Is Asking “Why” Wrong

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asking why



I’ve always been inquisitive, needing to know the answers as to “why” something or someone were the way that they were.  I also wear my heart on my sleeve as my dad and husband would say.  However, to me it’s important to have answers digging to find them means that I’m seeking out knowledge and understanding.  As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.

It’s been a quest of mine in more recent years to get answers that have evaded me for decades.  I’m not satisfied to know that the stove works when you turn on a knob.  I need to know why it works, how it works and how to even repair certain layman, repairable parts.  I’m not about to get a meter and do an electronics repair job or figure out a circuit board nor, become an electrician to figure it out but, a simple explanation goes a long way towards having me satisfied.  That’s me.  That’s who I am and, anyone who’s been around me long enough, knows that much about me.

In listening to Jeff Session’s answers or responses to questions that he likely didn’t want to answer in senate questionings likely on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate him or someone he was protecting, his answers of “I don’t recall” to many of those questions was a little more than convenient.  It was suspect and raised a lot more suspicion than was hoped by Sessions. The question of “why” kept creeping into my mind.  After all, wasn’t it reasonable to question how someone of his stature and standing in such a powerful role within the U.S. Government could do his job while not recalling so much?  How on earth did he keep his job if his memory was that short?  Most people simply did or didn’t believe him and went on about their days, not questioning much further.  It was what it was in their minds or they, like I, assumed things based upon his answers that led to a much more suspicious situation than what he could have brought up by answering those questions.  For the most part though, other than the news stations, more people than not, simply went on with their days.

I’m not longer talking about Jeff Sessions at this point but, people in general.

There are millions of questions for which there won’t be an easily answered “why” question however, when one is asked for a response to something to understand, after waiting so long for answers in order to move forward, I don’t think that the answer, “I don’t remember” is sufficient, fair nor helpful.  It’s akin to telling a child that they are being taken to the fair, getting them emotionally excited and watching them going through the motions of getting ready for it, waiting, waiting and more waiting, only for that child to see the parent, watching television, half asleep and them ask “when are we going” then, being told, “I don’t remember telling you that we were going.”  It’s not only a let-down to the child, their expectations, their tenacity in waiting but, it’s also negligent and bordering upon abuse, if not full abuse.  Unless that parent truly has some form of dementia or alzheimers, it’s wrong to have given that answer.

At that point, without a proper and timely explanation, simply telling the child “get over it” or “we’ll go some other time,” is plainly and simply not enough of an answer nor, one that the child can accept especially, when those types of disappointments and lack of reasons why have been handed out for years.  When the person wants to know an answer, there has to be one or that person isn’t going to want to try any further.  They don’t believe it any longer.

By now, you’ve likely figured out that I’m not talking about why the earth is round or the sky is blue or gray or pink at sunset or sunrise.  I’m talking about personal issues.

No doubt that there are situations where there aren’t going to be reachable answers to the question of “why” but, there are more often than not, at the least, explanations whether it’s the actual answer or not even if it means that you have to work or reach deep down within yourself and look for the answers.  “I don’t know” is not good enough in a lot of circumstances.  No attempt at explaining why is grounds to be suspected of malice or wrong-doings especially, if it was repeated over a period of time and offended, hurt or bothered someone else or others.  Even if you don’t see the sense in answering that question, the person asking it, does.

Here’s why it’s important to give some sort of explanation to the best of your ability.

