Please! Why are you asking same questions again and again?

Have you been annoyed by someone, who constantly asks numerous questions? It seems that the person is not contented with your answer or is trying get something from you when you get too pissed off. I know everyone of us have dealt with this type of people. How do we handle this type of people?

In my present work, I got the chance to talk to several types of people. Whether Europeans, Americans, Africans and Asians, I had the experience of talking to them. This because my primary task is to provide information about education, job preparation and employment to applicants or possible students. Most of the time I am able to communicate to them effectively. General rule, never assume and continue providing valuable information to them. In this way, whatever cultural differences we have, I gain the trust of another person and that I will no longer answer questions that are not worthy of time and attention. However, even though one does this, some people just do not stop asking seemingly stupid and redundant questions.

Based on my experience, I use one strategy, reciprocity. Reciprocity works in different types of people, perhaps it is universal.  What does that mean? This is related to actions and gestures mirroring what the other is also showing or conveying. If someone is trying to put a lot of stress on you through their words, do the same to them. Do not hesitate. Just do it for the other person to feel how he or she made you feel though words.

One time, I got a call from Africa. The woman was quite demanding and asking me to help her get work right away, even not meeting the job requirements. She talks with command that you can not even interrupt her. What I did is answer and give more information to her. That is usual thing I do. However, she became a little bit rude in her tone that it seems that she is demanding to do the things, in behalf of her, the way I advised her. I was starting to lose my temper, but still I remained calm.  She never stopped still and repeated the same question. I was calm still and kept in mind that people can be so annoying, especially when they really need something. Yet, she did not stop and is starting to speak in a louder voice. At that time, I felt I had enough. I still had a lot of things to do and I knew I will just be wasting my time with her. So I directly asked her, "Do you really want work?" She was silent for awhile and said yes. "Now, do you think you meet the job requirements?," I said. She said no. I replied, "So do you expect to work now here?" She said no. "Okay. I hope you now understand," I emphasized. She was too demanding, so a staight-forward answer is also needed. Since she stressed me, I was left with no option but to make her admit to herself that she simply does not qualify yet.

I felt sorry for what I did. I know I was just too direct and that was not simply my nature. I felt I was not polite, because after that the caller said she call again. However, it allowed me reflect why people do this. Here are reasons I found:

1. They just badly need a solution to their problems.

2. They just want to confirmation for they are naturally dubious in nature.

3. They simply can not comprehend. They may at times but short-lived.

In all these reasons, reciprocity works. If people need solutions, provide them with options. Be direct in your approach for people can be so frustrated that they want you to solve their problems. Ask them more direct questions, for them to realize whether the option fits them. Do not do the thinking for them. If your options seems not to suit their case, it is natural they will ask you to come up with extra-ordinary options for them. They will make you feel obligated to do so. The best approach to deal  with it is firmness and clarity. Just say, "Those are the options. If you feel no optuons suits for you, unfortunately there are no other ways I can share to you. It is up for you to decide." Be firm and consistent. Never try to make a compromise. They will think that you will start solving the problem for you and they will not stop asking questions, which makes the problem worse.

For the second reason, if people are dubious, providing them with more information will just aggravate the problem. They will doubt more. Confront their doubts, instead. If you are not doing any wrong, you should not be afraid of it. In case of Filipinos I talked to, this is their primary concern. What I do is directly aknowledging that they are in doubt. I simply say, "It seems you are in doubt. You can do several ways to check the authenticity of my words. If you are truly in doubt, thank you for your time. If you have clarified those doubts, come back and talk to me again." Somehow, it works. The other who is doubting will start explaining why he or she is in doubt. Be firm and be consistent and say come back and talk to me if you are no longer in doubt. Give them contact details to confirm things on his or her own. Do not try to convince him or her by providing more information to make him or her believe. Just stop and let the person do what he or she wants to do. Furthermore, know when to ignore entirely when the other continues to doubt. Anyway that person will continue to doubt no matter what. Not a loss for you but with the other.

Lastly, I can not believe people sometimes can be so slow in comprehension. This is the reason they keep on asking questions because they simply do not understand. Perhaps, the mental process takes time. I have observed this, even among professionals. I hate to believe there exists, but there are. The best way to deal with them is to provide them simple answers, then stop and take time. Simply ignore them after answering for them to take time to connect the question with the answer. Repeat if needed, but do not overdo it. It will just be useless. If they ask, just tell them to remember the last answer. If they do not stop, keep quiet to allow them to think that the problem is not you, but them. I hope I do not sound rude, but I am just practical.

Why should one endure the stress of answering non-ending repeated questions, when one can handle it properly through reciprocity. Act according to the reasons they asked these questions. The skill of distinguishing the right reason may take time but is very essential. Have patience and act prudently and reciprocally.




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