always opens up to a repair lesson. Sometimes I know what they are doing and sometimes I am really just curious.

Charles's avatar

Did you ever get into trouble for asking too many questions? What happened?

I got a nasty gram from one of the Fluther mods.

downtide's avatar

When I was in high school I was involved with an evangelical church for 2–3 years, but by 18 I was already becoming highly sceptical. I asked too many questions they didn’t want to answer, and they said that it might be better if I found a different church. I wasn’t at all disappointed, and I didn’t bother finding another.

Bellatrix's avatar

Perhaps it is more about how you ask the questions. Most people don’t respond well to being interrogated. It sounds as though that may have been how they felt? If can do it in a way that shows you are interested and engaged rather than doubting their ability or reasoning, they might be less intimidated.

And no, I have never had anyone get annoyed with me for asking questions and I can ask a lot at times.

JLeslie's avatar

@Bellatrix My husband tells me it is how I ask that is the main problem. I haven’t been able to figure out how to ask better, but now I try to preface with an explanation of how I am not questioning his ability, just my own curiosity, or something of that sort.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@wundayatta Can I be really honest with you? I really hope you don’t take offense to this because I have no ill feeling towards you and usually enjoy your input here a great deal. However, there have been times during my three years here where I have felt that you responses and questions could lead people to feel like you are judging them in a negative light. Only recently I had to clarify your intentions after your reply to one of my answers sounded a little superior or that you knew me and my feelings better than I did myself. Once you had told me that I had misunderstood what you meant it was fine and, like I said, no ill feelings at all. Maybe these questions you are asking people don’t sound to them like a way of gaining knowledge but more like you are judging them (and their ability/knowledge) and rather than ask you what you mean, they assume the worse.

I may be way off as I don’t know how you talk to people in a face to face situation. The written word is always more vague because you have no tone of voice to work with which is why I sometimes have to check what you mean.

As for myself, my Grandmother used to hate it when I constantly asked “why?” about things. Her reply was often “because Y’s got a tail and you haven’t”! Not sure what Y’s tail had to do with anything but that was usually a sign for me to shut up!!!

Trillian's avatar

Just look at how you phrased this particular question. You said; “It seems to threaten people in some situations.” You’re putting it all on them. But since it seems to happen a lot, the problem is probably you. There is a psychological evaluation tool that consists of a very busy picture, lots of stuff going on in it. I knew a woman who found the smallest detail possible. (I had access to her profile). All her physicians stated the same thing, that she was unpleasant to deal with because of her continued questioning into minutiae. She could never just accept the first answer. Her probing was intrusive, condescending, uninformed and pointless. And when she learned something, she latched onto it to the point of ignoring all other evidence. She carried a paperback PDA every time she visited the Pharmacy, looking for reasons to dispute the medicines she had been prescribed.
Now, I’m not saying that you’re even close to what this woman was like, because we all actively hated this woman. If we could have dropped her into a pit of flaming lava, we would have fought each other for the opportunity. I don’t hate you. I like you. But sometimes…
She honestly thought that she was fine, and the rest of us were idiots. No self-awareness whatsoever. Something to think about.
And yeah, you do come off as an arrogant prick sometimes. Remember how you answered my Japanese dance question? You called me an idiot for not knowing something. People tend to not appreciate the tone.

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 See that’s the thing, I would hope, expect, someone would ask me to clarify if they felt I was being judgmental. A person who questions a lot (and really I should only speak for myself) doesn’t mind being asked a question about their intention or anything else. I was raised in a home with lots of conversation and questioning. My husband was not really raised with it. They were not intensely curious people, not in a constant state of seeking knowledge. Not always looking for a new way to look at something. They were not completely void of it, just not to the level of my family. My guess is @wundayatta is one of those people who seeks knowledge and absorbs it like a sponge. He wants to know the why, the how, if it makes sense within his parameters of logic. For me, if you ask me a question I then get to share what I know, which is no problem. Except in the case of I am short on time, or something like that.

I feel as though there is a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding between people who don’t question and discuss.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, thanks for your feedback, people. I take it as constructive. I’m not sure what I want to do about it.

I often try to phrase things as being about me—using “I” statements—to get around this issue. But sometimes I forget. It may or may not be a drawback of my method of not editing myself.

I do, of course, judge people. Sometimes, though, people think I am judging them, when I’m not. I suppose there are other times people don’t think I am judging them, and I am. And hopefully most of the time I judge people, people understand me correctly.

There are times when I judge people and I like them, even if I don’t approve of what they do. There are times when I judge people and dislike them because of what they have done. Sometimes I respect people I dislike because I think they believe what they believe out of a good heart, even if I think they are going in the wrong direction. I tend to think that just about everyone has a good heart, even people whose points of view I really disagree strongly with.

But I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I think I’m just a person who is as good as anyone else. Except, of course, when I’m depressed, and then I think I’m worthless, but because I’m worthless, it doesn’t really matter whether I say what I think or not. If people don’t like it, they can beat me up, and that suits me, when I’m depressed.

So I met with my client today, and we are coming to a greater understanding. I told her what happened with my contractor and she had some interesting information to provide about questions. She is a psychological economist, and even though she is fighting off memory issues, she is fighting very hard and she can still remember a thing or two. I respect her battle because I can see myself like that in a few decades.

Anyway, she said that people who ask questions do it as a way of asserting power.

Wow.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie I agree which is why I do ask people their intentions if I feel they are coming across as judgemental.

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yes, I think that is what I like so much about fluther, people ask questions, try to understand each other, realize so etimes things are lost in written communication, etc. It bothers me most among family, when someone in my family is willingly to assume I might purposely be tryng to hurt them, be judgemental, or critical, and they just live with that feeling instead of clarifying. I think with the people we love we should trust them enough to assume their intent is not ill willed and clear the air.

@wundayatta Assert power. Interesting.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, I did. In first grade. When it was over, I ended up in third grade the following year. It helped. I became very busy trying to understand German spelling.

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