Instance 1:

Me: Have you had morning coffee?
She: Well, I woke up at 4, brushed my teeth, but it was still dark out, so went back to bed. Then heard the front door, and then thought you were up. I then got out and picked up one packet of milk, and made coffee. There was very little decoction in the filter, so have added more hot water to it.

Me: *stares blank and walks away*

Instance 2:

Me: Am going to head out today around 3 PM for a few hours, will be back by 6 PM latest..
She: Ok
Me: <At 2.30 PM> Would you like something to drink now or can it wait till I come back?
She: Oh you are going out? When will you be back? Will it go past 7 PM? Should I call your mom to come over? Me: *rolls eyes and reinstates that I will be back by 6 PM and gets ready to leave*

These are not stray instances, these are pretty much on a daily basis and they do get to me. These are with the person I live with. Earlier I used to react, give a quick snide response or repeat my question asking for an answer, but nowadays I just walk away. I don’t understand why people don’t give straight-forward answers, a simple yes or no, instead start spinning stories or sharing information that is irrelevant. Is it that they are not confident to answer or something else?

Has this happened to you? Do you have people around you who do not give a direct answer but instead beat around the bush? Do they fear offending you? Do they not know what they want?

I have read that narcissist behave this way, but then they do it cos they don’t want to acknowledge your presence and answer a question from you, they tend to ramble on about something completely different, and redirect the conversation [ esp if there are other people present in the room]. But if it is just the two of you, they might either walk away or change topics and ramble on.

Earlier whenever I have stopped “this person” during her story narration and ask the question again, she gets angry, upset, and flips on me with a “you don’t even let me talk or I don’t know how to answer curtly like you”.. But since I began ignoring, and not reacting, the person rambles on and then goes silent cos I have walked away when they were nearly done. I pretend I didn’t hear them or don’t care and don’t show any reaction on my face either.

When dealing with colleagues or friends who do this, I simply go silent and wait for them to finish their story and repeat the question, with a little more assertion. They then give a response or go off on the tangent once again, at which point I walk away or end the conversation. Again, many times have realized they do this cos they lack self-confidence or fear a confrontation coming their way if they were to give a straightforward response.

When someone tells you “can we talk?” or “listen, I want to ask you something”, – if you were a meek or incompetent or low self-esteem person, alarm bells off in the head and you might start overthinking, or assuming the worst possible and send them a long-winded message that is literally going in circles with no clarity at all. This is not a healthy thing, but then that’s how the mind works.

However, if you had good self-confidence and were clear on what you have done, there I no doubt or fear. You will reply to them with a firm “yes, sure” or “go ahead, fire away”.

Do all these things tie back to conditioning? Growing up, if you were constantly told you were stupid, or incompetent, you tend to 2nd guess yourself and will learn to spin tales. But then, if you identify this pattern and understand the situation, the background, you will work on it, change yourself and become more confident, learning to just give a straightforward answer to the query posed.

It gets to me when people spin tales. A couple of days back, when I asked gramma a question related to lunch I was cooking, the maid who heard both of us looked at me, smiled, and rolled her eyes. She too understood why sometimes I lose my temper or say something curt or walk away. Why why why do they do this and do they not realize what they are doing?

The issue is when they ask us a question and if we spin a tale, they don’t like it. So, how is it that acceptable? hmmm.