In an interesting conversation today, someone shared their story of a conversation where they were asked the same question twice. They answered the question in similar fashion both times thinking that they were clear in their response.
Afterwards, they were a bit confused as to why someone would ask them the same question twice. Didn’t they hear their response? What could they not have understood the person wondered.
The challenge of conversation is that it is fast. Much like a tennis match where topics ebb and flow throughout. Many times, requiring an adjustment on our part to match the question asked.
When someone asks a question, they are looking to learn, better understand or to acquire perspective. Questions are a great way to move the focus away from yourself towards the other person. It is an active form of listening. Caring who the other person is by showing interest is basic to our need for human connection.
A question asked twice should signal the need for us to adjust our answer by providing greater depth and context to what we already shared. (Of course, only when it would be helpful.) When we don’t, the person asking the questions can only guess as to the answer we did not share, leading them to stories about you that may not be true.
Developing the confidence to be honest and fair in the answers you give is a skill that takes time. For we struggle to want to show the best of who we are while hiding the messiness of life that we all endure at times. Sometimes of our own doing and sometimes because of a situation we find ourselves in.
In either case, when the sun sets you can be certain it will rise again in the morning. Giving us the hope that beginning tomorrow, if a question is asked again, we will be better prepared to answer it in a different way so that it provides greater clarity bringing more depth to the next inquisitive conversation we encounter.