I was having a conversation on body image with some of my students. After our conversation, I asked them to fill out a quick survey, to see what some of them thought. To be honest, the survey wasn’t very good, it came out of a book we were using. So some of the questions were obvious, or poorly constructed.
There was one question that some of my students (all male, curiously enough) had a problem with. Although not the best question, I felt there was something underneath their complaints. Here’s the question:
“Would you rather go to a school function with someone who looked great but was boring than with someone who wasn’t great looking but was a lot of fun?”
So I talked with the group about this idea. They had many problems with the question.
“There’s no way to honestly answer that.”
“There’s so many variables.”
“I’m not going to subject myself to that question.”
“Everyone knows what the right answer is.”
I had only one response. “Which means all of you do, in fact, feel this way.”
No defense anymore. Just silence.
You, dear reader, are a smart person, so you know you can fillerbuster your way out of answering a question. Here’s the thing. If we spend a lot of emotion on critiquing how someone asks something of us, it means we don’t like the question. And usually we don’t like the question because we don’t like the answer.
It would be different if you don’t like how a question is put to you, yet you still attempt to answer it. But please understand, if you decide not to answer, it says more about you than the question itself.
There are difficult questions out there, phrased the way we would not like them to be. Lets try to answer them anyway.