Subliminal Questions, Failed Tests, and Non-Answers


“[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f he snaps, then you know you got him. And there’s no need to go, is there? But if he tries to act all cool and shit, you just gon’ have to go teach his ass a lesson”.

Let me be the first one to admit it – most women have been or are currently guilty of this kind of testing. Even outstanding ones such as myself. We want to know something from a man we’re interested in but we don’t want to come right out and ask him. So we drop hints. We subtweet. We set up tests. And we ask subliminal questions.

But before you judge us, understand that it’s not really our fault. No really – it’s not. You see we’ve been told all our lives that we need to handle men. That we can’t just come at them with hard questions without preparing him first.  You’ll throw him off guard and he’ll get defensive. You have to ease him into it, ask him hard questions when he’s driving or otherwise occupied.

So you see we come by our subliminal questions and love tests honestly. And so we do dumb shit. We ask hypothetical questions like “what would you do if I were to bring my ex fuck buddy with me to the Bills game this weekend since you can’t make it?”. We want you to flip out, beat your chest and say “you are MY woman and under no circumstances can you go to a football game with another man!”. Then we’ll know where we stand with you.

If we’re not asking subliminal questions we’re doing other stupidness. Like testing you. We’ll flirt with another man in front of you to see if you act jealous. Or we’ll say we think maybe we should spend time apart just to see if you’ll fight to stay together. We’ll act rowdy just to see if you will tell us to settle down.

But of course men never say that. Because you guys see us coming a mile away, don’t you? When we ask a fake question, you know what you do? You give a non-answer. You say something vague or non-committal. Or you’ll change the subject altogether. If we test you, you fail on purpose.

And I get why you do it. We’re being stupid so you think you should be stupid too. Instead of being grown ups and coming out and asking what we want to ask or saying what we have to say, we’re skirting around the issue. Dropping hints and deep sighing and expecting you to read our minds. You know what we’re doing and you’re refusing to fall for it. You say to yourself “until she comes out and asks me a direct question I ain’t saying shit”.

I get it, but this is man logic in the extreme.

See the thing is that giving non-answers and failing tests on purpose is completely unproductive and stupid. Who is this helping? All you’re doing is making your woman feel more confused and twitchy and that just causes more problems for you. You know she’s looking for an answer. You have the answer. Why don’t you just give her the answer?

Consider this scenario: If I say to Mr. Max “if you want to make sure you don’t catch a cold, you should probably refrain from kissing strange girls”, I’m less worried about keeping him healthy and more concerned about what he has to say on the subject of whether him kissing another girl is an imminent possibility. Admittedly there are more direct ways to ask the question, but isn’t saying it like that a lot gentler and less confrontational than saying “Hey! Are you kissing other girls? You better not be!”.

Mr. Max is no dummy and he knows what I’m doing. So he has two choices – he can say “I’m not planning on kissing any other girls”, or he can say “lol”.

If he chooses Option A, Max will smile. She will be content with the knowledge that Mr. Max isn’t kissing anyone but her and she can drop the subject with a clear conscience. But no. Man logic will compel Mr. Max to answer my non-question with a non-answer. So despite the fact that he of course does not want any lips but mine touching his, he’ll just lol at me and keep it moving.  This then sends the wheels of my brain spinning wildly. I think Oh! So we’re kissing other girls, are we? Is that what we’re doing? Good to know. And then the next time someone else tries to kiss me, maybe I’ll say to myself  Well he’s kissing other girls so let me kiss other boysIt’s only fair.  Then I’m kissing people I don’t really want to kiss, he’s unhappy, and everybody loses.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if he just answered the question I wasn’t asking?

At the end of the day, we all need to learn to be more honest and direct with our communication. But we all know that’s easier said than done when you’re trying to build a relationship with someone and you’re not sure where you stand and you don’t want to get your feelings hurt. So sometimes we have to just take one for the team in the name of productivity. Sometimes women have to put their big girl panties on and come out and say “Hey I want to be exclusive, do you?” and sometimes men have to find the non-question buried in the babble and just give her the answer she’s looking for.

