One of the most useful skills to hone is the art of communicating with people. Your approach to conversations can and should be altered depending on a person-by-person basis. In today’s article, I’m going to talk about how to ask someone a question without them getting mad.
You would think that it comes naturally to us since we are exposed to social gatherings and interconnecting from a very young age.
But, that’s not necessarily the case.
Something as simple as a question can trigger an outburst or problem that can easily escalate. To avoid making someone mad, you ought to consider the manner in which you phrase a question, your approach to asking a question, time and place as well as your demeanor.
Following the advice below, I have been able to ask many people tough questions without them getting mad.
Related post: When someone gets mad at you for something they did
Tips On Asking A Question Without Making A Person Upset
1. Don’t be confrontational
When asking questions to someone that pose the risk of upsetting them, it is imperative that you do so with the right demeanor.
Being too direct and forceful without building up to it through pleasantries may come across as too confrontational.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to approach someone in a calm manner instead of blindsiding them with a question.
Your approach and body language matter as much as the manner, tone and phrasing of your question.
Related post: How to know if a friend is mad at you
2. Be polite and non-threatening
If you launch into a question without building up to it, the only thing that the situation can be judged on is the content of the question.
Be smart about how you build up to a question that could be viewed as inflammatory.
If you are appearing with a smile on your face and your posture remains open and non-threatening, it can create a vibe that prevents a person from getting upset if you ask a particular question.
Perhaps, greet them warmly by shaking their hand, maintaining eye contact, smiling and being polite.
3. Phrase the question in a manner that isn’t insulting
When observing workplace and personal interactions, I can’t help but notice how easy it would be for certain arguments to be avoided if the choice of words were carefully selective.
Some people abandon all sensitivity and word or phrase questions without any consideration for how it may come across to the receiver.
That’s a surefire way to upset people throughout your life.
To avoid this, choose your words carefully.
If your question comes across as accusatory, it may be better suited to reword it to be more of an inquiry devoid of assumptions.
Sure, sometimes it can’t be helped but to ask upsetting questions.
In those instances, keep personal judgments out of the question.
This will minimize the effect it has on the other person.
Related post: How to ask someone if they have a problem with you
4. Ask one question at a time
People get overwhelmed when they are bombarded by questions because it comes across as a verbal attack.
It is a show of respect to wait until someone has given a reply or answer to a question before asking follow-up questions.
By not doing so, you are naturally going to make assumptions which is a sign of intellectual disrespect and ingenuity.
Sometimes, you can save yourself and others from an unnecessary inquisition or argument by simply waiting for them to respond completely before making assumptions or asking inflammatory questions in succession.
5. Ask a question from the perspective of curiosity rather than judgment
Far too often do we mask assumptions and judgments behind a question and this can be sensed a mile away.
Try your best to remove unnecessary assumptions and approach the situation as if it’s a blank canvas.
This makes the other person feel like you’re both on equal footing and your question is not derived from a space of superiority.
And so, it’s good to preface your question with a declaration of your intention so that there are little to no misunderstandings.
“I’d really like to ask you a question about something I’m not certain about or don’t fully understand.”
This is a simple but effective example of how to apply this technique when asking someone a question without them getting mad.
6. Pick the right place and time to ask a question
If it may be embarrassing for a person to be asked a sensitive or awkward question in front of others.
Wait until you are both alone.
Timing is everything.
It may not even be the content of your question that upsets someone.
Perhaps, asking a question in front of others may result in unnecessary embarrassment and humiliation for the person.
It’s better to pull them aside or wait until they are alone before approaching them.
Additionally, read their mood.
If it’s clear to you that they are upset about something or in a bad mood, just wait until they seem to be more amenable to communicating.
7. Exchange pleasantries and create rapport before asking a question
I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to ask questions to someone when you establish some form of rapport with them than if you just cold approach with a question that runs the risk of upsetting them.
If you have the time, communicate with them.
Take some time to genuinely find out how they’re feeling or talk about something that they like. Find out what they’re interested in and use that as a conversation opener to set the tone for the rest of your conversation.
Once they feel like you’re a person who isn’t looking to judge them and that you are a nice enough person, then, ask your question.
A lot of people hate to feel like they’re being used and rightfully so.
If your intention is only to gain information from someone without even taking an interest in them you definitely run the risk of coming across as a user.
All of that can be mitigated by just being pleasant and showing an interest in them for a few minutes.
I commend you for trying to be considerate of other people’s feelings. Implementing these techniques will definitely benefit you in the workplace and in your personal life.
But, at the same time, I think it’s important to accept the possibility that no matter how considerate and careful you are, some people are going to get mad.
There will be times in life when you have to ask hard questions that will upset someone irrespective of how you approach them.
And you know what, it’s okay.
As long as you are sincere and genuine, they won’t assume that you’re out to get them in any malicious kind of manner.
Do your best.
It’s all that you can do.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on how to ask someone a question without them getting mad to be helpful and practical. If you have any questions that you’d like to ask me, please do so by visiting the comment section below.