The 5 Most Dangerous Questions

joe —  Tue 9-Aug-11 — 17 Comments
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Danger WIll RobinsonI think some of the most dangerous husband and wife arguments start from the simplest of questions. I’ve seen first hand the graveyard of beaten egos that came as the result of an answer that seemed harmless at first. You can tell it is the wrong answer when you find yourself asking “Did I just say that out loud?” the minute the words come out of your mouth.

So as a service to you men out there that haven’t yet experienced one of these character building sessions, let me present to you the five questions that have only one acceptable answer.

1. Do these jeans make my butt look fat?
Correct Answer: “No” (and say nothing else)
What You Want To Say: “No, that quart of Haagen Dazs last night does.”

Butt Look Fat

This is the single question that brings fear into the heart of any man that hears it. We know even a simple no won’t be enough unless we can appear 100% convincing. See if you can pretend you didn’t hear her. It’s a gamble, but so is any answer you might give.

2. Do you want an honest answer?

Correct Answer: “Yes, because I truly value your opinion.”
What You Want To Say: “It sounds as though you require my permission to give me an honest answer. Should I assume everything else were lies?”

What if person replied with “No” – would they still answer?

Elton John

3. Is that what you are planning to wear today?

Correct Answer: “No, I was just practicing getting dressed. I’ll change immediately.”
What You Want to Say: “Why? Do you think this makes my butt look fat?”

<he he he> Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Two can play this game- except that you will lose.

4. What Were You Thinking?

Correct Answer: Nothing. Look remorseful – like a puppy that has just been scolded for peeing on the rug.
What You Want to Say: “How much I would do it again if I thought I could get away with it.”
This is really a rhetorical question. Keep in mind that there are no rhetorical answers. You may think there are – resist this urge.

5. Is this your fantasy or do you think it’s mine?

Correct Answer: “Let’s pretend I never brought this up – ok?”
What You Want to Say: “I don’t care who gets credit for it. Ready?”

Princess Leia

When these 10 words are uttered you know this verbal interaction is going to be re-played many times with your wife’s girlfriends. Get used to it. Consider taking a month long business trip to India until this blows over.

Ok – so I gave you my 5; I know there are more waiting for me. Help a brother out and let me know some of yours.

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  • Rich

    >> Do these jeans make my butt look fat?Alternate response:  “What’s the correct answer honey?”  This avoids the “dangerous game”…

    • Joe Kleinwaechter

      And her response “Well I guess they must be otherwise you would have gladly said no: 😉

    • jkvossen

      The correct answer “as a matter of fact, those jeans make you look very thin”

  • Patrick T

     The correct response to #1 is “No, it’s your fat ass that makes you ass look fat”.  Really, it all depends on what your goal is.

    • Joe Kleinwaechter

      Point taken. I guess the goal  to stay married was not a universally shared one.

      • Lamar_bailey

        The correct answer to number 1 is actually “Yes but we both know it’s not so you should probably go buy some new ones”

        Costs less in the long run 

        • Joe Kleinwaechter

          Spoken with great wisdom and business acumen, Lamar.

      • Patrick T

         As a friend and ex-boss once said to me, Joe;  “Sometimes, you gotta pull the tiger’s tail”.  So true.

  • Phil Garner

    “Do you think I am stupid?”

    Usually after something has gone wrong and you’ve explained why or asking for clarification on why it happened  OR you were trying to hide something and didn’t want her to know.

    Another rhetorical question that can only end in tears and increase the tension.

    Incorrect answer: Yes!
    Worse answer: Absolutely! (said with conviction and confidence)
    Divorce answer: Honey, no one can even come close to you on that.

    While you may be tempted to say some of they above, it never ends well. I am not sure saying *anything* ends well with this one.

    • Joe Kleinwaechter


  • Divinevibe

    Heeeeee, funny Q/A today!

    Well, I guess it’s no surprise that only men have answered your question Joe so let me give you poor gents some “feminine perspective” on the topic of communication, regardless of what may seem to you “a dangerous question.”One word will save your day and make you come off like a hero EVERY time!Reflection, reflection, reflection…. the trick to all scary questions that anyone might be asking is digging into the motivating “feelings” underneath the innocuous question.Q:  “Do these jeans make me look fat?”A:  “Why do you ask that question honey?  Is there something happening to you today that makes you feel less than whole, out of balance?”  Remember, it’s not important to me that you fit into some unachievable standard that has been set for women’s bodies.  I love you just the way you are.Why does that answer work?  Because you are acknowledging that your sweet lady friend is having a doubtful moment of insecurity.  She doesn’t want to know if her jeans make her butt look fat, she just wants to feel better about herself and is struggling on how to find that positive balance with her physical self.Help your lady friend, spouse or significant other get to the root of her insecurity and you will see your mutual bond flourish.  At the same time, the truth and transparency within your communication process will grow to deeper more open levels that allows both people to share those shadow selves that set us off balance.  (Remember guys, you have them too!)We’ve chosen you, our “significant other” to help us learn something about ourselves that we just don’t see on our own.  Take the opportunity when these tough questions come up to “mirror back” what your feminine other might be feeling, experiencing, or perhaps has learned in a patterned behavior from other male figures in her life.Q:  “What were you thinking?”A:  “Is there something you would have done differently?  What would you have done, had it been you?”However, buyer beware …. one truthful door opens and quite often another slams into your face.  There are times when silence is truly golden so that the reflection comes from within.Similar to peeling an onion … truthful, reflective conversations can make you cry, but in the process we are all learning about ourselves and sharing our truth!  Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?  =)

    • Joe Kleinwaechter

      Awesome as always Ms. Divine. Thank you for the perspective.
      Are there any equivalent questions that women get asked from men that are dangerous (unless reflection is applied)?

      • Divinevibe

        Yes!  Here’s a sampler…. (not really a question but you get the idea.)

        Male Statement:  You are blowing this out of proportion!
        Female Response:   Don’t tell me I’m blowing this out of proportion…blah, blah

        Women like to express themselves and we don’t like much to be silenced or told our emotional IQ makes no reasonable response.  We “feel things” and attempt to express those feelings through words.  It doesn’t always work but it is no less a communication to what we are experiencing.

        (I think mostly that is historical since men have been using that technique to silence women since the dark ages.)

        Like Madonna said ….. “Express yourself!”

        • Joe Kleinwaechter

          Oh my, yes – no quicker way to invalidate someone us by telling them they are not feeling the right thing. Nice one, DV.

          • Divinevibe

            Oops, just realized my answer is backwards – what a woman would say, not questions from a man.  Oh well, you can add that to your list of Top 5 — I am also surprised that “Are you listening to me” didn’t show up in the top 5.

            April totally nails it with her questions!

  • April

    Yes Joe, men like to ask…

    Did you really need another pair of shoes (or whatever the item was)? Women and Men seem to define need differently when it comes to personal items.  

    How much did that cost? No need to ask because our answer will always be it was on sale!

    Can you give me the directions while I drive?  Not sure why men do this since you most would typically tell you the women in their lives can barely find the hair on their head, yet you insist on needing our navigation help for trips!

    Does my hair look thinner? One area where nearly all men feel some insecurity.  Answer is always no just like the jeans making the lady look fat.  

    Starting any comment with.. . I am not trying to pick a fight but…  (pretty much always means a fight is coming no matter how good the man’s intentions)

    • Joe Kleinwaechter

      April – dead on. I am hereby offering you a shot as a guest columnist.