Silence can lead to better answers

How long can you wait after asking someone a question, before you give the answer yourself? Or before you ask another question – that supposedly clarifies your first question? Can you just sit and wait for the other person to answer your original question?

Sometimes just by asking a following question, that, in itself, changes the original question. I have found that a stance of “friendly curiousity” is my key go-to strategy, when I have asked a question and find myself wanting to rush in with a probable answer to that question, or to offer “support” in how to understand my original question by asking even more questions.

Being curious and attentive helps me to stay quiet (ok – granted – not all the time! But hey, give me some credit,  I am trying to be mindful of this, and trying very hard at that!) because that way, I am really, sincerely, truly interested to find out how my inital question was received.  Who knows what kind of good thoughts could come out of an answer that was allowed to be reflected upon before I hijacked their train of thought until it jumped its tracks.
Imagine what kind of a resulting discussion that could lead to! 

Do you leave the other person time to give you a thoughtful answer? What do you do if you feel like the answer to your question is taking a “long” time? How long is “long” for you? Can you extend that time and just wait it out to see what happens? What answers could come if you just let your question “sit” with the other person for a while?

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