Author Topic: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one  (Read 5907 times)

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Winterlight

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2013, 06:09:00 PM »
Ask a more detailed question.  If he said, "I wasn't very hungry." then ask, "Will you eat it tomorrow for lunch then or would you rather me pack you something else?" 
It just sounds like he is trying to be nice, and that's a nice quality.  Just be a bit more detailed in asking to get the "right" answer.  I highly doubt he is gaslighting you though, might want to look that up.

Agreed. It sounds like he didn't want to criticize your lunch, which is kind of him.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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Thuringwethyl

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2013, 10:01:01 PM »
I wouldn't say he's so much lying, as that he/you both have communication issues. Of two true reasons (in this case), he's giving you the one that's least helpful to you in planning your future actions--that's how you see it. I suspect (as StarFaerie suggests) that to him, he's giving you the one that he thinks will spare your feelings, or is less confrontational, in the short term.

I see something I think is similar a lot with some friends and family. I could imagine my friend Amy and her husband Adam having this exact exchange about the peppers. Amy would get really exasperated at Adam, and instead of learning how she would prefer he act, he just learns that this is a really touchy subject that he should continue avoiding in the future. Plus, accusing someone of lying often causes a conversation to spiral downhill pretty fast, rather than being productive.

I could even imagine Amy saying, "WHY didn't you tell me you didn't like bell peppers before I bought that whole bag of them last week?!"

And Adam would probably be like (if he answered honestly), "You didn't ASK me if I liked bell peppers. You just ASSUMED I would eat them. And sometimes, even when you ask and I say I don't want something, you insist I try it anyway, or that it's good for me, so why should I bother giving my real opinion?"

StareDecisis, I'm not saying that's what's going on in your case, because obviously I don't know. :) But, IME, with things like this it's often that the two people are coming at the situation from two totally different angles. So, like StarFaerie suggests, maybe at a later time ask him calmly what he was thinking, without any preconceived ideas, and see if anything interesting turns up.

Oh, sorry - I didn't actually call him a liar in the heat of the moment; I said something along the lines of "Why didn't you just tell me that yesterday?", and he inferred that I was calling him a liar (which I was sort of thinking, but didn't actually say). I think that particular example drove me batty because he was the one who bought the peppers, lol!  I will try to have a discussion at a time when there hasn't been a recent issue.  It is comforting to know that you know others with similar issues (and you hit "communication issues" dead on, by the way - we have worked on general communication quite a bit, which may contribute to my irritation with exchanges like this).

Wait- HE bought the peppers? When he doesn't like them? I understand why you're confused.  ;D

WillyNilly

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2013, 10:32:45 PM »
Well I buy peppers every week, and I grow them.  I like them cooked in various dishes (eggs, chili, rice dishes, tomato sauce dishes, etc) and raw in salads (green salad, mayo-based salads, bean salads, etc), and sauteed with onions on sandwiches hot or cold.  But I don't like them raw, as a crudite, for dip.  Even though I do like celery or carrot or broccoli and other vegetables like that.

artk2002

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2013, 10:50:41 PM »
We went through this with my youngest. He would make up plausible (but untruthful) reasons for not eating food, because he didn't want to upset Mrs.k2002. We explained to him, several times, that it made her more upset to make food over and over again that he didn't like.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

cheyne

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2013, 04:46:54 PM »
IMO this is a rel@tionship issue.  Anyone who can tell their spouse "Your bum looks big in that skirt" and "your hair is frizzy, fix it before we go out" can certainly say, "I don't like peppers."

If the OP thinks that it is an etiquette issue, Toots and WillyNilly and Zilla have good suggestions on phrasing etc...


Virg

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2013, 08:10:46 AM »
I agree with WillyNilly's idea but I disagree with the approach, because it sounds too much like a scold.  So I'll just give the advice I got from my grandfather, which is "ask the question you want to ask."  If you ask why he didn't eat the peppers he says, "I wasn't hungry" but the more explicit "Should I pack them again tomorrow or not?" will directly help you find out if you should try again or not.

Virg

Take2

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2013, 11:19:29 AM »
I have had this sort of issue. It does stem from etiquette, because the plain truth may seem impolite to the speaker. My DH has this issue, he will straight-up lie to me to keep from hurting my feelings or causing trouble.

