Thursday, 3 January 2013

Tell. Don't ask.

I have a neighbour who asks a lot of questions. It's her way of making conversation but it is really irritating. She 'catches' me almost daily and throws a flurry of questions my way. She's not really interested in the answer; just the asking of the question. These range from "Do you think it is going to rain?", which I now answer with, "What do you think?" to "What's that?" and "What are you doing?". I can't even begin to describe the barrage - it's a trait all her own.

But it makes me think back to so many times in the past year where I kept thinking, "Stop asking, please. Tell me something instead".

Asking really has become a way of conversation; a way to connect with people.

On one side it is meant to be polite conversation. You ask people how their day / race / holiday went. You ask them what they do for work. You ask about their family and children.

Questioning is also pure laziness. How many emails do you send asking people stuff that it would really take you only a few clicks to find out? If you had to write a letter (pen and paper), put it in an envelope, lick a stamp and post it to the person would you still ask them the question?

And then there's the 'obligation' side of things. You ask a question and the person is obliged to respond.

Me, I'm into telling. This blog is a case in point.

And I love to be told stuff too.

Yesterday I received a lovely newsy email from a dear friend in the US giving me an update on the happenings in his life. We haven't been in contact much this year so I hung on every word about his family, work and running.  And, guess what? There were no questions in his email.

He wasn't being impolite. The purpose of his email was to update me on his news. He knows that he'll get something equally newsy in response.

See, he gets the sharing of news. He knows that I'm interested in his life and activities and similarly he's interested in my activities. I don't need to include, "So, what are you up to these days?" or "How is work going?" or "How'd your daughter do at college this year?" or "Got any cool races coming up?". He feeds this stuff to me. Sharing is caring.

When I go walking with my mom I tell her stuff. I tell her about projects, people, plans and stuff coming up. She's not as good at spitting stuff out although some times I do get good stories from her. (As she reads my blog she may get more into telling after this post?)

While I've been known to quiz people out - especially where there's juicy news to be known and they're not being very forthcoming (a dash of coaxing required) - I'm actually not very big into asking because I figure that people will reveal what they want to, when they want to. It doesn't mean that I'm not interested.

Yes, I'm into telling. I most enjoy you to telling me what you're up to. Races, projects, plans, excitements, resolutions, goals. To tell just for the purpose of telling. No asking, not instruction. Just telling.

And please, no need to be polite by asking me questions in return ;)

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