Are You An Asker or Guesser?
Welcome to An Owner’s Guide for Your Life, the podcast that combines psychology, coaching, and common sense. I’m Tracey Browning, an entrepreneur, life coach and lover of people. Now let’s talk about how to live, love, make money, and change the world.
Hey, I’m glad you’re here. This is episode 22, and I’ve got a question for you. Are you an asker or a guesser?
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks. I ran across it, it’s been hanging around the Internet since, oh gosh, 2007. Somebody wrote into this online forum and they were a little bit offended that one of their friends, and I use friends loosely, I guess an acquaintance we’ll say, had asked them if when they came in to visit in their city, could they stay with them? And I don’t remember the details like how long it was. I think it was, “Hey, I need to come. You can tell me the time. You can tell me if it’s okay. Is it okay if I crash at your place for a little while?”
And the person who was asked this question was really offended.
So they put it out on this forum, and it was very interesting to see all the different responses.
This one response in particular, and I’m sitting here looking at it. It’s gotten like over 1800 likes on this one response. This lady said, “Hey, you’re offended because this is the ask culture bumping up against the guess culture.”
And here’s what this is. The ask culture is you’re brought up to just say, if you want something, you should be okay to ask. And if somebody doesn’t want to give you what you’re asking for, then it’s up to them to say, no, just ask.
But the guess culture- No, you don’t ask for something unless you’re pretty sure you’re going to hear a yes. So if you’re in the guess culture, you spend some time kind of looking at the subtleties of what’s happening and the dynamics of the interactions. Sometimes you don’t want to ask, even if you think it’s probably going to be a yes, you just wait for them to make the offer because you think it’s rude to ask for what it is that you want, and it gets really interesting to think about. Okay.
Are you an Asker? Are you a guesser? It depends on what your upbringing is like, what your personality is like, what your culture is.
There’s a lot of international responses on this website, and of course, we know people all around the world. Our cultures are different. Like in Japan, you’re not going to just ask somebody, “Hey, can I come crash on your couch for a few days?” No, there’s a lot more structure to it that would really be considered rude. But with Covid, and I know we’re not factoring that into the equation right now, but it would not necessarily be considered rude in America to say, “Hey, can I come crush on your couch?”
But as I think about this, there’s two things that pop in my mind. One is really how comfortable are you hearing no? Because if you’re an asker, you’re really okay hearing no, you’re going to ask them, because why not ask? What’s the worst they can do? Say no.
But if you’re a guesser, oh, my goodness. You’re really, really uncomfortable hearing no. So that’s one thing to think about. How comfortable are you hearing no?
How comfortable are you SAYING no? Because an asker is going to be okay to say no, and they expect you to do the same. If you don’t want to do it, say no, it’s fine. It’s just no, you’re just communicating about something.
But a guesser is not going to be comfortable saying no, either, because they figure, oh, my gosh, if you’ve asked, then you really, one, you must need it. And two, you must need it from them. And three, you really expect them to agree. So they’re going to have a really hard time saying no.
Which leads me to the other thing that I think about this, that it’s so easy for us to assume that everybody operates the same way that we do. So askers tend to not remember that not everybody is comfortable asking and guessers figure that everybody else is being observant and polite and kind of checking the temperature of what’s going on to be sure that it’s okay. It’s okay for me to ask. So there’s nothing, particularly, this is not scientific at all. It’s not really a personality distinction. It’s just an interesting observation on culture and personalities in general.
Are you an asker or are you a guesser? Which one are you?
For a transcript of this episode or for more information about life and mindset coaching, visit my website https://www.tbrowning.com/.