I have been trying to argue using logic and facts but I think you know how certain people in "power" use different techniques to stay in power. I have noticed that for quite a number of years, quite a few people just refuse to answer my questions, even though my questions are reasonable. This is what we call in Sweden a "power technique" i.e. a method for the power user to stay in power.

How can I proceed in cases where people refuse to answer ever reasonable questions?

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    So, are these people who "owe" you answers? Is there a safety issue? (do you think these people feel threatened). Can you focus this question on a specific interpersonal issue? As it currently stands it's quite broad and can be a ton of different things (anywhere from "they don't feel safe" to "they simply have no interest in the discussion") Oct 27, 2018 at 18:20
  • @BenjaminGruenbaum According to my lawyer, yes. My lawyer means that the behavior of my decision-makers is "unacceptable" and "incomprehensible". One question I raise is whether or not what they are doing is legal. They owe me answers. I will try to get more specific, but as a technique it is a general technique to be arrogant and like that "winning by walkover". Oct 27, 2018 at 18:20
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    Thanks, that helps a lot in clarifying the question. Does this mean in the particular case they have a financial or legal incentive to not give you answers and you would like their cooperation or do you feel it is mostly to spite/anger/annoy you? Oct 27, 2018 at 18:23
  • @BenjaminGruenbaum Yes. These people are directly giving me orders as "bosses" while refusing to answer perfectly good and logical questions. Oct 27, 2018 at 18:24
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    I'm a bit confused by the reference to lawyers in the comments above, can you edit your question to add some context? The way to proceed usually depends on your relationship with these people, why you need (or just want) your questions answered, and if there's anyone else you could go to about this.
    – Em C
    Oct 27, 2018 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


People would dodge or divert a question for many reasons. It can be that they don't have an answer and they don't want to be perceived as unknowledgeable or they might hold a hidden agenda and wish to maintain it.

Politicians are notoriously known to put a lot of smoke-and-mirrors without answering a question simply because they are artist in this field and they use the words in such way that they say a lot but they will not answer your question. (Usually they would answer a completely different question where they feel comfortable answering.)

So that's on a nutshell an intro of why to dodge a question; back to your original question:

How should I deal with people who don't answer questions?

If they play the smoke-and-mirror trick on you do what lawyers like to do: guide them. Given them the answer and ask them if what you said is true.

For example:

Would it be a true statement to say that you're against plan X because of A & B?

Keep it simple so they can digest the question. Ask them if they can start with a YES or NO and then build their argument.

If your questions are reasonable as you state then you should expect a reasonable answer. Don't allow them to lose focus and tell them that you didn't understand the answer if the question is [here comes the initial simple question].

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