Guess Culture versus Ask Culture

由Kim Holman.

When I was a child, I grew up in a “guess culture” household. I had to pay attention to the people around me and make a guess as to whether or not I should ask for something. I learned that you should only ask when needed and when you think the other person will likely say yes. This is stressful on a child, to be honest.

我在14岁到14岁上学,最终学会了自我倡导者,并要求我想要或需要的东西,即使答案可能是没有。这就是“问文化”的作品。到我18岁并毕业的时候,我在这两个文化中都很精通,但坚定地被带到了文化作为我的主要符合我需求的手段。它与我父母的岩石关系制成,因为我不断询问事情 - 他们以为我正在贫困或贪婪 - 但我所做的就是我正在做的只是提出一个问题而不是我猜测他们的答案可能会阻止我的答案这样做。

知道你的观众在这里是关键。当我为工程咨询公司工作时,他们非常戒指文化。我总是可以要求某事;我可能会得到它,我可能不是,但是根本没有提出一个问题。我从这个环境中脱颖而出,在政府中工作,在一个相关的工程领域,它更像是猜测文化。在我的小办公室单位内,询问 - 但是当它来到更高版本时,只要求你所需要的东西,你觉得他们可能会同意,否则你正在绘制自己的目标,也许甚至被标记为目标一个有问题的员工。在这些不同的文化之间导航并识别在您的先天文化到另一个之间时需要很多技能。

现在我是一名研究生,我已经开始看到我的自我宣传和采取问文化的一些好处。以下是我询问的一些事情:由Pamela E. Harris博士和Aris Winger博士的新标题的书籍阅读 -问并回答:对对数学中色彩学生倡导的对话– and copies of the book for everyone who is interested; a new office chair; an office in the department as a grad student with no TA or RA appointment; support from family and friends when I went back to school as a nontraditional student and mother of three. Yet, asking does not always go smoothly and here are some situations where I have had to tread lightly: inviting grandparents to my kids’ events, as they are out of town and feel bad when I invite them to things they cannot make; lactation space when I returned to work postpartum (we won’t even get into the legalities of this – we will accept it at face-value).

我第一次被介绍给问和想文化a concept through a social media post. As soon as I read about these concepts I was finally able to put words to the way I navigate social and professional situations. Overwhelmingly, when dealing with women I am more confident in asking, but with men I overwhelmingly feel the need to guess as to whether or not I should even ask. This could be due to the people I know and interact with, and gender could be insignificant, or it could be a relevant point. I don’t know and I am still doing some self-reflection on these topics. I’ve also noticed that people in marginalized communities are more receptive to ask culture than cis-het white persons, in particular men. Again, I don’t know if that is significant or spurious, but it is an observation I have made with my own interactions. Of course, the context of these interactions could also play a role in who one receives or adapts between ask and guess cultures.


Another key component in guess culture is evaluating whether or not you should pose the question. You have to evaluate the person or organization, and begin putting out feelers to see if they will potentially say yes or no. You only ask when you are certain that they will say yes to whatever it is that you are asking for. If you’re really good at navigating guess culture, you won’t even have to ask the question – it will be offered to you. That’s the kicker. Lead up to the request with those feelers so that they see your need and offer to meet it. This is HARD, y’all!

Incidentally, because I grew up and spent my formative years in a guess culture environment and have switched to being an ask culture individual, I feel that it has made me a more effective educator. I see the needs of my students and I offer to meet them well before those feelers go out and definitely before they ask. It has helped me to be able to anticipate what is happening around me and how I can be of service to others. In the classroom, in particular, I see it as a service. It reduces the anxiety in my students and makes me more approachable. Once they see that I am willing to meet needs that were unasked, they begin to ask for help, to come to office hours, to schedule meetings with me. It is a beautiful arrangement!

As we gear up to start a new semester, I encourage you to think about ask versus guess culture and how you might move from one into the other for better self-advocacy and to better serve your community.



Kim Holman是Auburn大学的博士学生,学习离散几何形状。她在滚轮德比赛道上的教室和月亮Pi#3.14中的姓名教授。

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