14 questions I hate
I planned to write a post about complaining. But then I thought of some questions I want to complain about. So yeah – that post about complaining will have to wait.
Instead, I thought I’d write up a list of questions I hate. I hate them for different reasons of course. But most follow a similar pattern:
- “How’s it goin’?” It’s a customary question, not a legitimate question. As you’ll see from the rest of these, that’s what I least like about most of these questions: fakeness. Using questions when they’re really not asked in any meaningful/literal way.
- “Hi, what are you doing?” Answer: talking to you.
- “Are you doing anything on _________ [insert date/time]?” Answer: No. Follow up question: “Then do you want to ________ [insert something really lame that no one really wants to do].” For example: “Are you doing anything on Monday?” Answer: No. “Then do you want to come to my house and help me move?” Don’t set me up like that.
- “Do you remember me?” If you even have to ask, the answer’s probably negative. Be nice and assume I have no idea who you are. Because I don’t.
- “Can I ask you a question?” You just did. I appreciate that you’re trying to slowly move into whatever important question you may have. But please, just say you’re going to ask an important question or give me some more context, like need to ask you about _______ [insert topic].
- “May I borrow a napkin?” No, you can have mine though. I don’t want that nasty thing back.
- “Can we hang out sometime?” What’s that supposed to mean? Actually, I’ve answered that way before. . . because that’s exactly what I’m thinking when you ask. Do you mean date, or do you mean hang out? I want to say, “No,” every time, but it still doesn’t seem accurate to say, “No, I don’t want to hang out with you,” when what I really mean is, “No, I won’t date you.”
- “Have you seen my status [or note or blog post, etc.]?” Even if I have, don’t assume I pay attention to you. I try, but you’ll be heart broken at how little anyone pays attention to you.
- “How old do you think I am?” If you ask this, you probably want an honest answer. But you force me to choose between honesty and charity. Don’t ever force anyone into that situation unless you’re testing ’em on purpose.
- “How does borrowing get our country out of debt?” Answer: the same way borrowing to start a business can make a person rich. I don’t like government spending, but the “you can’t borrow to get out of debt” argument is ignorant.
- “Are you busy?” Listen, I’m always doing something. I mean, it’s humanly impossible for me to exist and yet be doing nothing. You’re always interrupting – my thoughts, my sleep, my conversation, my work, whatever. Better question: “Is now a good time to talk?”
- “So do you have a girlfriend?” Answer: No. But I hate this question mostly because the question isn’t, “Do you have a girlfriend?” It’s, “Are you available for me?” And that answer is definitely negative if you’re asking.
- “What did you major in?” [Me: Economics and Philosophy.] “So are you going to philosophize about the economy?” Dude, you have no idea how many people have tried the same joke. And it wasn’t funny the first time.
- My mom: “Marshall, will you do the dishes?” Because the answer of course is going to be affirmative, whether I like it or not.
And yes, I’m totally guilty of pulling the same garbage. But change your words, change your life. Most people might not notice, but the people who matter will.
Now back to you. Which do you hate? How can I change to help you?