But what do you guys think? Ladies are you guilty of asking non-questions? Men do you give non-answers? Speak on it in the comments.


bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 30

  1. nectar-imperial says:

    The problem with answering a “non-question” is that it encourages the female to keep asking similarly flavored questions because she’s now received satisfaction once and she wants it again.
    Its a better idea to not answer and wean her off asking non-questions…

    1. Shogun says:

      Agreed, you want to send the message that stupid questions get stupid answers so please stop asking stupid questions. Maybe it would be easier that particular time just to give the girl what they wants but if you don’t put a stop to it, then it’ll just become more and more annoying

  2. Malik says:

    You can be straightforward in your questions, but you have to be tactful about it. If no matter how many ways you parse your inquirers he still finds a way to perform Cirque Du Soleil level logical leaps, then he probably is just a shady dude when it comes to relationships at the very least. But as you said, that’s easier said than done. Personally, I just tell passive aggressive questioners ‘no’ and to rephrase what they want to know forthright.

  3. Lady Ngo says:

    Personally, if i have a question that i don’t have balls to ask, im just not gonna ask it. . More than likely, i’ll just let the situation play itself out.

    Anywho, I think men would achieve a much better result if instead of dodging the question with a dumb answer, they either just answer it or better yet just tell me that they know i have something on my mind and to just come out with it. Its not like ya’ll don’t know that half the reason women do this is because they are afraid of what the answer to the real question is and the other half is we’ve been taught (by life, Cosmo, AND other men) that asking those commitment questions, even when we are committed gives ya’ll the crackhead shakes.

    Meet a sista halfway…team work makes the dream work 🙂

    1. ” I think men would achieve a much better result if instead of dodging the question with a dumb answer, they . . . just tell me that they know i have something on my mind and to just come out with it.”

      I encourage this.

  4. Lea says:

    I think subliminal questions are part of the game. We’re all playing it. What a boring thing it would be to be direct and straightforward all the time. No, I’d rather craft an especially cryptic yet deliberately decipherable question or comment so that if you do fail, I know that you failed because you’re a dick and you knew exactly what you were doing.


  5. Candi says:

    LMAO!! I am a pro at this. Referring to my most recent “The End”, I use to be direct with him when making my points, apparently my points weren’t being heard. I came up with another gameplan to be heard, slap on this direct with a splash of indirect and we have a conversation “voila!” There was no other way I could get through to him without the extra. Even with the subliminal questions, I would ask something so off that he would be answering the wrong question, go back through it and I get the answer I’m looking for. It may have been a game, but it worked for me. Which is why I’m single now LOL!! Those subliminal questions can bring out the real deal truth without them even realizing they just told on themselves. Damn Im good!

  6. Slim Jackson says:

    You know how I feel about this topic By the way, I just went to to see if it was available and the first thing I saw was “test.” I guffawed, but that’s not important.

    I hate dumb questions with obvious answers. I also hate indirect probes (pause) when a non-dumb question could’ve been asked outright. I am in the business of efficiency. I am not in the business of coddling and appeasing estrogenic nonsense. Indirect questions and sneaky tests make Slim a flaccid boy (man).

    1. emti says:

      hahah i went to and it’s blocked at work because it’s a game lol

  7. keisha brown says:

    i love that your internal dialogue sounds EXACTLY like how you talk in real life. that cracked me up.

    i cosign with this post (before it was written…lol).

    we ALL know that men ‘hate’ games and want women to come ‘straight’ with the ‘real talk’. except…that there are those who still reject, ignore or play games just for the emotional fun/power/control tip of it all.

    not all men are created equal, so they need to stop pretending that there arent men out there who cannot and refuse to handle a simple question.

    for instance, when a man and woman first meet, they are feeling each other out, trying to ascertain what they want. when a woman is younger, she might base her answer off what he says in hopes of giving herself a better chance in his books. this usually ends up backfiring. now as i’ve gotten older, i dont shy away from saying that i eventually want to be a wife. the amount of dudes that interpret that to mean that im a wedding-bridezilla-wannabe anxious for any man to ask me is absurd. i said EVENTUALLY NEGRO!
    so what happens in this case? after the same amount of freakout answers…a woman learns to just lie or adjust her answer and have to play the passive-aggressive game.

    lose-lose for EVERYONE.

  8. BP says:

    This post made me laugh and I know you know why. I used to do all kinds of probing because I am crazy was scared to be forthright. I have learned that non-questions usually back fire on me.
    Me: I think people that put passwords on their phones are hiding something….what about you babe?
    Him: No
    Me: *rolls-eyes*

    Good post Maxie…

    1. CHeeKZ says:

      wait BP, you are a snooper?
      You seem so confident, I wouldn’t think that.

      1. BP says:

        I used to be a snooper. I now live by the motto that everything done in the dark will come to light. I also don’t let passwords bother me anymore because they are necessary ( to answer Malik’s question).