One solution that has worked well for me is to explain that I am not angry, just trying to improve our relationship and communication for the next instance. Explain that I would personally prefer to know what he likes and doesn't like in his lunch, because I love him and I pack the lunches and I want him to be happy. I cannot read his mind, so I need his help to know these things. I have to remind my DH at least 5 times a week that I cannot read his mind, then he laughs and agrees and it's a work in progress, getting him to tell me these things.


msulinski

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2013, 07:42:25 PM »
I agree with WillyNilly's idea but I disagree with the approach, because it sounds too much like a scold.  So I'll just give the advice I got from my grandfather, which is "ask the question you want to ask."  If you ask why he didn't eat the peppers he says, "I wasn't hungry" but the more explicit "Should I pack them again tomorrow or not?" will directly help you find out if you should try again or not.

Virg

I'm not sure it would even ocurr to me to ask the follow-up question. I'm not interrogating someone on the witness stand, but asking my spouse a question that I would hope I get a complete answer to.

Zilla

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2013, 09:19:55 AM »
I agree with WillyNilly's idea but I disagree with the approach, because it sounds too much like a scold.  So I'll just give the advice I got from my grandfather, which is "ask the question you want to ask."  If you ask why he didn't eat the peppers he says, "I wasn't hungry" but the more explicit "Should I pack them again tomorrow or not?" will directly help you find out if you should try again or not.

Virg

I'm not sure it would even ocurr to me to ask the follow-up question. I'm not interrogating someone on the witness stand, but asking my spouse a question that I would hope I get a complete answer to.
But people are wired differently.  It isn't interrogating someone, it's giving a more detailed question to ensure you get a complete answer.  The same way you are hoping for a complete answer is the same way they are thinking, "What more does she want from me?".  In other words, they think they are giving you the complete answer and not realize you are wanting to know more than what they gave.

BeagleMommy

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2013, 10:31:54 AM »
My DH is similar to this.  I found that in his very technical way of thinking that stuff like this just doesn't register as important.  Therefore, if I ask him if he didn't like his lunch, he'll say the first thing that pops into his head.

However, if I follow with "do you want them tomorrow?" he'll take a moment and let me know that he didn't like them.

Bethalize

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2013, 11:22:01 AM »
I'd consider this behaviour a lie of omission. You're not giving up all the information that the person needs, even if they didn't specifically ask for it.


WillyNilly

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2013, 11:58:17 AM »
I agree with WillyNilly's idea but I disagree with the approach, because it sounds too much like a scold.  So I'll just give the advice I got from my grandfather, which is "ask the question you want to ask."  If you ask why he didn't eat the peppers he says, "I wasn't hungry" but the more explicit "Should I pack them again tomorrow or not?" will directly help you find out if you should try again or not.

Virg

Except in the OP she did ask exactly the question she wanted an answer to and her DH answered a wholly different question that he wasn't asked.
She didn't ask "why didn't you eat the peppers?" she asked if he didn't like them.  Being hungry or not hungry has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of whether he likes them or not. She asked the direct question.  If she's going to follow up with a question to get the answer she wants, she should just repeat her original question.  Because honestly, asking "should I pack them again tomorrow or not?" doesn't really garner her any long term useful info - maybe no he doesn't want them tomorrow either... but what about next week when she sees peppers in the fridge and is packing lunch?  Or next month? 

Virg

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »
WillyNilly wrote:

"Except in the OP she did ask exactly the question she wanted an answer to and her DH answered a wholly different question that he wasn't asked.
She didn't ask "why didn't you eat the peppers?" she asked if he didn't like them.  Being hungry or not hungry has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of whether he likes them or not. She asked the direct question.  If she's going to follow up with a question to get the answer she wants, she should just repeat her original question."

I agree that he dodged the question, but that's what guides my thinking and why I think that telling him to listen better would be counterproductive.  He dodged it for one of two reasons that I can see.  Either he's just thinking differently than she was, in which case telling him to listen better is a scold, or he did it on purpose (likely to spare her feelings I'd guess), in which case he was already listening so it's pointless to tell him to listen.  Just repeating the question is likely to garner the same answer again (the reason why he dodged it the first time didn't likely change in those few moments) and the real piece of information she wanted was whether she should pack the peppers for the next day or not, so asking that question deals with the first possibility by rephrasing and deals with the second by putting it on him to decide whether he considers the dodge worth getting a lunch he doesn't like.

