If You Ask Me

Sunday morning at church, just as I was preparing to take my seat, I was asked by an older woman, “What do you do? Do you work?”

I glanced quickly around me, then back at her.  “Yes.  Yes, I work,” I replied.

“Where?” She asked.

“I work online,” I replied with a smile.

“For a company?” she inquired.

“Um, yes,” I answered.

“For a company here?” she asked.

Uh, no. The company isn’t here,” I replied.

“What do you do? she asked.

Glancing around again, I spoke low and clear. “I reply to inquiries and do other things.”

“Oh,” she said, then asked, “What’s the name of the company and what do they do?”

As I took a deep breath and prepared to jump into the answer, the Praise Band announced the beginning of the service with loud music.

I smiled at her, shrugged my shoulders and took my seat.

As I sat there, I watched as she took her seat and wondered what her reaction would have been to what I was prepared to tell her (and the mixed group sitting within earshot that would have easily overheard).

I breathed a sigh of relief.  Was I prepared to share with her what I do? Sure, I had no problem with her knowing.

The problem I did have was two fold.

  1. How would she react when I shared that information with her – in public.  Would she be offended? Shocked? Embarrassed?  I had no desire to cause her any distress, but she was the one asking the questions and I was eager to share if she truly was interested in me and in what I do.
  2. How would the mixed group within earshot feel about hearing our Q&A session and my answer?

Would I be embarrassed?   No.  Would she?  Probably.

And, yes, I know, she was asking the questions and should have been prepared for whatever answer I gave her.

We ask questions of others, often personal questions, and when the answer is one that we find offensive, embarrassing, or disagreeable we are often quick in our response.

Being on the receiving end of a personal Q&A session can be unnerving. Entrusting who you are to another is difficult when you fear the answer you provide will provoke a less than positive reaction.

If you ask me…and I tell you…please don’t….

  • If you ask me what I do for a living, and I tell you, please don’t be shocked.
  • If you ask me what I did last night, and I tell you, please don’t get angry.
  • If you ask me my sexual preference, and I tell you, please don’t condemn me.
  • If you ask me if I’m married, and I tell you, please don’t label me.
  • If you ask me if I’m homeless, and I tell you, please don’t judge me.
  • If you ask me if I’m handicapped, and I tell you, please don’t harass me.
  • If you ask me if I’m in need, and I tell you, please don’t gossip about me.
  • If you ask me if I’m weak, and I tell you, please don’t bully me.
  • If you ask me if I need help, and I tell you, please don’t ridicule me.
  • If you ask me if I’m pregnant, and I tell you, please don’t reject me.
  • If you ask me how I am, and I tell you, please don’t complain about me.
  • If you ask me_________, and I tell you, please don’t ________ me. ( You fill in the blanks.)

If you can’t accept the answer, please don’t ask the question.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s