“Are you mad at me?”
There are many reasons why this particular question is a dud, and it may be worth it to think twice before reaching into your repertoire and pulling it out.
- Annoying. The person you are asking may feel totally misunderstood by the question and feel that you’re making incorrect assumptions.
- Self-Doubting. If you default to this question frequently, you may be perceived as lacking confidence.
- Indirect. You are probably hoping that the person is going to tell you that, of course, they are not mad at you. Ironically, this reassurance itself may backfire and lead to irritation and anger.
- Self-Focused. Others experience this question as all about you and not about them. You are, in essence, creating a scenario where you’re the victim of the other person’s problematic feelings.
- Intrusive. Others may experience you as intrusive, needy, and demanding. Everyone appreciates having some emotional space.