Home Advice Unimportant Questions We Ask Friends and Potential Lovers

Unimportant Questions We Ask Friends and Potential Lovers


The Architect: Hello, Neo.
Neo: Who are you?
The Architect: I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I’ve been waiting for you. You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.
(Source: Matrix Reloaded)

Our relationship with the questions we ask are often times just like when Neo asked the Architect an array of questions, that were … unimportant.  Our questions are our connection points with understanding and wisdom.  And so, there are questions that we ask that have no answers, questions that have answers that we’ll never understand and questions that aren’t silly, they’re just unimportant.  Today I want to examine some of the questions that while they seem so important to us, are typically unimportant.

“How do I get there?”

Whether figuratively or literally, this is an unimportant question.  I don’t mean to belittle anyone, but hear me out; this question is the epitome of laziness and craziness.  Ben Franklin says that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  In the literal sense of the question, we live in a world enabled by Google.  I typically respond to this question with, “It’s Google accessible.”  In the figurative sense of the question, why would you ask someone how to get to where they are when they can only take you as far as they’ve gone.  Ambition is priceless, but it starts with wanting to surpass, not meet.  In the figurative sense of the question, “How did you get there?” is a better and more effective question.

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“How are you doing?”

I’ve never quite understood why people ask this question to others.  Outside of the far chance that you know that someone is going through something in their life right now, I’ve never seen this question as important.  It’s usually meant as a cordial question to another person, but it’s often said so quickly that the response doesn’t really matter.  For me, I always answer in a way that lets people know everything about how I feel about the question, “Given my circumstance, the best I could possibly be.”  You see, most times when that question is asked, you have no clue what happened leading up to that point to be able to digest any complete answer.

“What are your strengths/weaknesses?”

I hate this question with a passion.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve aced this question on every interview I’ve ever been on.  Think about it, isn’t it the most often asked question?  Therefore, wouldn’t it be the most rehearsed?   I know my strengths and weaknesses, but just like my past, do you think I’m going to share with you the ones that you really want to know?  Employers and prospective partners would be better to ask situational questions rather than asking what the strengths and weaknesses of a person are.  If you feel the need to really ask that question, ask this instead, “What are some things that you need to start, stop and continue?”  You’ll get a totally different answer to the question, and you’ll inspire thought beyond the confines of strengths and weaknesses.

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“Can you tell me about the people you’ve dated in the past?”

As many of you know, I believe in the sanctity of a past.  Those without pasts, typically don’t react to the present the same way as others.  Nonetheless, a person’s dating past is typically unimportant.  Yes, past relationships are determining factors for future relationships but asking about them is almost like asking a college grad to tell you about Freshman Seminar.  It doesn’t matter, all that matters is if you are able to do the job today.  The people you’ve dated in the past represent building blocks or debilitating moments in their life from which they might not ever recover.  Men and women never want to bother themselves with questions like, “Why doesn’t she trip out about the things my ex-girlfriend used to trip about?” or “Where did she learn that from?”  All that matters is that they have what it takes now, and if they don’t, then they don’t.  I don’t care how much they try to rationalize their behavior.


The most important lesson to take away from the movie, The Matrix is understanding that all the decisions in your life have already been made.  Most of the time, we spend more time asking “what?”, when in reality, it’s more about the “how and why?”  We need to understand that we’ve already made a decision on what to do, and by focusing more on why we’ve made that decision and how we made that decision we will find our guiding light.  The “how and why” develop your decision making skills, moreover, it will help you to predict decisions you will make in the future.  Question, have you ever been faced with a difficult decision but deep down you already knew how you would respond even if you weren’t ready to say so at that time?

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Those are my questions that I see no point in asking, I’m sure we’ll continue to ask them but hopefully when we do in the future, we’ll reconsider and reflect on them even more.  My important question to you is, what are your questions?  What are those that you consider important, and those that you consider unimportant?  And as a wildcard, riddle me this, are you a fan of questions that you already know the answers to?  One of the first questions ever asked to man, to me, was irrevocably unimportant, “Cain where is your brother?”

