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He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning.

– Danish proverb

I am, I must admit, afraid to ask.

I have always felt an apprehension to ask questions when I don’t know or I’m not sure of something.  Could be a procedure, or a process step, or a concept being discussed, or, maddeningly too often, an unfamiliar acronym …

I think what’s underneath my reticence is a fear of being embarrassed.

My mental process goes something like this:  asking questions is an admission of not knowing … and if people think I’m not knowing something that they think I should know … that’s embarrassing!

Is this normal?  Do you feel this way?  Does everyone do you think?

I honestly don’t know how commonplace this feeling is.

I know I have this feeling with some regularity.  But I can also see in my interactions with others an apparent absence of that reticence.

I suspect that, while we all may have this feeling, some of us have it to a much greater degree than others.

But, what I don’t quite get is that, according to this proverb, those of us that are afraid to ask are judged as being ashamed of learning.

Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?  I think that’s a little harsh.

I’m ashamed of learning?

I don’t think so.

I’m ashamed of not knowing, but not of learning!

Do you equate my being embarrassed at not knowing with being ashamed of learning?

I really do perceive my apprehensiveness to ask questions as a personal weakness.  I wish I wouldn’t be so worried about what others might think.

But just because I don’t ask a question when I don’t know something doesn’t mean that I don’t learn.  (I realize, though, that it may mean I miss an opportunity to learn.)

But, more often that not, I get my questions answered some time later, usually with my own research.  So you might say I compensate for my weakness by utilizing a different approach to learning.

Now, I admit, this is not very efficient.  There’s time and effort involved.

But I’m not worried about that.

Or ashamed.