Phrasing Questions – Demo

In these animations note how the phrasing of questions markedly alters what sort of response you might get.

Saying “What have you done?” sounds quite accusing, like you have already judged the person.

Similarly, saying “You must know how many weeks pregnant you are!” is also accusing and implies the other person is stupid for not knowing.

Why did you have unprotected sex!?” – the use of ‘Why’ tends to sound very demanding and implies that the other person needs to justify their position, ideas, mood etc. This can be very distressing for someone already upset.

In this scenario the questioner doesn’t at anytime acknowledge that their friend is distressed (e.g. they don’t say something like “I can see you are really upset by this”, “I’m sorry this is a difficult time for you” etc), instead they launch into demanding questions.

Not So Good

Better