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Why We Ask Questions

I’ve come to realize that there are multiple reasons for why we ask questions. The obvious answer is that we’re curious and we really want to know the answer. Another reason could be that we’re trying to make small talk to fill the time and we’re only slightly curious. But I think, by far, most people ask questions (especially the small talk ones) just so the person we’re talking to will ask the same questions back…we ask questions because we want to talk about ourselves.

I admit it – I’ve done this. Especially recently when I take  only one kid out to a class or something. I end up sitting next to another mom who is waiting for her kid and we inevitably start the small talk – chatting about the kid in the class. And then I ask “So, is she your only child..?” And I know I’m asking because I don’t feel like I’m ME if the mom I’m talking to doesn’t know that I’m a mom of twins. Strange, I know! When I’m in “mom mode” I identify most with being a twin mommy – even if I happen to be out with Logan. Perhaps I just like showing off my ‘war wounds’ … who knows.

I also admit that I’ve sometimes been terrible about asking that small talk question BACK. I mean, I don’t do it on purpose…we’ll be chatting along and the other mom will ask one of those “please ask me this back” type of questions and I’ll answer – but that’ll trigger some other conversation. And then I’ll head home and go over our conversations in my head again and think, “CRAP!! I totally should have asked her <this>…I’m such a terrible person!!” But it’s not because I don’t want to know…or even because I spent all of the time talking about myself (I do try to do the whole give and take thing…at least, I really hope I do!!), it’s just that I tend to get distracted or perhaps I pause just a second too long. Seriously. A conversation could go something like this:

Other mom: Where do your kids go to school?
Me: Burke and Maggie are in Kindergarten at <their school> and Logan is in preschool at <his school>.
Other mom: Oh! I’ve been there for <girl scouts or something…>
Me: Are you a leader?

…and see… that shiny thing distracted me so I TOTALLY forgot to ask about her kid’s school!!

So…the next time you see me and ask one of those questions, and I don’t ask it back…feel free to barrel over me and answer it yourself anyway – I really do want to know 🙂

One Response

  1. I’m the same way. I don’t always strike up a conversation first, but I definitely forget to ask reply questions!

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