Ask vs. Guess Culture

This post on Captain Awkward illuminated some really important truths for me that I will remember for a long time. The idea is that there are two basic kinds of communication, called Guess Culture and Ask Culture. In the former, people figure out meaning mainly from observation. If they want something, they can drop hints and wait for an offer, but asking directly may be considered rude or imposing. In Ask Culture, people can ask directly for what they want, as long as they respect that the answer might be no.

I generally prefer Ask culture because it eases the anxiety of trying to decode hidden meanings. Then, I saw that some of the comments mentioned friends/significant others/etc. who walk way ahead. I suppose, in this case, I’m more of a Guesser. As a slow walker myself, due to chronic pain issues, I hope for the people in my life to take that into consideration. I hate having to choose between lagging way behind, struggling to keep up, or repeatedly asking them to slow down. I was uncomfortable with the idea of Guess culture when I first read about it. Now I see that at its best, it’s about having empathy for someone else, and that’s pretty awesome.

Do you consider yourself more of an Asker or a Guesser?


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