Stop Asking So Many Questions
Asking questions is not always a sign of love.
Imagine…. It’s been an exhausting day. You walk through the front door and all you want to do is collapse on the sofa. But you can’t because standing in between you and peace of mind is your child who greets you by asking the following questions.
“How was your day? Did you answer all of your emails? Did you remember to finish that report your boss asked you to do last week? How did your evaluation go? Wait…a minute….Why are you walking away from me? Why are you being so moody? I just want to know what’s going on with you! I love you!”
Doesn’t this sound horrible? But we do it all the time. It’s one of our great miscommunications: asking a million questions to the people we love to feel close to them. Instead, it jacks up anxiety and feels like an interrogation.
It’s why we just respond with “I’m fine” to all the questions. We just want peace.
Here are some questions young people shared with us that while well-meaning, are crazy-making:
How was your day?
Who did you talk to?
Did you get into any fights?
Who did you eat lunch with?
What did you learn?
Was there any drama?
Were the other kids nice to you?
What are your thoughts on x person?
You’re sure you didn’t get into any drama?
Are you ok?
Did you fail that math test?
Do you have a crush?
Do you like anyone right now?
Why don’t you like so and so anymore?
Who do the other kids like?
We are exhausting with all the questions.
When we see the people we love, here’s what we can do to make it nicer and saner for everyone:
Put down the phone. Stop talking to the person on the phone, stop texting, stop scrolling through your feed.
Smile and just look at this person you love. No matter what’s going on remember how grateful you are that they are in your life. Sometimes just taking a moment to look at them will tell you more than anything they will say.
Say something that backs that up. A warm “Hi! So good to see you” will suffice.
Wait a few minutes and see what happens. Our experience is that after the person who usually gets the millions of questions gets over their shock at the silence, they start talking.
So let’s slow down. Our relationships are not dependent on knowing every detail of the other person’s life. In an incredibly anxious world, our healthiest, strongest relationships should include being a comfort to each other.
At Cultures of Dignity, our definition of happiness includes having a place to process and find peace. Shouldn’t we give that to the people we are closest to?
This originally appeared in our newsletter Communiquette.