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If You Don't Know.......Just Ask

Updated on October 8, 2012


When it comes to acquiring knowledge, I turn into the proverbial little "WHY," kid. I'm a firm believer that if you don't know something ask. Except for directions. When it come to asking for directions, I turn into a man. My ex-husband would ask for directions to the corner store. But me, I wouldn't ask for direction from California to New York. I don't know why that is, I guess I just wanted to figure it out for myself.

On a related note, we had a very funny experience once on a road trip we took cross country. You have to picture this to make it funny. We were sightseeing in New York City, and we wanted to know where Central Park was. Now, you must know all I ever knew about New York was what I saw on television, all bad, which turned out not to be true, but I believed it then. Getting back to the story. Being afraid, we were riding down the street, (no air conditioner, heat of summer), with all of our windows closed except for a slight crack in one. Around and around we went looking for Central Park, so here goes my husband, "roll down your window Freta, and ask that man if he knows where it is." Reluctantly I rolled down my window halfway, and called out to the man. He came over, and I, with great hesitation beckoned the man closer and proceeded to ask for directions. On my lap was a map, so the man reached into the window, (to point to the map, but I didn't know that). I jumped back and grabbed my throat, and everybody in the car jumped back. He put his hand on the map, seemingly oblivious to our reactions, and proceeded to point out Central Park on the map. Oh,I forgot to mention that we had our two small children with us? Needless to say nobody paid any attention, we were all so scared. Poor man. Anyway, my inclination was to roll up my window and say to my husband "Baby drive off," of course I didn't, I was frozen, as we all were. As I sat holding my throat, the man was pointing to something on the map, he could have been speaking Greek for all I knew. When he finally left we all laughed so hard my husband couldn't drive. All I could think about was either he was going to kill us or he was going to be minus one arm. Neither of which happened, thank goodness. So this experience made me all the more determined not to ask for directions.

What To Ask

To make this brief, I'll just highlight a few of my favorite things to ask.

  • Directions, contrary to my aversion to asking directions, it is a good idea, let me tell you why I say that. Even, with the new directional equipment, there is still need for the human element. Some of us don't have these gadgets. So as not to get in harms way, by going into an area that could prove harmful, ask. Also fuel is so costly, that driving around and around directionless is counter productive.
  • A favorite of mine is when you're in conversation with someone that uses words that you don't know, and they're doing it to impress, stop the show and ask. This can serve one or two purposes, if they do know, you're the smarter for asking. If they don't know they've been exposed for trying to be someone they are not. When we were young, my husband and I were friends of a couple, where the husband would just look in the dictionary and choose words that looked good to him and he'd use them totally at the wrong place and time. He looked ridiculous, but no one had the nerve to tell him, what a shame. Of course he wouldn't have accepted the correction anyway.
  • What about asking for discounts and deals, at your favorite department, discount, or all purpose store. You'd be surprised to learn, most of these stores have hidden discounts that's not advertised to the public. Just ask.
  • When you have someone repairing something for you, your car, your appliance, your home, etc. If you don't know what they are doing or why they're doing it, just ask. For instance, just standing around asking why, you could avoid being taken advantage of. Of course you could be annoying, but me, I'd rather annoy at times than to be taken advantage of. (Fine line here). I actually learned how to do a lot of minor repairs from asking in those instances. My ex-husband used to do a lot of minor repairs around the house and I always stood around and, well yes aggravated, but I asked. The result, I don't pay for a lot of minor repairs. As a matter of fact I can do certain minor home improvements, like installing toilets in my bathroom, minor floor repair, (replacing broken tiles), and lots more. I also can preform minor auto repairs, I won't go into that now. There was this one time I had a repairman in for the igniter on my gas stove, I watched, and asked questions, and the next time it happened I just ordered the part and installed it myself. Now to be sure, I'm not recommending this approach to repairs, I'm just saying that is what I've done.
  • Here's a really good one. When someone you know stops speaking to you or begins treating you coolly, and you don't know why. Just ask! Sometimes it's something you said, but didn't mean to offend, or it could have been something you didn't say, but was attributed to you. If you care, don't let it go unattended. Approach the person cautiously, humbly and just ask. If you said it, explain yourself, if you didn't say it, tell them. People have gone for years not speaking, all over a misunderstanding. So if this has happened to you, now is the time to take action.
  • On the job, suppose you're given an assignment, and it's been assumed that you already know how to do, but you don't know, or you're not quite sure of the correct procedure. If you don't know, just ask. After all, isn't it better to get the job done right, than to appear to know and possibly risk adverse consequences.
  • Parents, if you don't know what's going on in your young ones lives, what's on their minds, why they act the way they do, what they expect of you etc. Don't wonder, Just ask. Don't let a bad situation get out of hand, ignoring an obvious problem, by sweeping it under the rug won't make it go away, it will only get worse. Face it, and ask sincere questions, you might be surprised.
  • Last on my list. Suppose you're in a relationship with someone, and you don't know how they really feel about you, why not just ask. However, caution is in order here, if you really don't want to know, in this case, Don't Ask.


