Complaints Disguised at Questions

Here’s a fun list I’ve compiled: complaints disguised as questions.  These questions are not really questions, that is, requests for information. They are a non-direct way to make a point, make an accusation, or make a not-so-subtle dig.

“Why did you do that?”

“Are you going to change?”

“Are you trying to drive me crazy?”

“Will you ever close that door?”

“Were you planning on ever telling me that news?”

“Are you going to leave the fridge door open forever?”

“Is it impossible for you to focus on me just for once?”

“Do you have to drive so fast? “

“Do you think I’m made of money?”

“When were you planning on picking up your socks?”

“How am I supposed to get my work done with you making all that noise?”

Using questions to make a point is not recommended. They are provocative, non-direct, and—to use an old fashioned word—smarmy.

Just for fun catch yourself disguising your complaints as questions and reword them so you make a direct assertion.

Instead of, “Were you born in a barn?” say, “Please wipe up your mess.”

Instead of, “Do I have to do everything myself?” say, “I need some help, please.”

Instead of, “Do you enjoy bugging me?” say, “I feel angry right now.”

Instead of, “Aren’t you ready yet?!” say, “It’s time to leave or we’ll be late.”

Instead of, “Are you sure?” say, “I have an opinion on this that is different than yours.

You get the idea.

(Photo credit: Horia Varlan’s photostream)

Leave a comment


  1. robahas

     /  November 17, 2010

    Very interesting posts, Erik. I think that in a way I’m a theological mediator. I seem to often find myself between extremes, trying to explain to both sides that their perceptions or rhetoric is not really accurate. There’s a relationship here, isn’t there? Do you think the American character is especially given to either/or thinking? It’s something I’ve been wondering.

  2. Helping people see the grain of truth in other’s perceptions and the grain of error in their own is an art. IMO, the “either/or” thinking you mention is polarizing, premised on the myth of objectivity, and rarely amenable to compromise. Is this an American characteristic? Can’t say for sure but it is popular. Come to think of it, a famous Dane wrote a book entitled, Either/Or…Soren Kierkegaard….wherein he pits ethical living against hedonism.

    One of my mottos, “What’s your perception of your perception?”

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. robahas

     /  November 17, 2010

    According to Heidegger, Either/Or thinking “is” the curse of the 20th century. And he was German. So yeah.. maybe it’s not particularly American. But I’m still intrigued by the idea that it might be. Something to do with our two party system? Well, I’ve quoted an obscure philosopher (one of the few sentences in his books that actually makes sense). I can check that off my list and call it a day.


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