Ask me Guess you Blog by witty screen name
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I usually don't repost in my blogs but this was really interesting to me and now I can't stop thinking about who, in my life is an asker or a guesser.

Here is the post from

We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, in New York City. People like to visit here, and they don't generally want to pay for a hotel. We understand this. However, we also don't want people staying with us who we don't know or don't like.

My wife received the following email (summarized):

I'm going to be in NYC the night of the 5th to the morning of the 15th for [blah blah blah some work-related singing event thing]. Maria (my boss) said it is on the lower east side at Gramercy Park. I do have another friend who offered me her place to stay, but not for the whole time. Is there a chance that I could stay with you and Jeff for a portion of that time? I'd be using the subway the whole time and I'd be gone from 10-10 probably every day, so I'd be out of your way most of the time.

Let me know if this might be a possibility! Your choice on the dates, it's pretty flexible when I stay at her place.

Thanks for your help - I hope this works out so we can see each other!

Oh my god. First, I don't even know this woman. I've never even spoken with her. My wife doesn't really like her, but she's one of those people who just won't go away. To complicate things further, my wife is one of those people who doesn't really like to say no or to turn away people from her past, so I'm sure this woman will be following us wherever we go. Granted, they do have history in that they used to go to school together from ages 11-16. A decade ago. Then, they've seen each other sporadically when they've been home at the same time. This complicates the issue a little since it begs the question "does past history automatically equate to present friendship?" Even so, I'm reluctant to allow her stay because it'll set a precedent and possibly ruin the (slim) chances of her just fading into the past, and never hearing from her again.

Further, it really annoys me when people just invite themselves over, or present the possibility of you accommodating them. This is something I strive never to do. If anything, I might "test the waters" by mentioning I'll be in town, and see if an offer comes my way, but suggesting that you should allow me to stay in your apartment with you and your significant other whom I have not met seems borderline if not downright rude. Presumptuous, definitely.


here is one of the post from a reader

This is a classic case of Ask Culture meets Guess Culture.

In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it's OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.

In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you're pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won't even have to make the request directly; you'll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.

All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you're a Guess Culture person -- and you obviously are -- then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you're likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.

If you're an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.

Obviously she's an Ask and you're a Guess. (I'm a Guess too. Let me tell you, it's great for, say, reading nuanced and subtle novels; not so great for, say, dating and getting raises.)

Thing is, Guess behaviors only work among a subset of other Guess people -- ones who share a fairly specific set of expectations and signalling techniques. The farther you get from your own family and friends and subculture, the more you'll have to embrace Ask behavior. Otherwise you'll spend your life in a cloud of mild outrage at (pace Moomin fans) the Cluelessness of Everyone.

As you read through the responses to this question, you can easily see who the Guess and the Ask commenters are. It's an interesting exercise.

So, are you an asker or a guesser?

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