In this past week every time I caught myself saying "if" I stopped and changed it into why and how. Why am I asking "if ... (whatever)?" Do I really need/want (whatever)? And getting more to the point, instead of "if" change it to How can I accomplish/get ... (whatever).
That was what I was going to write about in a bit more depth, but something else has presented itself. In jenny_evergreen's Journal she got me thinking about compliments, and how as a society we have "a thing" about asking for and receiving them. On the asking side, I would go even farther and say we don't like asking for anything we want.
In the Klingon email group that very topic comes up from time to time. Someone will try to translate an indirect question. For example, "Do you have a watch?" instead of "What time is it?" In that group if you asked "Do you have a watch?" (tlhaq Daghaj'a'?) you more likely then not would simply get a HIja' (yes) or ghobe' (no) answer from most people and they would consider the conversation ended. They know what the person meant, but they are making the point that you do not ask indirectly for anything in Klingon.
I know I'm guilty of asking indirect questions too. One person I know is a real pain about it. A conversation will go along these lines:
x- "My foot hurts."
Me- "Is it that bone you broke years ago acting up?"
x- "No, but thank you for playing Jeopardy"
Me- *sighing* "Ok, _why_ is your foot hurting?"
x- "No you want to play Jeopardy, keep guessing"
Me- "No. I actually asked, you won't tell me, so that's it."
And the conversation disintegrates from there. I digressed a bit, but I had to get that out.
On the other hand, I mentioned, as a society, we have trouble receiving compliments as well. When someone does give a compliment, more often than not you hear a "no problem" or "it's nothing." Belittling the compliments without even realizing it. I have been guilty of this too, although I have been getting much better at remembering to simply say "thank you."