Sunday, February 27, 2011

Telling vs. Asking

There are people who love to tell others what to do. Nothing is up for collaboration or discussion - the way they tell it is simply the way it is. Their opposite, the askers, are always asking what they should do. They want to know what is their best move and won't take any initiative to try something before they have permission.

Asking = passive, insecure
Telling = dominant, confident

It's not black and white, and certainly not a positive/negative dichotomy - and I know I don't fall fully into either category. For some things I am more of an asker, and other times I am more of a teller.

Sometimes I ask but don't wait to hear the answer, which I mentioned in a previous post. This usually does not result in success.

Sometimes I tell but won't consider other options, which might be due to my stubborn astrological sign (Aries). This also does not result in success.

When I need to ask a question, that's because I usually need to know the answer. But sometimes I ask questions that don't need to be asked. I could infer the answer from knowledge I already have, or I can easily gain that knowledge on my own. So why do I ask? And what happens when I ask so many questions that I can no longer tell which ones really need to be answered?

There's something about asking questions that I enjoy. I like to connect to people, with a mission of expanding knowledge - but I'm questioning whether or not asking too many questions and not giving equivalent answers is selfish. Like I mentioned in my other post, I'm not really retaining information if I'm asking too many questions, and if I'm asking endless questions that don't need to be asked, I'm also not aware of whether or not the questioned person is getting anything beneficial from our dialogue. Give and take should be equal.

And there's also the danger of relieving yourself of responsibility by asking so many questions of others. If it is everyone else's responsibility to provide you with the answer, you don't have to worry about taking action. I certainly don't like falling into that trap.

There's a point where the student needs to become the teacher. I was so well trained to be a student and it seems I'm having a hard time letting go of that. I need to be both a student and a teacher in my life.

So the real question that I keep asking and need to start answering - what do I have to teach?


Somewhat unrelated passive-aggressive notes that I found while looking for relevant passive and aggressive images to add into this post, that amused me too much to not include:

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