In whatever situation you find yourself in and don't know, JUST ASK.  If I left any out, feel free to add them in your comments.


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    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Why ask why? Just ask the real Scott.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks ripplemaker, better still I'm glad we didn't harm him. LOL!

      Micky Dee, I'm learning to ask more now, however I'm glad there's GPS, these days.

      Thanks to you both for visiting and leaving comments, see you again soon.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Freta, I not as smart as I could be because of "not asking". When younger I was always embarrassed by what I didn't know. Ask!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I also jumped at my seat when I was reading this hub! Whew..thank God he didn't harm anyone of you. LOL As for asking fastfreta, I am one person who asks a lot of questions too. Blessings, love and light! :)

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks mquee for the comment. And thanks for stopping, please stop again.

    • mquee profile image


      8 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Good topic that everyone can relate to. Very entertaining as well.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Moulik Mistry for taking time to read this hub, please stop again.

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 

      8 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      I appreciate your thoughts, very well said...

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you aefrancisco, I totally agree with you on that. Thanks for stopping, see you soon.

    • aefrancisco profile image


      8 years ago from somewhere down the road

      great - there's no reason to be afraid. have the courage to ask things. things will remain unknown if we have no initiative to discover things from asking :)

      thanks for sharing :)

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks adrienne2 for stopping, and for the wonderful comment, please come again.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 

      8 years ago from Atlanta

      I totally agree with you, I too am a firm believer in asking. If you never ask you short change yourself from growing.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you stars439 for your kind comment, and thanks for stopping, please come again.

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very nice hub. You write so well. God Bless You.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you a.l.laurice again for stopping, I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub. And I agree, we do get ourselves into unnecessary predicaments when we don't ask. See you soon.

    • a.l. laurice profile image

      a.l. laurice 

      8 years ago from United States

      What a great story, and great advice too--when I look back I realize how much of the trouble I've ever gotten myself into could have been avoided if I just hadn't been so afraid to ask a straightforward question! Thanks for writing this!

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Yes we did find it, but not from that poor man. I'm not sure it is a gender thing, because I don't like to ask, and my ex-husband does. Thanks gramarye for stopping.

    • gramarye profile image


      8 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      So funny! Did you eventually find Central Park?

      Do you think asking is a gender thing? My husband NEVER asks yet I find it really helps.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you very much Mr. Cohen, for validating this article. And thank you for stopping, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      Gary B Cohen 

      8 years ago

      Your post is great! Well said! As Author of Just Ask Leadership I couldn't agree with you more. One idea that we discovered in interviewing leaders is that they use questions to increase alignment, engagement and accountability. This happen because they focus less on knowledge and more on action. What you are pointing out is that when we begin to ask with the idea that we don't know, alignment, engagement, and accountability doubles in those we ask. We discovered this intuitively and then validated it with an assessment we developed for leaders. Thank you for promoting the idea to Just Ask. Parent tell me when they they get tips in our news letter that it applies as you suggest with their kids. It simply shows regard for others. I noticed you linked to Just Ask Leadership on your blog thank you and honored.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you keiranthapa for stopping and taking time to read. Please stop again soon.

      Hi Lady_E, thanks for reading and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I like that picture too. Thanks you again for stopping, see you soon.

