The Questions You Wish They Would Stop Asking by Heidi Loften

September 18, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

“Hey Hon. How was your day?’

“Who did you meet with today?”

“What did you and the kids do today?”

“How was school?”

These are typical questions exchanged in a typical family on any typical day.

But our thoughts when we are posed these questions are frequently less than receptive.  Cue cartoon thought bubbles…

“Basically the same as every other day this week.”

“I didn’t want to have the meetings in the first place.  Much less rehash them now that I am home.”

“We bought groceries and cleaned house and did laundry and picked up the same 47 toys 47 times.”

“It was school.”

The questions may be different. The answers may vary.  But the sentiments are the same.

Q:  “Talk to me.  Invite me into your world.  Share your information with me so that I can connect with you.”

A:  “The information is unimportant and recounting it to you is tedious.  What do I have to say to get you to stop asking me questions?”

The problem with the daily question ritual is that it frequently frustrates both the asker and the asked because it requires the recounting of unimportant facts and does not lead to the true connection desired by the asker.  Depending on your personality and relational dynamics, you may find yourself usually the question asker, usually the asked, or occasionally both.  I am frequently the asker, pumping my husband and kids for information to give me a window into their lives and a taste of the outside world that most stay at home moms are starved for.  However, I am also guilty of rolling my eyes and gritting my teeth before answering inquiries of, “What did you and Laylah (3) do today?” from my well-meaning husband or kids.

Whether you are asking the questions or avoiding them, taking a closer look at what is really happening in this daily ritual, might help us all trade the Q & A dance for interactions that truly invite connection.  There are some things that both parties “need to know” and corresponding “to do’s.”

1. What you need to know:  The heart behind the questions is connection.

Viewing the person drilling you with unwelcome questions as a person who wants to emotionally connect with you, rather than the equivalent of a buzzing mosquito will radically change the tenor of you interaction.

What you need to do:

Look for ways to connect with the question askers in your life.  Offer them your eyes (rather than a view of the back of your phone).  Recognize the love they feel for you and how much they value you.

2. What you need to know:  Information is power.

Yes, the details of what you did today are unimportant.  However, sharing those details with a loved one invites that person into your world and communicates that you value him/her and want to connect.

What you need to do:

Answer the questions.  Place their desire to connect above your desire to avoid tedious questions.  Value others above yourself.

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2: 3-4

3. What you need to know:  Asking someone to rehash their day rarely leads to true connection.

You ask, “How was your day?” but you want to know “How are you?”  Invite people to talk about things they want to share about.  Questions they want to answer lead to answers you want to hear.

What you need to do:

Ask different questions.  Rather than asking for a play by play of the day’s happenings, ask for their color commentary.  “How did you feel about your meeting?”  “What are you looking forward to tomorrow?”  “You seem happy.  Did something good happen today?”

Let’s push outside of the easy and mundane questions to draw our family members into real conversation.  Better questions will lead to better answers.  And the next time someone you love asks, “How was your day?” resist the urge to eye roll and take a moment to be thankful you have someone who asks!


2 Responses to “The Questions You Wish They Would Stop Asking by Heidi Loften”
  1. Carolyn Loften says:

    Excellent article. No matter what age we can all use a little reminder of our actions.

  2. Angela says:

    I love this blog! I miss all of you at fellowship Cabot. I’m glad I still can stay connected via blog and podcast

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!