Why is a Loaded Question

Why is a loaded questionThe single most powerful loaded question out there is just 3 letters long: “Why?”

Staying authentic when someone asks a loaded question is the key to getting what you want out of life. But it is not always easy.


In this material world of ours, you might think that you are sussing someone out when you ask: “What car do you drive?” or “What do you do for a living?”

While the answers do tell you something about them, it is the answer to the question “Why?” that tells you what is really important to them.

Let’s take a mundane example of using the car that someone bought as a way to learn more about who they are. Let’s say you have just asked the question: “Why did you choose that car?”

Think about what you know about them if the answer is:

  • It is a fun car to drive

Compare that to someone who answers:

  • It gives me a feeling of freedom and luxury – OR
  • It is comfortable and quiet

What do you know about the person if the reason they give is:

  • The car is sporty and powerful – VERSUS
  • The whole family can fit in with room to spare

You have some kind of mental framework that allows you to interpret the response you get. That mental framework tells you what kind of values the person has – what matters to them.

There are many ways of asking “WHY” questions that will tell you more about them:

  • Why did you choose that?
  • Why is that best?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Why do you say that?
  • What happens if you don’t …?
  • What would be an alternative?
  • Why do you think I asked that question?
  • Could you explain that further?
  • How is … different from …?
  • Why do you focus on that?
  • What do you mean by…?
  • Could you put that another way?

The key lies in interpreting the answers you get. To do that effectively and efficiently, you need to be conscious of your own “mental framework.”


Do you know what you think?

  1. IkechiIkechi04-21-2015

    Hi Sue

    The Why Question is must certainly loaded. You are right that by asking why you can get a glismpe of what is important to such individual. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines04-22-2015

      Thanks for the comment, Ikechi. We seem to have similar intents in the world.

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