  1. Your answers lay you wide open to being suspect if you’re not clear in your response.  Someone can reasonably be certain that you’re not being honest if you’re giving token “I don’t remember” type answers every time.
  2. It will appear as though you don’t care what the other person feels, felt or will feel.
  3. People will assume that you don’t care enough to dig within yourself for an answer or explanation.  In other words, they are insignificant to you as are their feelings.
  4. If you’re living only in the moment and therefore, “forget” that much, that easily, you are giving others the impression that you are a shallow, unthinking, uncaring person.
  5. You can’t be trusted because what you say you’ll do may or may only be fleeting, temporary or worse, forgotten about within a short period of time.
  6. You’re hiding something.  No one who isn’t a dementia or brain injury patient, doesn’t remember practically everything that has happened or that they’ve done or not done.  That’s grounds for others to believe that you’re not telling the truth.  More “why’s” will crop up.
  7. Not giving an answer to important things or saying, “I don’t remember” is like saying that you didn’t care and were only mouthing the words or going through the motions, without thinking.
  8. It gives others the impression that you’re a complete moron who is incapable of thinking beyond that moment, forgetting the next (in the absence of a plausible medical or mental condition).
  9. If you can remember the things that matter to you but, can’t remember anything else, you’re in effect, saying “your emotions, thoughts and worries don’t matter to me.”
  10. Holding down a job for decades, going out with friends, doing things that you enjoy, means that you are capable of remembering.  If you can do all of that and remember those types of things, including what you had for dinner 3 nights ago, you’re capable of remembering things.  Don’t try to pull the stunt of an answer like “I don’t remember” for things that are important to other people.  That’s going to net you some anger for good reason.

If you’re that un-intouch with your actions, words or lack of them to “forget” then, you are existing, not living and you’d better also “forget” how to do other things, when to meet a friend and a whack of other things.  Worse, if you are that detached from your life, you have an issue that clearly needs repairing.  Seek out counselling to find out why.

The word “why” is not a dirty word nor a wrong question for many to ask.  If you go through a situation, you may not remember every detail or even the situation but, if you do remember it, you’d better be prepared to be able to answer why you did or didn’t do whatever is being asked.  A few “I forgets” is understandable but, everything asked of you that receives that answer, becomes suspect that you simply don’t want to give the answer and the question then becomes, “why” again in other people’s minds.  You don’t want them to come to their own conclusions, trust me.

One last thing on this topic.  If you don’t answer someone else’s “why” question and keep avoiding it because you know that the answer will upset them then, you are feeling guilty.  You knew or at the least, now know, that it was wrong.  Be truthful enough to give that answer, as much of an explanation as you can give and an apology, hoping for the best outcome.  If you have done wrong, expect some anger, upset, hurt or otherwise from that person.  It’s your atonement.  It’s your responsibility to take the consequences of your choices, decisions, actions or whatever lack of those things that anyone can come up with.  You’re going to have to bite the bullet and accept that you did it.  You screwed up.  Admit it, deal with it and accept that you can’t wrong others and have them not react in some way.  You can’t hide from the truth so, own up to it and accept that while it may entail some discomfort, you deserve it.  “I forget” isn’t an answer to be given all of the time because it will lead the other person(s) to believe that you are, indeed, lying and hiding something.  It could net a worse reaction.

It’s wiser to be open and honest with others when they ask “why” you did or didn’t do something than to play ignorant or evade answering.  It’s a normal, natural question to ask when people are bothered by something or want simply want to gain more knowledge.  While you may not always be able to provide an answer to that “why”, you should be able to answer at least the ones that pertain to you and your actions, choices or lack of them.  Asking that question is not wrong, bad or a sign of weakness in the other person.  It’s a strength and likely caring to be asking questions like that.  If you really and truly don’t know the answer, that’s one thing.  Perhaps, you can help figure it out together? You’ll both be learning something.  If it’s because you refuse to respond for whatever your reasons, you’re going to pay the price one way or another. Remember that and own up to your responsibility with as much honesty as you can, even if the why is pertaining to you and why you are or were wrong in your actions or lack of them.  Trying to duck answering is only going to lead to further issues down the road if the other person figures it out.

Which all leads back to the question of whether asking the question of “why” is wrong or not?

Perhaps, a better question might be, “why not ask why?”

Be well, Love and Light,

Have a great day or evening.



Published by ponderinglifetoo

I'm a wife, mother, artist, photographer and bookkeeper. I love writing out my thoughts in journals but, am finding my way to sharing these with others now.

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