Why is it that some questions seem to sting and make you feel a flash of anger on hearing them? I used to think it was because they were questions that should not be asked and that the person asking them was somehow at fault. I now realise that when questions provoke a reaction like that in me, it is precisely because they need to be asked and that I’ve been avoiding doing so for far too long.

Some people seem to have mastered the art of asking difficult questions and I’m sure we all have a friend or two that falls into that category. You know the one I mean, the friend that you avoid talking to when you’re feeling low or not quite yourself. The friend that will inevitably make you talk about the one thing you’re trying your hardest to forget about, bury or sweep under the carpet.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a long and delayed drive home with one such friend. We had decided to go and see a gig together in a town two hours drive away and we had a brilliant time, lots of chatting about life and laughter on the drive there, several hours of awesome rock music followed by nine hours sat stuck in traffic on the motorway trying to get home.

I’m actually amazed that the difficult questions didn’t come up sooner but around 5am in the morning, as predictable as rain on an English summer’s day, they reared their ugly heads. My friend proceeded to ask me not one but at least three killer questions. My first reaction was to turn the stereo up and start singing. But I wasn’t going to get out of it that easily. Why are you being defensive? He said. Thwack another one right between the eyes! In the end I had no choice but to give in and face the facts. His questions weren’t statements made to hurt me – they were genuine questions that I had avoided asking myself for far too long.

I’m not going to go into the details, but what I will say is that over the days that followed that epic drive home, I had several revelations about the topics my friend and I discussed and as a result felt happier and more peaceful about each of them. I believe that this is what I lose out on when I avoid asking myself or hearing difficult questions. I miss out on the opportunity to answer them, find resolution and move on.

I’d like to think that I’m a fairly self-aware person and that I don’t live my life with my head buried in the sand but what happened on that drive home made me realise that I do on occasion avoid facing things because it feels too painful to do so and I’m grateful for the friends in my life who call me on that and give me the kick up the backside I need to look at things head on.

Have you avoided asking yourself any difficult questions lately? Or do you believe ignorance is bliss? Let me know your thoughts by commenting on the post and please do share on Twitter and Facebook if you like what I’ve written.