I ask my bride a question recently, and she gave me an answer – but she did not answer the question I asked, she answered the question she thought I asked. I’m not blaming her for the confusion – miss-communication happens and it’s really no one’s fault.
Thing is, I did not follow up well. I asked the question again, just barely modified. She started to give the same answer, and I cut her off (my bad). I then rephrased the question more, but by then we were both a bit frustrated and defensive. Not that I yelled at her to listen to the question, or she yelled at me to let her finish the answer, we were decent to each other, but it is frustrating when this happens.
Having though about it, I have what I hope is a brilliant idea. The next time this happens, my intention is to say “New question” and then ask my question in a significantly different way. Ideally, I will have listened to her answer to the question I did not ask, and will have figured out what she heard so my “new question” can avoid what she thought I was asking.
Is this dishonest, since I am asking her the same question and only asking it differently? From my perspective, that is the case, but from her perspective it is a new question. By telling her it’s a new question, she will know I am not asking what she thought I was. By moving on, rather than getting frustrated that she did not understand me, I make a way for us to more easily accomplish question and answer.