How we ask questions makes a big difference. Asking “Are you stupid?” is a good example. No one responds well to such a “question” and nothing good comes of it. “Why did you do that?” is better, especially if you avoid the “are you stupid” tone of voice. But it’s still confrontational.
Questions That Aren’t Questions
Of course “Are you stupid” isn’t really a question – it’s an expression of frustration or anger. It’s not questioning the other person’s intelligence, it’s saying you think they are stupid. Maybe we think it’s less rude because we don’t actually say “you’re stupid” but the end result is the same. Overall I see this more from women, but I see is from passive/aggressive men too.
Regardless of who does it, it’s not a good plan. It does nothing to aid communication, and it certainly does nothing to build the relationship.
What do You Want to Know?
Questions should be used to gain information. When this is the goal, the crafting of the question is important.
- What do you really want to know?
- Do you want to understand on a deep level, or are you looking for some surface proof your husband has not lost his last marble? (Both may be valid, but which are you asking?)
- Are you looking to learn, or to start an argument?
- Have you asked this before? Have you asked it many times? Don’t expect a new answer to an old question. If you want a different/better answer, ask a different/better question.
Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?
Avoid trap questions. Also, avoid leading questions. An open-ended question is the best option unless something really is a yes or no issue. Multiple choice is okay as long as you make it clear “none of the above” is acceptable.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’ve said some rude things to my wife in the form of “questions”.