Society and culture teach us how to interact with others. What to say, how to act, and what is appropriate and what is not. So what happens when we ignore this advice and we ask those questions we should never ask? Here are a few possible outcomes:
There are some questions that are always taboo. Asking someone if they are pregnant or when their baby is due is a classic example. If that person is not pregnant, then it can be rather embarrassing for you and them. It is best to just avoid this question altogether, even if you are fairly sure they are expecting. Other types of questions can also lead to embarrassment. Sometimes that embarrassment is okay, like when your child asks you about sex. It is an uncomfortable and embarrassing topic, but it is important they learn about it from you, and not someone else. So be open to asking this questions, but be ready for possible embarrassment.
2. You may hurt someone's feelings
It's argued that people are overly sensitive now days, but some questions can really hurt someone's feelings, or even offend them. Asking someone with an accent how long they've been speaking English can be offensive, especially if you do it with a tone that implies they are not speaking very well. If you really must know the answer to a question, make sure you use tact and caution. You can ask someone about their past without offending them. They are more likely to give you an honest answer if they are not offended in the process.
3. You may open a door you don't want to go through
Asking questions can lead to getting information you may not want to know. Asking your significant other how many girlfriends/boyfriends they had in the past is good to know, but asking details about their relationships isn't something you need to know. Be ready for the answer you may receive when you ask a question. If you are uncertain you really want to know the answer, then perhaps it's not a question you should ask.
4. You may make hold someone accountable for their actions
Sometimes it is actually really good to ask a question you probably shouldn't. It might just hold someone accountable for their actions. A lot of times we see people doing things they shouldn't, and we don't say anything. It is easier to ignore it, or walk away. But when you ask someone what result they were hoping to achieve by doing what they did, it forces them to actually answer. It acknowledges that you saw what they did, and they are in the wrong.
While it does get annoying when your child constantly asks you why, it means that they are curious, and that is okay. Have you ever had a question you wanted to ask, but were afraid someone would think you were dumb for asking? Well, how else are you going to learn unless you ask?
Asking questions you shouldn't may be just the push someone needs to think about the answer. It is easy to listen to an 'expert' about a topic and not question anything, but maybe you should. By challenging their thoughts, it not only causes the person to think a bit deeper about what they are discussing, but it also challenges you to think a bit more about the topic. Don't be afraid to ask these types of questions. By challenging the norm, you may be finding a unique solution or open someone's mind to a new way of looking at something.
It is not always a bad thing to ask those questions you probably shouldn't. As long as you use tact, discretion, and prepare yourself for their answer, go for it and see what happens.