– Dr. J


  1. This is great post and it is hilarious…. Especially the question "what are your strength/weakness… These questions are never answered truthfully… My sister hit me with a new set of questions that will certainly jar a future mates brain…

    1. Now that you have told me all the things that are right with you, tell me what is wrong with you… What are your faults and pets peeves….? Do you snore? Do pass gas in the bed? etc…

    2. Other than than your last romantic sexual partner, how many sexual partners in between me and him/her was the sex meaningless…?

    3. If there is anyone in this world I would have to worry about you cheating on me with? Who would that person be and why???

    I thought these were good questions, what do you think…?

      1. I don't know…doesn't seemreal important to me. And by not important I mean, like you said, more than likely you won't get an honest answer either way (for both men and women, generally speaking) so what's the point? Even if either party did answer truthfully their significant other probably won't 100% believe them anyway, lol. I'm curious why anyone would really want to know the answer to that question anyway? Does the significant other believe they could prevent cheating from happening?

  2. My Questions

    Whats on ya mind- This one girl would ask me this all the time and eventually i incorporated into my own arsenal. Its such a basic generalized question but it typically sets the tone for the conversation.

    what happened to end your last relationship- I know some might be turned off by this question but i like to get perspective on things. It says alot if she still feels some type of way about him, or if she may have some insecurity issues.

    Give one good thisg and one bad thing about yourself- This girl asked me this the other day and at that moment it caught me off guard. For some reason the first thing that popped in my mind is how many people she asked that question to and the predictable answers shes probably got. The next was if my answer would backfire (i overanalyze).


    Are you ok- Perhaps the dumbest of all because its only asked in situations where you clearly know the answer already. Annie just got struck by a smooh criminal how u think she feels


    I actually like being caught off guard by questions i dont know the answer to. Who likes predictability.

  3. Eh, people are strangers when you first meet them, so I tend to give them a break on the fluff questions in the first conversation.

    One thing I CAN'T STAND? Either answering my thoughtful questions with one word answers, or asking me questions that are all close ended, so I have to come up with the next question. You have no conversation skills, son, and I clearly shouldn't be talking to you if that's the case. I didn't come to the club/restaurant/lounge/sporting event to have to make up entire conversations.

    1. If someone is able to answer a thoughtful question you pose with one word , wouldn't it be considered a close-ended question then more often than not?

      1. I'm pretty sure I know when I'm asking a close-ended question and when I'm asking one that implies elaboration. In any case, I'm talking about the people that answer OPEN-ended questions, as if they were close-ended ones, like dudes who respond to your 3 page text with "K".

  4. The strengths and weaknesses question is such a swindle because people will remix it so that you look good egardless. HATE that question, lol…

    1. Streetz the purpose of that question in interviews is to guage how you see yourself and how honest you are about your imperfections and your self awareness. For instance are your aware of your shortcomings and your strengths and can you honestly express what they are.
      I learned from headhunters and recruiters that the best way to handle that question in an interview is to be honest and describe situations where you didn't have all the answers and made mistakes, but managed to correct whatever you did wrong. Be able to discuss how you are proactively making your weaknesses your strengths and working towards being better.

      1. I think what Streetz is saying and what i'm saying is… everyone asks you that question, so you have a well rehearsed answer, so that even your weakness sounds like a positive. For example, if my weakness is sometimes I work too hard and have to remind myself to take breaks and walk away after a long day rather than burning the midnight oil and producing a lesser quality deliverable. I'm bigging up myself, but also writing it off as a weakness.

  5. Good post…

    The "how are you" question is reserved for only when I wanna know the real answer! Needless to say, that ain't for everybody.

    But I gotta disagree on the….." The first question ever asked to man, to me, was irrevocably unimportant, “Cain where is your brother?”" Why? The question had to be asked. Some of the most important questions to be asked are the ones you already know the truth about because it allows for the conversation to be directed toward the importance of the subject. Your response gives more than just an answer. Connected to it is an attitude, an understanding, and a value toward the subject being questioned. The known answer question just opens the gate with ease.
    My recent post Loving Love

    1. I can't really tell what you're trying to say here, it was unclear. Water it down and send it back so I can understand. The reason why the question was unimportant was because 1) God already knew the answer, 2) The consequences had already been determined, 3) It only serves as a catalyst to another lesson in the book of Genesis, but the question itself… unimportant.

