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· How the hell should I know where you left your glasses?
· How the hell should I know. It’s your responsibility?
· How should I know?
So, you’ve had a bad day and you are tired of being asked questions for which you have no answer. Understandable. You can’t help everyone all the time. However, this kind of response, loaded with frustration, isn’t the way to go.
What does the phrase say? “Don’t bother me with your problems” is one message underlying this response. The other is “Not only are you bothering me, but it’s not even my responsibility, so solve your problem on your own.
Is that what you really want to say to someone you care about? If not, don’t.
Make It Better:
· Mary, I don’t know where your glasses are, but if you haven’t found them by dinner time, I’ll be able to help you look.
Notice the volunteering to help, but also the message that it’s Mary’s task to look on her own first.
· I don’t know the answer to that. I thought we agreed that you’d take care of that when we talked last week. Did I get that wrong?
Don’t be deceived by the “hell” part. The problem with the phrase remains even if you simply say, How should I know.