How Can You Think That Way?


Every time I hear someone say, “How can you think that way?” I think, “They just told on themselves.”

People typically do not ask this particular question to learn a new perspective. Instead, this is asked to question the validity of someone else’s perspective. However, I think there is something more than first meets the eye (or, in this case, the ear).

When someone says, “How can you think that way?” it usually suggests error, lack of understanding, or lack of intelligence. It implies there is failure to have empathy for others, to be able to see the world as others do.

I would even go as far as to say this question is usually just an old-fashioned attack using a rhetorical question as the weapon.

To take this a step further, I believe the question is very revealing of the questioner. If someone asks this question, doesn’t it suggest they should be asked the same question? That is, if someone sincerely asks this, don’t they probably have the same problem they are suggesting?

I believe that asking if someone is narrow-minded is actually a narrow-minded question. As the old saying goes, “Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black?”

Like so many things we say, sometimes our questions reveal more than the answers.



About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.