One of my biggest pet peeves relates to being asked how I feel about something. I fail to see how one’s emotional reaction to things has anything to do with much of anything, especially topics introduced by questions like those having to do with one’s artistic sensibilities.
After all, what has my emotional state got to do with an impending choice between cream or gravy colored paint for the living room walls? Would I find myself less depressed if I walked into a room that stimulates thoughts of vanilla ice cream or Ovaltine?
The thing that really bothers me about such questions is that all too often the interrogator comes off like a Diane Sawyer wanna be, a woman whose sole claim to fame seems to lie in her ability to introduce every story and interview as a sincere and intense emotional experience.
If you really think about it, you’ll discover that the question itself raises questions about the interrogator’s motivations depending on what word, if any, gets emphasis. First, what motivation might we assign the individual who emphasizes the word “do” apart from a bad case of premature assumption. What motivation might one assign the individual who puts an emphasis on the word “feel”?
The question also takes on entirely different meanings depending upon the emphasis the interrogator places on “do” or “you”. When the emphasis is placed on “do” the inquisitor may be assuming that you really do have an emotional reaction you need to get out of your system. If the emphasis is placed on “you”, then the individual is asking you if you share their own emotional reaction. If the question is asked without emphasizing either, the question comes off as less intrusive but no less annoying.
Regardless of emphasis or a lack thereof, I think I’ve found a way to set the amateur interrogator back on his/her heels. The next time someone asks me how I feel about something I’ll just turn the tables and confront him/her with a quick and never ending barrage of the questions making sure he/she is not given ample time to answer them. Here’s a sampling.
- Are they still serving that soup like cheese covering on the macaroni back at the asylum?
- Is Bob still there?
- Do I look like I need to get in touch with my feelings?
- If I don’t look like I need therapy, what did I do to make you think I was in need of therapy?
- Do you think everyone thinks I’m a basket case?
- What would you prescribe?
- How long will this course of treatment last?
- Are your services covered by Medicare?
- I have an aversion to pain. Do you think I’ll eventually need shock treatments?
- Is there a cure? If so, when do you think I’ll get better?
- Would it be just as easy for me to take a pill?
- How soon do you think I’ll be able to return to work?
- How long have you been conducting these sessions?
- Are you a member of the AMA?
- Do you really care how I feel about anything?
- What are your real intentions?
- Are you looking for a fight?
- Is this Candid Camera? Am I being punked?
- Is this response being recorded? If so, who is going to have access to it?
- We’re getting a little personal aren’t we?
- What betrayed me? A facial expression?
- Do you want the short or long answer?
- Why aren’t you taking notes? Do you have a photographic memory?
I’ll only have one question remaining when they turn to leave and I’ll put great emphasis on “you.“
“Where are YOU going?”