Questions have always been a part of my life and essential to the jobs that I have held, which may be why I ask lots of them. I also am curious, have a need for context, and like things to make logical sense. Understanding that my tendency was a questioner, and seeing the description in relation to the other tendencies (The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin) gave me new self-awareness.
At the same time, I started to notice the number of people who seemed to add another layer into questions and their intended purpose. Questions have become more than a curiosity or desire for better understanding and turned into a bit of a demand or an annoyance, especially for those who are not questioners.
Here are some examples of when questions can shift from a simple search for clarity, and turn into something more:
- Have you ever noticed that when you have an expertise, you can become annoyed when someone asks you a question to which you think the answer is obvious?
- When you are asked the same question over and over do you reach a point where you want to say, “please stop asking”?
- What if you asked someone to clarify a project deliverable you were uncertain about, or were simply curious as to why it was done in a particular way, and that question led to a change that wasn’t requested?
- Have you ever encountered someone who is slow to respond, and when you follow-up considers your second request as demanding?
- Are there times when you push back on / question someone’s idea because it doesn’t resonate for you only to have them ask you why you are challenging their suggestion?
- How does it feel during a presentation when certain people ask many questions, while others hesitate to do so?
The same day I had the inspiration for a blog about questions, I met someone for lunch who was encountering some of the same “question reactions” as I was. We started to talk about some reasons why people respond “badly” to questions. Here are some initials thoughts:
- The question comes across as criticism
- Questioning someone brings up their insecurity
- Answering questions takes time
- People get tired when questions are “yeah but” or counter-example
Are you someone who loves to ask questions but sometimes gets pushback, are told to stop, or are called annoying? If yes, what drives your need to ask questions? What has been your experience as to why others resist the question?
Are you someone who finds questions annoying? If yes, what makes them annoying to you? If someone doesn’t know something, what would make a question to clarify annoying?
My long history of being a questioner supports me in my work as a coach and facilitator. If you find yourself triggered by someone’s questions or are told not to ask so many questions, consider contacting me via my website for a complimentary conversation.
© 2019 Systems of Change, LLC