Just say the thing (for fuck’s sake)

“Can I ask you a question?”

No.

“$NAME?”

No.

“Hey” and then silence until I respond.

No.

“[Are] you online?”

No.

“Can you help me with something?”

No.

“Are you busy?”

Yes.

“How are you?” but you never actually care.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Now that’s a proper question I can answer.

There are two reasons why I hate the questions above this one.

  1. They make the whole process of communication extremely cumbersome and time-consuming.

    Why is that? Well, they introduce a layer of dialogue above the one that’s actually needed. Asking me if you can ask a question is already a question that you asked me, so you could very well go ahead and just ask me the fucking thing you need.

    All those questions could be omitted and you could instead just say the thing and we’d both win some time. Let’s see an example:

    - You on?
    
    (I won't respond immediately, because I know you want something, but
    don't know what it is, so I don't want to commit right now.)
    
    After approx. 4 hours:
    
    - Yeah.
    - Can you help me with something?
    
    After approx. 1 hour:
    
    - Depends. What is it?
    - [Only here do you actually ask the thing.]
    
    After only a reasonable amount of time:
    
    - [Here I actually respond.]
    

    Compare it to this:

    - [Here you ask the thing.]
    
    After only a reasonable amount of time:
    
    - [Here I respond.]
    

    I am not tied to my phone. I do not care about every notification. If you think online messaging works like real life where you can exchange such lines knowing that you won’t lose much time and you’d get a response in the next 20 seconds anyway, you’re wrong. I might see your message now and respond at the end of the day. I might not even see your message. Maybe I think I don’t even care about your possible request and ignore you for two days, when I could have done the task in 1 minute if you had just told me what it was.

  2. Trying to manipulate the conversation in such a way that I’m more likely to respond the way you need me to due to social pressure.

    Asking me how am I if you don’t care is only a poor try at pleasantries that might make me more willing to do whatever you contacted me for (but guess what? I can sniff that shit from miles away and it only makes me less likely to help you).

    Am I busy? What, you think I’m stupid? If I told you I’m not busy, then I would have no excuse not to help you, unless what you’re asking is morally dubious, wrong or illegal. I’ll be busy until you tell me what it is that you want, and only then I’ll decide if I’m free enough to help you (even if I’m spending the whole day playing video games).

    Am I online? If I am when you send the message, and respond, then you’re there waiting like a predator to catch its prey. You’ll quickly pose another question and it will be expected of me to answer then and there, since I am online. Very few people will believe you if you say that you picked up your phone, said “yes, I’m online” and then just threw it away and went to do something else, so ignoring the following request could be deemed impolite in most cases (though one could argue that such manipulation and time-wasting tactics are already way beyond the realm of politeness).

What the fuck goes through your head when you ask me if I can help you with something? I’ll just say “yeah, sure”? And if you ask me to kill God after that, then what? I already agreed so I’m bound to try and meet my doom, thanks to your stupid question and my even stupider response. Thanks.