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Please Change the Question

I’m not fond of the following question:

“What are you doing at 1:00 Wednesday afternoon?”

(This could be any time, any day)

I would much rather be asked this question: “I’m going shopping on Wednesday around 1:00. Do you want to come with me?”

It may seem like these are the same questions but in my mind, the first one causes an awkwardness in the conversation. You see, I would look at my calendar and see that 1:00 on Wednesday afternoon is free BUT I have learned that having nothing planned is very different than planning to do nothing. When the first question is asked, I have no idea what is being asked of me. If I answer this question with the question, “Why?” it can appear that I’m being judgmental or selective.  If I answer, “Oh, I have nothing planned,” the assumption on the other end is that I would want to join this person in the proposed activity . . . but wisdom has taught me that planning to do nothing IS a very acceptable plan.

I don’t do nothing enough. (I know there’s a double negative in there somewhere but it still works for me!)

Doing nothing is sometimes the most revitalizing way to spend a few hours. Choosing how to invest these limited number of days on earth rather than allowing others to choose for me is being wise. I would prefer to be given more information on the front end of a question so I can choose wisely, rather than feeling guilty for declining from the activity because I’ve planned to do nothing at that time.

The first question feels “loaded” and potentially manipulative.

The second question feels more gracious.

I’d be interested in knowing if it’s just me or whether others feel this way.





  1. Linda

    I totally agree with you.

    • Diane (Author)

      Good to know!

  2. Kathy

    Yes I’m the same!!
    I don’t like to feel pigeonholed into a response I may later regret.

    • Diane (Author)

      Exactly! Since posting this blog yesterday, I have talked with many women who feel exactly the same! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kathy.

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