While driving home the other day, my husband said something that brought me to a full stop. “You don’t ask questions.” It wasn’t accusatory. We weren’t in a fight. We were just passing time on the very long drive from Show Low to Phoenix. I frantically started replaying years of conversations in my head with him, friends, and family members. I was rendered mute as I scrambled for some specific memories where I had asked deep, insightful questions of someone so that I could defend myself. I couldn’t think of a single instance.
He was right (yes, I can admit when my hubby is right), I don’t ask a lot of questions. When did I become a self-centered person who didn’t care about what others thought?
I am not a naturally curious person. I don’t really think about how stuff works (the irony is that I have an engineering degree). If I have a question, I usually Google the answer. I also have a really bad habit of guessing what someone else is going to say and, instead of listening, prepare a response while they are talking. This is usually the start of most of my marital arguments.
I have two preschoolers. I have to answer sooooo many questions everyday that I cannot think of subjecting anyone else to that mental marathon. Sometimes their little minds think of some deep shit. My oldest asked me why she had never met her paternal grandfather (he passed away before she was born). How do you have a conversation about death with a 3 1/2 year old? That only led to “what does it feel like to die?” Like…wtf? It’s exhausting.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Asking an adult a question is very different, but you never know what their answer will be. If you haven’t read my last post, I don’t like the unknown. I like to stay in my safe bubble of things I already know. This is probably textbook introverted behavior. I like talking about observed things, not what
So, what if I wanted to change? What if I wanted to start asking questions?
My next hurdle is that I have a deep fear of social awkwardness. What if I ask the wrong thing? What if it is actually rude or offensive to ask that? I have enough childhood trauma surrounding this that would take years of therapy to work through. Why should I add to this?
The answer is pretty simple. I want to be a better friend, a better sibling, a better mom, and a better wife. Asking people about themselves validates their feelings and allows you to connect with someone beyond the superficial level of common interests. Growth is uncomfortable. It stretches the boundaries of your comfort bubble, possibly even popping it. Is that really that bad? Sure, it’s scary at first. But how much cooler could the world be if we looked through the eyes of a toddler without fear and just asked the question?
Are you like me and avoid asking questions? Why do you think that is? What could you learn by asking more questions?
What are some questions you’d like to ask me? Let me know in the comments or DM me @joyandotherthingsblog on Instagram!