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JLeslie's avatar

Why don’t people answer the question asked?

Asked by JLeslie (56272points) June 25th, 2018 from iPhone

This is really somewhat of a vent for me.

I am not talking about people straying off subject on fluther. I’m talking about asking my inlaws a question and they answer something else, or won’t state what they want without a lot of work on my part. I guess maybe they just don’t want to answer the question, but I also think possibly it’s a communication thing. Like I’m asking the wrong way.


My MIL’s sister was recently hospitalized, it was very serious, life threatening, but she is finally home.

My MIL has considered flying to see her, and just now she was telling me that she talked to her a couple of days ago. I asked her if she had skype so they could see each other. She said yes they have skype, but she couldn’t see her, just talking. I asked her, “do you want to see her on skype?” She replied, “we talked on Skype and I couldn’t see her.” I said, “but if you call her again, would you like to see her if she wants to do the video also?” She said, “we couldn’t see each other.

OMG?! WTF?! It’s constantly like this.

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16 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

Maybe it was true? Maybe the camera was blocked or something?

Patty_Melt's avatar

Then too, communication requires more than simply uttering words.
There has to be actual listening and enough interest to comprehend those words.
Maybe MIL has some focus issues?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What I’m seeing is that she does not understand that video can accompany SKYPE, but she doesn’t realize that. So you kept saying, “Would you like to see her?” and she keeps clarifying that they can’t see each other. She may be thinking you’re the obtuse one!

Try something like, “If I could make it so you could see each other, would you like that?”
She’ll say, “But we can’t see each other!”
“But if I made it so you could would you like that?”

PIN_24's avatar

Maybe she has a lack of awarness of the technology and doesn’t know that she can see via Skype. A communication gap is evident here. Try to rephrase your words to, “How would you feel, if I tell you that you can see people via Skype? Would you like me to help you out with the video function of Skype?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Maybe you could call her on SKYPE..or even Messenger?

chyna's avatar

I’m sorry, but I’m laughing my butt off! I feel your pain.

JLeslie's avatar

She does have a lack of understanding of the technology. I did say to her we can turn on the camera if you want to see each other. She still kept answering they couldn’t. I told her again, we can try turning on the camera if we call again on skype. She just wasnt getting it.

She said when she talks to her son she can see him, but not her sister. I’m pretty sure her son uses FaceTime, but that’s besides the point.

This is just one example. There are tons.

I asked her today when we were throwing together dinner, “would you like to eat the leftover turkey burgers?” I told her my husband and I aren’t going to have them (I said that to try to clarify that if she has them she won’t be taking them from us, because she worries about everyone else first, and I understand that’s a nice thing) and her answer to me was, “I should eat them because they are taking up space in the fridge.” What? My fridge has plenty of room. I’ve told her a zillion times there is plenty of room in the fridge and pantry she can feel free to keep food there, and to eat anything she finds.

I said, “no, it’s fine if they stay in the fridge if you don’t want them tonight, there is plenty of room, do you and your husband want to finish them?”

Deer in the headlights.

The dinner was a little of this a little of that anyway.

Nothing was spoiling, she made the turkey burgers the night before, the burgers are something she made, so it’s not a matter of her trying to be polite to me and doesn’t like the food.

She finally decided they would eat them.

Adagio's avatar

Perhaps she feels no need to see who she is talking to. I am more than happy to talk on Skype with no camera, in fact I prefer it. Perhaps your mother-in-law does not have the same expectation or need for a visual Skype experience as you seem to have @JLeslie.

JLeslie's avatar

^^She eventually said she wanted to see her sister, but then continued to say she couldn’t when she talked to her sister.

Edit: to clarify more, she said she couldn’t see her sister when her daughter called on Skype. She was with her daughter last week.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just sit her down, dial up her sister or her daughter or whomever, put on the video and hand her the phone or put her in front of the computer. Just do it FOR her. Quit trying to explain it and just do it.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I will the next time she wants to call. It’s not this situation specifically it’s tge seven hundred times people in my husband’s family don’t answer the question asked.

I ask my MIL, “would you like to get some lunch,” while we’re out running errands. Half the time she says no, and then someone else says yes in the car, and she says, “I am hungry.” I’ll say, “oh, do you prefer to eat at home?”

Her: no

Me: so, then do you want to eat out?

Her: I didn’t think you have the time.

Another example:

Her: I couldn’t find travel size conditioner in the Walmart near your house.

Me: we’re passing a walgreen now, do you want to stop there on the way back?

Her: no

Me: it’s no problem.

Her: no. It’s not urgent.

Me: do you want it for travel? I have a small container I can give you.

Her: it’s not urgent. I don’t want to put large shampoo bottles in the bathroom.

Me: why? Do you care about the brand? You’ll have much less choice in travel size. I can give you a little travel bottle if you need for travel.

Background: WTH is she talking about. She’s here for weeks, maybe a few months. Her bathroom is theirs to use, we have a master bath completely separate.

Me: do you want me to stop at the Walgreens? (As we are approaching it in the way home)

Her: no no. It’s not urgent.

We get home and ten minutes later my inlaws drive 15–20 minutes each way to buy small shampoo and conditioner.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….stop feeding her! She’s passively aggressively playing off of you. You have to change your automatic responses.

Her: “I couldn’t find travel size conditioner in the Walmart near your house.”
You: “We’re passing a Walgreen now, do you want to stop there on the way back?”
her: “No.”
You: “OK.”
Conversation over. If she brings it up again (which she will because she’s not getting the reaction she wants,) do the same thing. Short, simple, over. Let her figure out her own solution, all by herself.

chyna's avatar

I would have just wheeled on into Walgreens without asking and park and say we are running in here to get you the shampoo. Don’t ask or give her choices.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Anything, really, would be better than engaging with her. As long as you’re asking questions she’s got the game on her turf.

JLeslie's avatar

I sometimes do what @chyna said, I just do the thing I know she wants.

Sometimes I do what @Dutchess_III suggested, just let her live with her response even though she really wants whatever it is.

Sometimes I go back and forth with her. Probably I should do that less. She is incredibly passive aggressive, most obvious when she uses the silent treatment.

The update today is, she has been passive aggressive for 4 days now not buying any groceries and not going into the kitchen practically at all. This, after usually spending 3 hours a day cooking every day. Which drives me a little crazy, but only because I can’t imagine doing it myself. I finally confronted her. It seemed to go ok. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You need to do it ALL the time, not just some of the time.

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