    2. Malik says:

      I agree with him. What if your phone gets lost or stolen?

  9. To answer the question posed, yes, I give non-answers. I used to just give non-answers, but in my old age I now give non-answers and then make a suggestion to her about just coming out and asking me what she wants to ask directly instead of tip-toeing around it. And THEN we talk about whatever’s on her mind. Surprisingly, it works way more often than not.

    As for “easier said than done”…that doesn’t mean you don’t try to get it done anyway. Relationships are work, so you might as well get into the habit of communicating in ways that are more beneficial to the success of your relationship. If you know you should be more direct, yet you opt to continue trying to test your S/O and being indirect, the fault is on you for not trying to be more of an adult when it comes to interacting w/ your S/O.

    And that Mr. Max Scenario is silly. You know you’re not being direct. He knows you’re not being direct AND he sees that you’re indirectly questioning his trust and fidelity. He “lol”s. So your mind not only jumps to the negative conclusion but sets you up to be willing to do something that will possibly endanger your relationship?

    Yeah, stay out of relationships until you work THAT out. No offense.

    “Wouldn’t it be so much easier if he just answered the question I wasn’t asking?” It would be even easier to just straight-up ask the question(s) you want to ask.

    1. max says:

      “Relationships are work, so you might as well get into the habit of communicating in ways that are more beneficial to the success of your relationship. If you know you should be more direct, yet you opt to continue trying to test your S/O and being indirect, the fault is on you for not trying to be more of an adult when it comes to interacting w/ your S/O.”

      See all of this right here is my point though. Relationships are work. So why make them more difficult? If your woman asks you a question, even if it’s indirect, why not just answer it if answering the question will ease her mind or help the relationship? Why stand on ceremony?
      You put the fault on the woman who asks an indirect question but yet absolve the men of fault for giving an indirect answer…as though he doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Maybe giving her an indirect answer will show her that you’re open to sharing information and make her feel more comfortable being more forthcoming next time, anyone ever think of that? But no you guys lol and then you’re mad because she’s afraid to ask you anything. It’s unproductive.

      And for the record, the reason Mr. Max is Mr. Max is because in the real life version of the scenario, he answered the question I wasn’t asking.

  10. LaLaBakir says:

    Just as I’m no good at whispering…I’m not very good at asking non-questions. It’s in my nature to get straight to the point, in the fewest amount of words possible. In the past, even my non-questions sound like questions.

    So, most of the time I just ask (or suffer in silence while the questions burns in my chest more than a shot of Patron). But don’t be fooled Maxie…men still give non-answers to actual questions. And sometimes it may not even be worth it to ask a non-question. The answer sometimes is already there.

  11. Flyy says:

    This is hilarious… I think I am straightforward most of the time even if it is to my own detriment. This happens when I’m thinking about asking a question. However, I have noticed that if there is something on my mind and I haven’t yet made the conscience decision to ask Mr. Flyy about it, I will pose non-questions unintentionally. Luckily, the Mr. Flyy to whom I am refering is pretty good about just answering the non-question as if it were an actual question.


    1. keisha brown says:

      i approve of this avi.
      that is all. 😉

  12. SD says:

    Maybe its just me but aren’t all the stupid non-questions women ask just a sign of insecurity? Who the hell wants to deal wit that?!…#imgawn

  13. Wild Cougar says:

    I’m straightforward to a fault. Doesn’t always get you straight answers. Only emotionally mature men give straight answers and we know they are kinda rare. The only time I use subliminal questions is when I know he will lie, so I get the truth by tricking him with innocent sounding questions, then backing him into a corner based on the answers. It’s called cross-examination. Men hate it, but I get three truth.

  14. Chucc Taylor says:

    Can anybody else besides me smell that? Somebody need to open a window because its alot bullshit in here. I’m sorry I played the games enough to hear about the subliminal questions and hints. Just tell me what you want or keep it moving. I’m gonna be open, up front and honest with you abut your feelings, what you wearing, ya life choices, etc. Don’t expect me to read between your lines when I tell you what’s up with out all the Lost in Translation talk. Be str8 with me I’ma be str8 with you. Come at me like you trying to be a shrink (which I am studying to be) youi better come hard.

  15. Shannon says:

    I love this post, really plays to what I’m feeling right now. I too wish I were brave enough to be more blunt but asking someone “sAy do u like me…” sounds like ur answering own question

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