I’m not going to dance around with this one. It is all going right out in front. Stop asking why – it scares people.
The question “Why?” is accusatory, negative, and scary. I’m not talking about asking why yeast makes bread rise. This is about asking why someone did or did not text you back on Friday night.
When someone asks why you did or did not do something, immediately the pressure is on. It is time to as quickly and neatly as possible think up a good answer that will keep the person asking happy or keep you out of trouble. This is complete and utter BS. It is just a question, right? But everyone has been in this position. Hearing the question “Why?” assumes that something was done wrong or a lie was told. A simple question should NOT carry a stigma like that, but sadly with social media check-ins and lies being thrown all over, even a three letter word is a loaded gun.
Never fear, real human interaction and interest are here. But really, there are better ways of seeking the same information without backing people into corners and even feigning interest in the lives of others.
Asking “Why didn’t you text me back Friday night?” is accusatory and seems to have a goal hidden somewhere in the answer. Alright class, now let’s think of a different way to get the same results as this jarring question. “What did you do Friday night?” shows that you are interested in this person’s life, what he/she was doing, and that maybe you care just a little. From this question there will be an answer of some kind of event ranging from going to the bars to watching soaps with the dog. Whatever the answer may be, now you know WHY your text was left hanging and the answer is probably more genuine than if you asked it the other way. You may even get a conversation, not argument, out of it.
Another question that has been circling around some people I know is “Why do you always get so jealous when…?”. As if “Why?” by itself isn’t loaded enough, this is just screaming disaster. Not to feed stereotypes, but this question is usually being asked from a man to a woman, or at least in the cases I have witnessed. Lesson number two on how to change a why question to a more easily digested one involves biting the bullet.
“What can I do to help you feel better about…?” cuts the word jealous out altogether and places the blame on the one asking. In irrational cases of jealousy it usually isn’t your fault. Jealousy is caused by a whole mess of past, baggage, and irrationality. But if you care enough to stay with your jealous partner, then bite that bullet, reword that question, and fix what was probably broken far before it was yours.
Alright class, any questions? What I am really saying here isn’t just about asking the question “Why?” We all need to stop backing each other into corners with questions and accusations before someone can get a word in. Social media and pictures that speak for themselves are separating us one misinterpretation at a time. So let’s all try to ask and answer questions more thoughtfully. I am sure that it can save a lot of fights and even relationships.