I am noticing a trend among people today. And not a good one.
Of course I am alarmed by so many things taking place across the globe and, in the ultimate scheme of things, this concern barely registers…but it is annoying as f*ck.
People can’t seem to answer a God damn question.
For example, these two exchanges have taken place just this week.
I like belt buckles and so I need to find belts that have the ability for me to interchange belt buckles. The ultra trendy Rudy’s Barber Shop recently opened up in my neighborhood awhile ago and as of two weeks ago, they had a bunch of loose belts. The kind I could use to interchange my belt buckles so I walked in the other day to procure a belt and had the following exchange:
ME: Do you have belts that would allow me to interchange belt buckles? I know you had them a few weeks ago.
FEMALE CLERK: Yea, corporate came by last week and removed them.
ME: So, no, you don’t have them?
FEMALE CLERK: Well, yea, I guess they weren’t selling so they took them out.
ME: OK, do you know if you will be getting them back?
FEMALE CLERK: Have you tried that store next to that Jane Coffee Shop place?
ME: Thank you.
I literally wanted to shake her seven ways from Sunday, but decided it best to just leave.
Now, one might argue that she DID answer it…and she did…kinda. But why not simply answer the question this way “No, we don’t carry them anymore, corporate came by last week and removed them.”
Why say in ten words what you can say in five?
One day later, I was on site and had the following exchange with an employee of a company that uses the software of the company I work for:
ME: How familiar are you with (inane activity that is universal to my business)?
EMPLOYEE: I have done that for the past year (on another platform).
ME: OK, so would you say you are a beginner, intermediate or expert on the process?
ME: Well, I don’t want to teach the more abstract part of the function if everyone already has an understanding of that. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
EMPLOYEE: Well, I did it for a year.
ME: Yes, you had mentioned that. I’ll just presume you have an intermediate understanding.
Here again, she kind of DID answer it but why not say “Yea, I understand the concepts, I have been doing it fo about a year. I’d say I have a good understanding.”
Now speaking honestly and concisely, more often than not, works wonders for all communication. I firmly believe that if someone asks you a question you should first answer the question and then, if needed, provide an explanation.
Of course, answering questions in that manner can backfire.
I once got into a lengthy relationship “discussion” over this exchange:
GF: “Do you wanna go to The Container Store with me?”
ME: “Because I don’t wanna go to The Container Store.”
GF: “So you don’t want to spend time with me?”
GF: “Well, if you wanted to spend time with me, we could do that.”
ME: “I hardly consider going to the fucking Container Store as spending ‘quality time’ with one another.” (NOTE: I think using the word fucking makes a conversation spoil quickly…my bad).
GF: “Well, we’d be spending time together.”
ME: “Yea, but why would I ever want to go to The Container Store?”
GF: “To spend time with me.”
ME: “Are you aware of how absolutely ridiculous this discussion is?”
This literally led to into a three-hour argument and a laundry list of failures in the relationship and my insensitivity.
I suppose sometimes answering the question promptly isn’t always beneficial.
Nonetheless, I think we need to make a concerted effort to answer questions as they are asked. If you find someone NOT answering your question, press them to answer it.
Please, if you get asked a question, just answer it.