Social Question

Silhouette's avatar

"Have you ever avoided answering a question in conversation? If so why?"?

Asked by Silhouette (8845points) December 19th, 2009
15 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

When you are having a conversation with a stranger and they don’t answer a question you’ve asked do you assume they didn’t understand the question and offer further explanation or do you assume they have no answer or prefer not to answer your question?

Do you repeat the question or do you move on with the conversation? Can you give me an example of how you handle this situation?

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lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’ll repeat it until they give me the answer that I want ;)

laureth's avatar

This drives me nucking futz!

I’ll often repeat the question (perhaps phrased slightly differently) or just outright ask if they are going to answer the question. I might even throw in a clause to the effect of, “If you don’t want to answer, that’s OK too, but let me know so I’m not waiting forever for the answer.”

My husband does this all the time. I’ve learned that it’s because he thinks he already answered the question with the information he gave, but it doesn’t always lead me to the answer like he thinks. If I let him know that I didn’t perceive his spiel as an answer to my question, sometimes he tries again, which helps.

azlotto's avatar

My mom told me not to talk to strangers. :)

SABOTEUR's avatar

If it were a stranger, I’d take the lack of response as an indication the conversation had ended.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

They probably aren’t following the question anymore

NUNYA's avatar

I’d probably just leave the conversation. I’d take it as a lack of interest.

Pandora's avatar

I know sometimes I won’t answer a question if I already felt I made myself clear but the other person is being stubborn or is dumb as rocks.
I also won’t answer if I feel its just a waste of time on something trivial.
I won’t answer if I feel I have to consider your question a little longer.
I won’t answer if I already went off to bed.
I won’t answer if the thread has already bored me and I went on to the next thing.
I won’t answer if I’m too tired and my mind is getting loopy.
I won’t answer if the question sounds like its being asked by a nut case.
I won’t answer if something interesting has caught my attention and I forgot about the question.
I won’t answer if I’ve been asked the same question over and over.
And last but not least, sometimes I just don’t feel like answering because I’m just not interested.

Xann009's avatar

I usually assume that it’s something they don’t really want to answer, for whatever reason. If I don’t really want the answer, I’ll leave them to their privacy.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I don’t worry about this too much with strangers. As the AB folks know, I tend to lay it out there in this format with relative strangers. But not so much with “relative relatives”.

I recall a conversation on a rainy summer weekend afternoon at the lake with my uncle’s family over to visit. My sisters and cousins were somewhere else, and I was in the living room with my parents, uncle and aunt… mostly bored, and planning to excuse myself to do something… anything… else. I was on summer break between my freshman and sophomore years of college.

The conversation somehow got onto young people smoking, and my aunt (an adorable woman who also adored me), turned to me and asked (because she knew), “Well, you don’t smoke, do you?” ... and I dodged the question and tried to change the subject. Because the truth was that I didn’t “smoke” smoke… but I did have a secret that I wasn’t quite ready to “out” yet.

But she persisted, and this time all of the adults looked at me, like, “Yeah, why not just answer this innocent question?” So I did: “Well, I don’t smoke… cigarettes…”

You could have heard a pin drop. Next door.

syz's avatar

Interesting punctuation.

syz (35695points)“Great Answer” (0points)
CaptainHarley's avatar

Of course I have. Usually it’s because I prefer to not share that particular information with that particular person, yet I don’t want to offend them by simply saying that, “It’s none of your business.” Usually I will ask, “Now why on earth would you want to know something like THAT?” : )

Supacase's avatar

Sure, but I don’t just pretend like I didn’t hear it or let us sit in an awkward silence because I think that is rude. I usually say “I prefer not to talk about that” and allow the conversation to continue its normal course.

Silhouette's avatar

@syz God, I didn’t even notice. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll edit my very long run on sentence.

Merriment's avatar

In conversations where I am asking them a question I don’t assume anything by their non-answer.

Instead I take a body language reading. If they look anywhere but at me, I assume they are “taking the fifth”. If it is a vital situation and taking the fifth isn’t acceptable to me, I give them a little body language of my own and pin them down, non verbally, until they answer or walk away.

In a conversation where I am being asked for something I feel is inappropriate I may say “Why do you ask?” That usually gets them to withdrawl their question and my job is done.

partyparty's avatar

Could it be that they are deaf?
Only a thought!!

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