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by Hashem
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Educational · #2265312
“Not Your Typical Questions” is a series where I ask guests unusual questions.

Do I have multiple personality disorder? Am I shy extrovert or a gregarious introvert? {ep:1}

I was shy in the past. My heart pumped and I sweated profusely when I talked to people on the phone (I still find talking on the phone awkward for some reason in a way that is quite different from a Zoom call). I described myself as bad at "small talk". The person who enjoys creating new relationships and talking to new people is called Woo™ in the Gallup™ Strength assessment. It ranked 33 out of 34 in one of the times I did the assessment (Yes, I did the same assessment numerous times over the years, with a significant change in the results). {ep:2}
But there was another side of me. Someone who was extremely goofy and gregarious. That other part started growing stronger over the years. I found people myself looking forward to talking to people, new and old connections. Even some people who knew me at first as shy, serious or reserved were surprised to find out about the other Hashem as time went on. I can swing the pendulum. I even had people describe me as "extremely extroverted" after interacting with me once. {ep:3}

It turned out that it's not that that I don't like conversations. It's that there were a bunch of things surrounding those "social conversations" that made me uncomfortable. Much of this "social chatter" is superficial, repetitive and insincere/ritualistic. I am someone who enjoys deep substantive, informative and weird conversations. {ep:4}
In my culture, when two people meet, they frequently bombard each other with salutations "How are you" How is the health? How is the family? How are the parents?" often without even waiting for the other person to respond between question and question! This is not a conversation; It's a ritualistic chore! {ep:5}
And I hate being in any context where I feel that the other person "puts up" with me because "they have to". That's why I avoided teaching school children . I always am afraid to be in a relationship where I'm a burden and the other person doesn't want me. I've had this fear that the other person wants to stop the conversation but they're just being nice or following the rituals . Hence, I'd want to cut the conversation short. {ep:6}

Questions are more comfortable than answers. Weird is more comfortable than normal. {ep:7}

What I like about questions is that they can't be wrong. I'm very epistemically cautious and I worry a lot about phrasing my sentences in a way that would be accurate. Questions are more comfortable for me. {ep:8}
There's also a relief from the egocentric anxiety-provoking view that it's all about me, my knowledge and my performance. It doesn't have to be this way! It's not this way! I am standing on the shoulders of giants and shining the light on the brilliance of my sisters and brothers. {ep:9}
Questions can also be quite disarming to the conversation partner. Giving answers instead of questions can activate the self-defense mechanisms, which blocks critical thinking. {ep:10}
And I focused on weird questions because they can be so powerful. There is nothing wrong with a regular cliché question. They're just over-exploited. Asking "how are you?" is valid. The problem is it activates the "They're just asking the question to go through the motions" alarm in the question recipient. Weirder questions can be quite powerful and powerful questions can have drastic effects. (couldn't find noteworthy examples on that: Any suggestions)? {ep:11}

Grappling with questions is Research

I view the whole disciple of research as the science and art of grappling with questions. Conducting interviews is a main pillar of qualitative research. At the end of the day, even the big research projects that draws upon data collected from thousands or millions of people can be boiled down to the thoughts and opinions of individual people. In addition to connecting with people, I regard those interviews as a way to collect data and insights on questions that preoccupy me. For example, one of my biggest research questions is "Why are gems hidden?" Asking my interlocutor this questions helps me grapple with it. {ep:12}
I naturally started asking weird question as a solution : {ep:13}-)
I developed a habit of bonding with people by asking unusual questions like "If you can facilitate a conversation between any two people in the world, who would you choose" or "When was the last time you had emotional goosebumps?" I became known in my social circles as the guy who asks weird questions. A lot of people commented that the way I was interacting with them is unusual. Numerous people enjoyed it this quite a bit , though some weren't fans. I asked the employee at a coffee shop "what's the weirdest message you got was. His answer was "Dude, I just want to finish work and go home." It's not everyone's cup of tea! {ep:14}

I find you interesting. Now what? {ep:15}

I have a long list of people who fascinate me. I'd like to get to know them. I'd like to collaborate with them somehow. I wanted a way to tell them "I find you interesting!". I needed a concrete example of collaborating instead of the nebulous "I would love to do something with you ", which is harder to act upon and very likely to fizzle out. {ep:16}
The podcast is a way to satisfy all these points: Connect with fascinating people in an unusual and hopefully powerful manner and generate illuminating insights on important questions. Let the odd ??? begin! {ep:17}

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