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      A lovely Unique Hub. They say knowledge is power. It doesn't hurt to ask, but sometimes we feel so reluctant to. No 2. made me smile - When people use big words, I smile and Nod, while thinking to myself "what did that word mean"? However, if it's a close friend, I won't let them get away with it. Infact, I'd wind them up saying "Hey, speak English" lol.

      Best Wishes.

      Ps. Nice, Big, Colourful Question Mark in the Hub.

    • keiranthapa profile image


      8 years ago from Darjeeling

      Hi Fastfreta.

      Simple thought, but an important one; but above all very well put across.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Pamela, I can't even think of the experience without laughing. Thanks also for stopping and taking the time to read my hub, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      That's a funny story of the map. You're right about just ask. Why not? I like your hub. Great job.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you wordscribe41 for weighing in on this hub, I'm glad that you liked it. Please stop over again soon.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      That's awesoe advice, Freta! Thank goodness for my hubby's GPS since that man would rather have an amputation than ask for directions. Sheesh! So true about asking for discounts. I did that often as a mother of twins, you'd be surprised how many stores offer 10% deals for that. I also like the suggestion about asking your friend what's wrong if they're acting "cool". So often it's something that can be straightened out pronto. Very entertaining and useful hub.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks _cheryl_ for stopping and validating this hub with your comments concerning asking for discounts, because this is one of my favorites of all.

    • _cheryl_ profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Really enjoyed reading this, and I completely agree with your "If you don't know just ask" philosophy. My husband asks for discounts available many times with surprising results. And I've always thought that in conversations, better to ask than assume! lol! Great article Freta, thanks.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Ictodd and Linda Gary, I agree with you both on your assessment of the hub. And yes Linda I do agree, if you ask you must be willing to accept the truth. Thank you both for stopping, please come again.

    • Lynda Gary profile image

      Lynda Gary 

      8 years ago

      Great topic, lady! :) You're still one of my fav's.

      I'm an "asker." I've taught my children the skill, too -- and they're good at it. However, SOMETIMES, I hear myself saying to them, "Don't ask if you don't want to hear the truth." So, hand in hand with "asking" is "telling" (the truth, that is). Don't you think?

      Thanks again!

    • lctodd1947 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I am with you on this one for sure. This is why a lot of mortgage applicants got into trouble buying their home; they did not ask questions and get answers. Also on the coolness feature..I agree in asking what is wrong if someone seems offended. AND, I am also one to get it out if I have a problem with someone instead of letting it build up. They don't have to ask, I tell them while they hold it in and hold grudges which are never good for our spirit. Great hub. Thanks

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Missi Darnell for stopping and taking time to leave a comment. Hope to see you again soon.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Great advice freta, love your story of NY! Reminds me when my Nana used to drive us across the river to the "city" as soon as we crossed she commanded that we roll up the windows and lock the doors. Another wonderful hub.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Ann when I receive comments like this I feel truly validated, so thanks. And thanks for stopping. Hope to see you again soon.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Good hub, freta...My first question is always "who" (yes I can be nosey: ) and then I move on to all the other "w's"! So I can really relate to this hub and I love your list of questions of what to ask...especially the directions part!!!!

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks samboiam as usual you are so kind to me. Thanks for stopping, see you soon.

      pmccray, you too, I mean asking for directions. I use to feel the same way with my husband, so from the way you and I are, I guess it's not a man thing after all. Thanks for taking the time to read this hub. See you soon.

    • pmccray profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      fastfreta: This is a very important hub. When I train new hires I always tell them to make notes and don't be afraid to ask if they have questions. You can appear quite the fool if you have a question and don't ask. As for directions,

      I'm so like you I hate asking directions just like guys. My husband will stop in a minute to ask directions and it irrates me to no end, why I don't know.

    • samboiam profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      fastfreta, as always it is a delight to read your hubs. Thanks for sharing.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Sage, for weighing in on this hub, glad you enjoyed it. See you soon.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      8 years ago

      Fastfreta - You're a stitch, you had me laughing from start to finish. Your reaction was perfect with the man reaching down inside of the car to point to the map. I know I would have reacted the very same way. The guard is always up.

      The whole story makes sense from start to finish. Life is simple. Keep it simple - Just Ask!!

