The issue is this. Sometimes life can be humming along–going well, badly, or somewhere in between, but at least moving in a predictable rhythm–and out of the blue, someone will ask a question that changes everything. Yes, the question itself changes things, the answer notwithstanding.
Simply by posing the question, I am thrust into a situation where I am expected to respond. Sometimes I’m even obligated, even if it is merely the result of social convention. Most of the time, even no answer is an answer itself; it says something about me.
So now I’m in a spot were someone has asked me a difficult question. I have to decide whether and how to answer, but no matter how I handle it, my behavior will send a signal all its own. I can ignore the request, decline to provide an answer, or tackle it head on. My actions matter just as much as my words.
I still don’t know how to handle my difficult situation, but I do know that I can’t take it lightly. I’m also reminded that when I am on the asking side, I need to be extremely judicious about the questions I pose. The receiving side of questions like these feels pretty uncomfortable, so if I’m doing the asking, I’d better have a darned good reason.
I know the person who asked me did.