Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yes or No? Purple Bananas!

Have you ever met someone that could not give a straight answer to a yes or no question? If you were to ask me that exact question, I would likely make a comment on a seemingly unrelated topic instead of actually answering the question. You would either infer my answer from my ramblings or give up in frustration.

My mother recently pointed this trait of mine out to me. If you asked me if I want steak for dinner, I might respond that I had sweet potatoes for dinner the night before. If you asked me if I like the shirt you're holding up in a store, I would likely make a comment about what color dominates my closet. I am apparently completely incapable of answering a yes or no question with a simple "yes" or "no." The closest I come is, "I don't know."

Since it was pointed out, I've started noticing this trait for myself…usually after the fact. I have to laugh at myself, really. It should not be that hard, yet for some reason for me it is. A few times I've caught myself beforehand, or even during my answer, and try to simply answer with "yes" or "no." I can barely manage to do it. It's liked brain resists anything that appears too simple.

Since becoming aware of it, I have noticed a pattern in my responses to these kinda of questions. I tend to attempt to give the person asking the information they would need to come up with my answer themselves. Unfortunately, my mind will take things off on a tangent, and that somehow does not get translated when I attempt communicating verbally. In my mind, sweet potatoes are related to steak; I almost always order them together at a restaurant. However, unless you already knew this, you would need more information to understand what I was trying to say.

Or it's possible that I'm trying to be too honest. I refuse to commit to something if I cannot account for extenuating circumstances. I know people are understanding when something comes up that you have no control over, but the fact that this is a remote possibility somehow keeps me from simply saying "yes."

I'm going to have to address this issue when my children are old enough to ask me questions. I doubt I'll have a problem saying, "No," when my child asks for a candy bar at the check-out line, but what about other questions? Now that I am aware of it, I know I need wisdom to learn to deal with this in a way that will not frustrate my children every time they ask me a question. 

Does anyone else have this problem? Or do you find yourself identifying with it? How do you make yourself answer simply when your brain is demanding complexity?


  1. I don't think it's always bad to not say a simple yes or no, but maybe a happy medium would be to say a yes or no answered filled with specific caveats that allow you to delve into your more complex thoughts. :-)

    1. That is what I now aim for, but it is an incredibly difficult habit to break.