My hubby and I were wrapping up dinner, clearing off the dishes and loading the dishwasher. He’s rinsing away, minding his own business when I look up at him, baking dish in hand and ask “Ya think we should put this in the dishwasher?”
“Nah, I’ll hand wash it,” he says.
I pause, look down at the dishwasher and say “But if we put it in it will use up the rest of the space, and then we can start the washer.”
“OK, whatever,” He mutters, probably annoyed and undoubtedly thinking to himself “Why the heck did you ask me if you already knew what you wanted to do?” and keeps rinsing.
He stops and says…”You weren’t really asking for my thoughts. You wanted me to agree with you, didn’t you? “
Oh really? I thought.
I geared up for the classic “why you are wrong and I’m right debate” getting ready to tell him “You knew what I meant, and anyone could see that clearly, the dish should go in the washer.”
I was just about to open my mouth when I remembered my New Year’s Resolution about failing to speak my mind (read about it here).
So I stopped for a second and thought about what he said.
I don’t like being wrong. But, he was right.
How many times has something like this happened to you?
You ask someone ” what do you think” or add the phrase, “Ya think” to the end of your question when what that’s not really what you want to know or hear.
What you’re really looking for is validation or to talk through your idea out loud.
It’s oh so easy to say and causes all kinds of trouble. Especially when we’re talking about something that’s way more important than a spaghetti crusted baking dish. Like an idea for work or a life-changing family issue.
“Do ya think?” sounds casual, but is still a direct ask for someone else’s opinion. And when that person’s opinions don’t match what we were really looking for we frustrate ourselves and the other person.
Nobody wants that.
So what do you do if you find yourself asking “ya think?” when you don’t mean it?
Ask yourself what you want before you ask the question.
When you ask yourself “What do I really want/need right now?” you are able to phrase your question in a way that helps both you and the other person.
Here are two better ways to ask for what you want:
For validation ask;
“I’m thinking about doing xyz and would love your support.” Most people are genuinely interested in supporting you, phrasing the question this way helps let them know what you’re looking for.
To talk through your ideas ask;
“I need to get my ideas straight in my head. Are you in a good place to listen?”This prompts the other person that you need them to listen, not comment, and gives them an out if they aren’t able to.
Save “What do you think?” for when you are genuinely interested in the other person’s thinksand are open to hearing their thoughts and suggestions. Even if they don’t agree with yours.
Fortunately for me, I owned up to my wrong-ness and Clark had no strong objections to the dish going into the washer. We’re more aware of the “whaddya think” trap and we made it through evening chores unscathed!
I’m curious, have you ever caught yourself asking “What do you think?” When that wasn’t what you meant? Drop a comment below and tell me about it!
“Do you think I should talk to Nacy about her annoying habit?”
“What do you think I should do about my boss?”
“What do you think I should do about….”
“Do you think I look fat in this?” Oh boy, this is a trap question. No matter how you answer it you’re in trouble. “No, I don’t think you look fat in that!” (emphasis on that, meaning, you look fat in other things)