What’s Your Problem?

No one who asks the question, “What’s your problem?” is expressing an invitation to join them in the quest for a solution. It is a statement costumed as a question. In linguistics, this sort of accusation-posing-as-question/concern is known by a linguistic term that I have not researched. “Accusation-posing-as-question,” or APAQ works for me, though.

It is aggressively passive-aggressive almost approximately one-hundred percent of the time that it is uttered. The person speaking the non-rhetorical non-question is profoundly certain of one thing, is philosophically sure of this: That they are not now doing, nor have they just been doing, nor were they about to do, something that falls in the range between perplexing to annoying to criminal.

It is a non-question that I have not yet in this life found it necessary to ask, not because I am an agreeable sort who causes no problems, but because I usually wait for someone who is having a problem with me and my doings to speak up (sometimes for too long—I can be aggressively passive-aggressive, too, sad to say). Also, I learned from childhood to read people, and that comes in handy.

Once upon a time, I was the sort of person who, if you stepped on my foot, I apologized for getting between you and the ground. This sort of warped, passive personality does not produce pleasant social situations if it does not eventually find its voice, because all of those annoying things that human beings do (slam doors, breathe loudly, cut in front of each other in lines, do things too quietly, pretend to be interested when they are not) get memorized and add up to one big annoyed individual. Thus, I used to be the person who was asked “What’s your problem?” a lot because my reactions to small annoyances would eventually come out and not be at all proportionate to the annoyance.

It is a non-question that I get non-asked less and less frequently now. But my eye-rolling self, the person who has been told he has “loud” facial expressions, he still believes that most of the habits of most human beings fall somewhere in the range between perplexing to annoying to criminal. He just writes about these things here before he loudly rolls his eyes.

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for March 1 asks, “What question do you hate to be asked? Why?”


  1. wscottling · March 1, 2015

    I love the loud eye rolling. And I have been asked that question before, but not often… But I’m a big woman, and people don’t mess with me as a general rule. So there’s that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Catnip · March 1, 2015

    Maybe rhey just want your attention. Not everyone is the same all the time. But how do we recognise it… All you can do is ask questions or ignore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loisajay · March 1, 2015

    I LOVE eye rolls! Oh, yes. Want to know the problem–watch my eyes! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sparkyplants · March 1, 2015

    I absolutely HATE it when people ask me this question. Because they really don’t care if I have a problem or not, they just really want to know why I am annoying them, or not agreeing with them or perhaps just simply existing. I want to say, ‘I was free of problems until you came into my paradigm.’ But I never do. So, I too, roll my eyes internally.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karyn · March 1, 2015

    I say:
    “Just this second it was you (smile real self-righteously) but since you are of no consequence (shoulder roll as I turn away) I’m over it. Thanks for asking.”

    Liked by 1 person

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