      Great Job!


    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Oh 2uesday, I would totally frustrate you, although I'm trying to combat that bad habit.

      Yes Susanna, in most things I'm not afraid to ask either.

      You're right create a page, we were so terrified we couldn't even breath, not to mention laugh.

      Oh don't worry tim-tim I no longer feel that way about New York, I'm not afraid to ask now, just too stubborn. LOL!

      I agree De Greek!

      Thank you all for stopping and reading, and glad you enjoyed the hub. Please come again.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Always worth to ask :-)

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 

      8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Great hub, Freta! One of the important key in life is communication. Thanks for the great story! BTW, I am from NY as well, LOL. Hope that you are not afraid of rolling down your window and ask me direction if I happen to pass by:)

    • create a page profile image

      create a page 

      8 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Very good hub fastfreta. It is a great reminder to do the obvious, just ask. We need not pretend that we know everything. Your New York experience was hilarious, but I am sure you were too terrified to laugh while the man was speaking with you.

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana Serer 

      8 years ago from UK

      Fastfreta - this is wise advice indeed. I'm never afraid to ask and it has served me well!

    • 2uesday profile image


      8 years ago

      hi fastfreta keep on with your great hubs they always make me smile, but like this one are about the things we should think about. It is very frustrating to be in a car when someone will not ask for directions and you know they are lost but will not admit it.

      You can probably tell I ask questions maybe too much, mainly out of curiosity. Thanks fastfreta.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Hello, hello as usual for stopping and encouraging me.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, fastfreda, for a very thoughtful hub.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Yes loveofnight it was funny.

      Thank you Veronica Allen for sharing that beautiful little aside, I loved it.

      Thank you creativeone for your comment.

      I agree RevLady, don't ask if you don't really want to know.

      Sparhawke, I'm just the opposite, I negotiate at the larger places better, but I do agree, no harm in asking.

      Feline Prophet, I haven't lost mine either.

      WOW, Betty Reid, so Digg does work, LOL. Thank you for the validation concerning asking young ones the important questions.

      Ultimate Hubber, thanks for the compliment, and I don't mind asking either.

      lorlie, age does bring about a change for the better.

      Thank you all so much for stopping and taking time to read this hub. Hope to see you all again soon.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Freta-there's nothing quite as stupid as pretending to know something you don't. Guilty, guilty, guilty. :) I think as I've aged, though, I realize that I do not know it all!

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      8 years ago

      Hey, nice hub Fast Freta. I don't generally mind asking stuff other than discounts. lol :)

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Hi Fastfreta. I found this hub on Digg. I really enjoyed it. Sometimes I ask the questions you recommend, but I should probably ask more. You are totally right about the parents. In my teaching jobs I have been completely amazed by how many students are willing to discuss their inappropriate behavior if you just ask them.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      As a journalist I learnt to ask 'why' all the time - a habit I have fortunately (or not!) never lost! Let me clarify however that I'm only curious, and not inquisitive! :D

    • Sparhawke profile image


      8 years ago from Manchester

      I always am too embarrassed to ask for discounts at stores if it is a little item but I have no problem at all with negotiating at little markets, they are generaly on a much higher margin of profit so were is the harm in trying your luck?

      What is the worst they can say, no?

    • RevLady profile image


      8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      A very humorous, delightful and wonderful hub that I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with. But, when we ask, we must make sure we are prepared for the answer (smile). Peace out!

      Forever His,

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you freta for a great hub, learned a long time ago, if you don't know ask, if you don't ask you sure want know. Thanks for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      So funny fastfreta! I love the relationship bit - When my husband asked me to marry him, even with ring in hand I was determined to find out whether the ring was just a "friendship" ring, or if it was a true engagement ring.

      So..... I asked! I said: "Okay, let me get this straight. Is this just a friendship ring, or is this the real thing?"

      Hey! A girl has to know where she stands, and I didn't want any misunderstandings whatsoever. Yes, I'm a firm beleiver in - If you don't know.... just ask.

      Great Hub! I rated it up.

      Congrats 03/08/2010 100 author score!

    • loveofnight profile image


      8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i wish that i was sitting in the back seat of the car when the guy stuck his hand in the was so funny


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