      1. Sure the consequence was determined, but the question was still an opportunity for a second chance. So it was necessary. Just because it was predetermined didn't mean another chance could not have been provided. We can't if something is unnecessary just because we perceive we already know the answer.

    1. Waving a church fan…. when someone asks me this I always sort of give them a funny look like, "Do you really want me to answer that?"

    1. The problem with this for me is that I hate when women ask me to pick out their outfit, I feel like they are being so lazy and it repulses me. I'm not your mother, i'm not picking out your outfit, I have to pick out my outfit, I find a way to do that without causing her any delay… smh… trust me this is a pet peeve.

  6. Great Post Doc J. As someone with a degree in Psychology I agree with most of your thoughts.
    I also understand the rhyme and reason to why people ask the questions they asked, even though you are right and the questions you posed are pretty senseless.
    When a person asks a question they already know the answer to it's not to actually get an answer; it's moreso to get the answer they want to hear and have the listener agree with and enable them and confirm that they are right.
    The other thing is nowadays many people have azz backwards ways of thinking and logic.

    1. or… you ask a question you already know the answer to but you are really asking another question which is, "Are you a liar?" That's why I do it, because if the person lies to me then I know where my threshold to forgiveness lies.

  7. Great post today! Questions that annoy me most are "Why you haven't called me", “How are you doing” I prefer you ask me “hey are you busy, you got a sec” because most people genuinely don’t give a flip about how you are doing its just some unspoken courtesy I guess ….I think one of my fav questions is "tell me something funny" and "whats on your mind" for selfish reasons of course because I happen to be long winded LOL
    My recent post Dr. JESUS wrote you a prescription for a strong dose of vitamins today…

  8. “Can you tell me about the people you’ve dated in the past?” <— People really ask that question? o_O I've had dudes offer a story here or there because it was relevant to what we were talking about but I've never asked for specifics about a person's ex…and I've never been asked. *shrugs* Like someone mentioned, I've asked "how long do your relationships typically last" and "what ended your most serious relationship".

    Imma co-sign Tristan on the most pointless question at all, "Are you ok?" Guilty of asking that one just this week, smh…and I knew full well she wasn't ok, lol.

    1. "What'd you do today?" – This is a good question to use to determine how cool you're getting with someone. If you get, "nothing much…work, the usual", you're probably still at the surface level. If you get, "Well, got up feeling adventurous…took the scenic route to work, tried out a new spot for lunch, stopped at Walmart for detergent…I'm doing laundry as we speak, lol…hollered at my Sis for a min cause she needed brotherly advice…going thru a few thangs, you know?…ate a lil sumthin and called you", y'all cooler than a fan, lol.

      1. I hate when people call and ask me "what you doing?" It's usually friends and family that know me very well and know my schedule. You know I'm almost always in bed after 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. so wth do you think I'm doing? I usually give a smart az z answer like; "I'm watching midget porn" or "I'm mowing the lawn." I especially hate when folks call me at work and ask "what are you doing?" I'm like I'm doing what you should be doing…….Working."

        1. I hate it when I meet a guy, and we have a few conversations and are getting to know each other. Then he hits me with the the random midday text, "what's good, what are you doing ?" Foo, you no longer exist to me. If you can't remember that I'm a teacher after all of our conversations and can't figure out my behind is at SCHOOL, we don't need to be talking.

    2. I've been asked about my dating past several times in the past. I think women use it as an indicator of how you view them or if you are their type.

      And that's as far as i'll go with that cause I refuse to get into examples today lol.

  9. The "tell me about your past relationships" question always make me give a pregnant pause b/c it's 1 of those open-ended questions that can wrong very fast.

    I hate the "what would you do if…/if you were me…?" scenarios

    "Why didn't you answer when I called?" (like many people these days, I hate talking on the phone. And most conversations can be handled w/ the confines of text/email. If it's not about money or something majorly important like sickness/death/life crisis, I usually don't answer)

    "How much did that cost?"

