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Can You Repeat the Question?

I was getting cawfees with an out of town pal yesterday, when I bumped into a long lost cousin. One of those people you’ve known throughout your life and you know they’re kinda related but you don’t actually see them as cousins…That kind of cousin. Anyhoo, we started chatting and after covering the basics – how are you, where are you, what are you – we went our separate ways.

On no, wait. After a small prompt, he told me all that he was doing, ending the soliloquay with “single, no kids”. I said I was married, two kids. And then the conversation kinda stopped. In fact, it was less a convo than me asking the how’s, where’s and what’s. Is it just me? Answer, answer, answer…Doesn’t anybody ask anymore?

I started doing a bit of research. A teeny, tiny, bit. And it’s not just me at all. Apparently there are several factors to the non-question convo.

There’s the dud conversationalist. You all know ’em, you’ve all been ’em. For whatever reason, they – or you – have pas de interest. ’nuff said.

There’s the cover up. Either you really couldn’t give a rat’s ass (see above) or perhaps you’re kinda curious but cannot for the life of you remember who this person is or how you know them and so you refrain from asking. AFter all, you don’t want to bust yourself. In this case, one often overcompensates by rambling about oneself, convinced it’s a convo rather than a speech. Then one takes off. Fast. It happens. Or maybe one just wanted to boast. That happens too.

There’s the don’t-want-to-be-rude non-asker. You don’t want to pry. ‘Cuz you think it’s rude. Yep, there are folks out there who feel it’s rude to ask too many questions. They think they’re stepping over some imaginary line. Or they don’t want to potentially embarrass the unemployed. Actually, many underemployed cats I know would give their left arm to tell you about all the things they aren’t doing. Which is maybe why no one wants to ask. Fair enough to some extent, but you gotta ask something. Me, I think it’s rude not to. Show an interest, people. Or at least fake it. No one’s asking how much you’re earning or how much your bag costs (besides, if you have to ask…)

And then….there’s the mom thing. This is the worst. And, worryingly, it’s quite common. Once someone hears you’re a mom they kinda clam up. Have no interest in parenting? Who does unless it has to do with your own issues??!! Few are the ladies who will open up about their sleeping/feeding/toilet issues to someone who ain’t in the same boat (unless of course that’s the question being asked – then the floodgates have been opened. Open ’em at your own risk!) But come on – you can still ask about the rest of the life!

My friend yesterday is a mom. And a very successful book editor (the editrix, remember?!). And she lives abroad. And is totally glamorama. And she told me people often hear the mom part and clam right up. Another friend of mine is on the cusp of something huge – business-wise. She said people have only started asking her questions since she’s told them that yeah, she’s a mom, but also starting this business…Then they’re interested. Or maybe they want discounts. Whatever.

CONVERSATION = communication between two (or more) people. If you don’t want to chat, fine. Wave, smile, kiss, whatever… Move on. Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies. But ask me no questions and think I won’t notice? I will.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

questions or not – where have the good convos gone? I personally, when working at home for my kids, hate the ‘what are you doing question’ – my own issues. But why is it always about what you do? Where’s the cocktail conversation of days gone by? Why oh why do we reduce everything to how we earn our keep? You make some excellent points, but I think thinsg go even further. And that further is cash. If you ain’t making it, you ain’t interesting. Cynical I know, but tried tested and true! Now PLEASE write something about the stupid losers that are SuperNova!!!! That’s something I want people to ask me about!!!

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