Again, I agree that she shouldn't have to reconfigure questions like this, but it's enough of a problem that she came here to ask for help so I suggested something that's likely to make such exchanges more productive in general.

Virg

Danika

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2013, 06:19:15 AM »
I've found a lot of the responses very insightful. This is just an isolated incident in your marriage so I obviously can't guess if the thoughts that occurred to me apply here or not.

I remember when my DH was younger, we had some exchanges like this where he seemed to be evasive about things that really weren't worth lying about. Eventually, I learned that there were some sore-spot subjects that he had to lie about as a child to keep his parents from freaking out, and so he continued to lie about them as an adult. If this pertains to your husband, then it could explain why he's able to be honest about clothing but not about food. When he was a child, likely, his parents didn't ask him if he approved of their appearances. But he likely was asked "Did you like the food I made? Are you eating your vegetables?" It might have been so ingrained that he had to purchase healthy foods (like peppers) and lie to avoid eating them that he might not even realize he's doing it. Only after I pointed out to my DH that he did that, in his case, it was lying about who he had plans with and what was on his calendar, did he realize that he was no longer a small child and was able to be honest with me. And I intensely dislike lying, more than even the average person dislikes dishonesty. Once I communicated to my DH that it'd be better to tell me the truth, no matter what the truth was, than to lie, and that there wouldn't be repercussions for being honest, but that there would be huge ones for lying, he stopped the little lies.

The other thing I thought of was what WillyNilly mentioned. My father is an example of someone (like WillyNilly's ex) who never answers the question that's asked of him. I don't know if that's why he became a lawyer. But he always assumes you want to know X, so even if you ask about Y, he tells you X. Like if you say "Did you put the milk back in the fridge?" He doesn't answer that. He says "I didn't drink any milk." So then it turns into a heated argument where you reply "Fine, but maybe you filled a bottle for the toddler, or gave some to the cat." Silence. And you have to repeat your question and get another roundabout answer that doesn't answer your question. Soon, he's defensive and telling you that he didn't spill any and that the counters are clean. Finally, you are yelling and you are saying "I just want to know if the gallon of milk is back in the fridge or if I have to get up and go to the kitchen and put it back before it spoils!" That, I have no solution for.

Lynn2000

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Re: When there are two reasons, but the speaker only states one
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2013, 12:52:02 PM »
Danika, you have some good examples of the ways that different people communicate, which I'm sure has frustrated many a couple in the history of the world! :) My dad and his family are really bad at communicating, too. They are great people but my dad especially seems to think that people close to him can read his mind, or will simply trust that whatever he's up to is important, for example. I have a lot of trouble traveling with my parents because my dad simply will not make plans clear beforehand.

Recently we had a tense exchange when my parents and I went on a weekend trip together. The entire time we were making plans and discussing the trip, both in person and through email, I thought we were going to do Activity A on Saturday, then Activity B on Sunday, then be home by early afternoon on Sunday. I especially wanted to do B (shopping for my hobby) so I put a lot of effort into planning it, including selecting places that would be open on Sunday. No other plans were at any point mentioned or hinted at, and I was careful, even over-careful, to check with my dad (the driver) that the stops I wanted to make were okay with him.

Well, the trip started and after about an hour in the car, I realized my dad planned to do Activity B (shopping) first, on Saturday, then proceed to Activity A (so my work of finding places open on Sunday was for nothing). Gradually I came to realize that Activity C had been planned for Saturday night, Activity D for Sunday morning, and then Activity E (involving meeting people for lunch) Sunday noon; so that instead of getting home in the early afternoon on Sunday, we would be lucky to leave our destination by then. All of these activities my dad knew about well in advance--my mom knew about them, too, but (foolishly) assumed my dad had told me about them.

This is so typical of traveling with my parents and it makes me really angry. It's definitely not that my dad just forgot to tell me (nor does he claim this). Whatever his motivation, it just feels very dismissive to me, like I'm still a child who can be carted around to whatever event without being consulted. I don't mean to derail the thread; it's just that I think some people have these weird blocks inside them that can be barriers to communication, and it can take some work to recognize and work with them. Being raised with my dad as an example, I often feel a weird compulsion to not tell people important things myself, and I'm trying to work on fixing that.
~Lynn2000