    "Jay or Nas/Pac or Big/Kobe or Lebron?" (whenever somebody brings up a decade long old beef or compares 2 iconic figures in pop culture, I just stuff my earbuds in and listen to Earl Simmons)
    My recent post Sex On The First Night? Why It’s A Good Idea

  10. I once stumbled on a question that revealed a lot about the guy I was dealing with. I asked him what advice he would give me, as a friend, about how to deal with him. Pretend he was my friend and tell me what to do about this guy. He was honest for the first time. Then he was shocked when I took the advice.

  11. I think the important questions folks should be asking when seriously dating are:
    Do you have a 5 or 10 year plan for your future?
    What do you really want out of life?
    Where do you want to be in your career and personal life in the next 5 to 10 years?
    What are your goals and aspirations for your career and personal life?
    Tell me about your childhood and your parents and family?
    What qualities are most important to you in a man/woman?
    What are your finances like?
    How do you manage your money?

    1. You have define seriuosly dating. Some people ask these questions as soon as they identify the other person as someone they could see themselves seriously dating. And that's likely too premature.

  12. If your dating someone of another race and/or culture you should be asking lots of questions about their race and culture; including how to speak their language if they are of another culture like latino, or african, or french etc etc…

  13. A question I like to ask is "if you came with a warning label (like the surgeon general's on cigarettes) what would it say?"

    Questions I hate:
    Tell me about yourself.
    Do you miss me?
    Whats up? (when I didn't initiate the conversation)

    1. "Do you miss me?"

      I hate this question with a passion man… with a passion. If I miss you, i'll tell you. People hand out "I miss you" and "I love you" like cupcakes, makes me wonder how many people have gotten them in the past.

  14. Lush whats wrong with Do you miss me and Whats up?
    I agree with the "tell me about yourself" question….it's too vague and general and not specific enough.

  15. Any question that you ask me where you are looking for one specific answer and if that isn't the one I give then you automatically assume I'm lying. Like, no matter what I say you will think I'm lying, lol. I think we had a conversation on here before about sometimes having to lie to match the other persons truth in their head so that there's peace. I always say your perception isn't everyone else's reality.

    Also, I'm sort of a hypocrite on this, but I dislike when people ask me questions they already know the answer to. However I do the same thing to people at times….difference being when I do it I'm usually attempting to guide a person along and follow my logic to come up with an answer of a question they have asked me or validate an opinion I may have. When women other people do it it's because they're trying to catch you in a lie and/or accuse you of something or some other malicious reason.

  16. And as a wildcard, riddle me this, are you a fan of questions that you already know the answers to? One of the first questions ever asked to man, to me, was irrevocably unimportant, “Cain where is your brother?”

    I don't know about this. Just because you "know" the answer doesn't mean that the person will be truthful. And if they lie then it gives you insight to their value and character. With the example you provided, yes God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, so he had been known how things were going down. We just studied Hagar in Bible study and God asks her while she's escaped to the wilderness, "where have you come from and where are you going." Or in other words, "you better check yourself before you wreck yourself." To me both of these examples show that He will call you out on your stuff and give you the chance to examine yourself and your actions. The question is, will you do do it honestly and respond accordingly? That's up to you.
    My recent post Who Are Your Angels Wednesday?

  17. I hate:
    -Why are you single?
    -What are you doing?
    -Are you sleeping?

    I like:
    To ask people questions that give you an answer they didn't know you were looking for. For example, instead of asking a man how he handles his finances ask him for help looking up your credit report-if he knows that there's a good chance he's being responsible enough to keep tabs on his. Instead of asking how close he his to his mom, tell him you're getting something for your mom for mothers day and you need an idea-what did he do for his mom last year? It's not absolute but it can give you a good idea of what the relationship is like…

  18. In this day and age questions that REALLY piss me off when I am asked are "Do you have the link to *insert tv show, movie, music download etc etc*?" & "What movie should I watch?". I know I can easily just give it to them, but I took my time out to search in google for the information, so why cant you?. Infact anything that can easily be found on google, I refuse to answer the question with the appropriate answer. I typically reply "You have internet access right? Ask google!"….Besides how on earth am i meant to know what movie you should watch, that would entertain you?. Laziness!


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