The man with no questions

The husband of a close friend never asks anything about my life. No matter when I have contact with him—on the street, at a dinner, if he answers the phone—he neglects to ask things like: ‘How are your kids? How’s your business? How’s your new grandson?’ As a matter of fact, he never even congratulated me when he heard my grandson was born. I guess he leaves that up to my friend, his wife.

It’s not as if this man discriminates against me. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t ask anyone questions that show he has even a passing concern about them or their families. I’m not asking him to fall all over me and act obsequiously. But I think it would be nice if he faked a tiny bit of interest.

I, on the other hand, ask people questions about themselves and their lives all the time. It’s in my journalistic blood. Besides, knowing about people makes them more interesting to me. It’s fine to talk about current events, new movies and restaurants, but going behind the scenes of a person’s life makes her more alive, gives her more dimension.

If others don’t want to answer my questions, they can tell me to shut up. They rarely do. As a matter of fact, people often tell me they never reveal so much to others as they reveal to me. I think it’s because I make them feel comfortable when I talk to them. Showing people you care about what they’re doing also makes them feel good. Doesn’t it give us all a little pleasure when we can share positive things about our families, our accomplishments and ourselves?

I have observed, however, that men are more likely to avoid asking personal questions because a.) They’re generally not psychological beings b.) What they’re doing and feeling generally takes priority over what you’re doing and c.) They tend to be wrapped up in their own little worlds. But I always prefer the ones who do.

3 Responses to “The man with no questions”

  1. Marjorie says:

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  2. Kate Line Snider says:

    My husband is like this guy. Jay is a nice polite man, just very shy and often embarrassingly inept in certain social situations. People who love him love him anyway, and he has some friends.At least he’s genuine.

    On the other hand, I always ask people about themselves. I love Jay and I don’t worry about what he does or doesn’t ask- it’s not my problem!

    Why worry about how other people behave? After all, rude disinterest isn’t immoral or illegal, just odd.

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  3. Kathi Elster says:

    I have always been bothered by people that do not inquire about others. But, my husband is even more offended. I see this quality in women as well as men, but more frequently its men that simply don’t seem the least bit interested in what others are up to. When my husband and I go to a dinner party or out to dinner with others he always addresses with me (after we leave) the person who did not ask him how he is doing. My husbands reaction is – I do not need to speed time with that person again. He feels it’s a slight and a self centeredness that he wants nothing to do with. For me, I just ask that person questions about themselves and then insert things about myself, if they are not interested in me then I see them as boring and losing out in getting to know (me) a very interesting person.

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