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In my never-ending quest to understand people to at least a reasonable degree, I have observed that there are three kinds of questions that people ask each other for the purpose of making conversation, gathering information, and probing each other’s mind and heart. Yeah, so it’s a bit disturbing when I put it that way. But it’s true, isn’t it?

The first stage is called Entry-Level questions. These are the most common and the ones you hear from every person you enter into conversation with. They’re also the ones I hate the most, because though they exchange some information, they’re usually not far above pointless.

These questions include those such as “What’s your favorite color?” and “What about this weather, huh?” which I’m pretty sure everybody—with the possible exception of weathermen—finds at the absolute rock-bottom of questions to make conversation with. This category also includes my all-time least favorite question, the deceptive “How are you?” which looks like it would be at a higher level, but it’s fallen down to Entry-Level over the years. Now, if someone asks how you are, it’s usually just to make conversation, and they don’t expect you to really answer it truthfully. All in all, a pretty pointless question, because it’s lost its actual meaning.

Slightly deeper than that are Level Two questions, so called because I couldn’t think up a cool name for them. (I’m willing to take suggestions.) Level Two questions often ask your opinion on something, or what you think about something, such as “What are your thoughts on abortion?” or perhaps a slightly less pressing topic like the latest blockbuster film. They are also inquiries as to what you would do in a certain situation, such as: “You’re on a public bus. It’s nine o’clock at night. There are six other passengers, plus yourself and the driver. Suddenly you realize that the driver has passed out with his foot still on the accelerator, and you can see a turn coming up ahead. What do you do?” (I’ve never heard anyone ask this question before, but I have an answer in case they ever do.)

Level Two questions also include basically anything that has to do with pressing matters and important things like politics, religion, and aforementioned abortion. They give a person a small amount of insight on who you are and how you think without the risk of the final stage.

This final stage is called, very appropriately if I do say so myself, Kamikaze. Kamikaze questions are the most dangerous, and so they really only happen in a one-on-one situation. Most people don’t like Kamikaze questions—asking or being asked—because they penetrate the very deepest part of your heart and ask you to let a part of you out that you don’t want people to see, for one reason or another. They can make or break you—or at least, your relationship with the person asking. Kamikaze questions are also terribly uncomfortable, and you almost always feel awkward or uneasy when they’re brought up.

Another reason people aren’t fond of Kamikaze questions is because, perhaps, they aren’t ready to answer them. They truly probe into a part of you that you may not have probed yourself, because you’re afraid to go there. That’s okay though: a lot of people are afraid of that, but I’m going to tell you right now that it’s really good to touch those parts of you and think about the reasons behind certain things. Yes, it is scary; I know because I’ve spent an awful lot of time down there in the deep, dark corners of myself. But it’s good too, to be informed of who you really are. I’ll tell you now that it’s a lot easier to fix parts of you that you don’t like when you know the underlying details.

Kamikaze questions are extremely rare and most people dislike them (I’m one of the few that DOES enjoy it, to an extent) and even fear them. That’s why they usually play it safe with Entry-Level and Level Two questions. But if you think about it, you’ll realize that sometimes you’ve gotta ask the Kamikaze questions to really know a person. Kamikaze questions are the key to the closest, most intimate friendship that is the greatest treasure of this Earth.

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