Especially if, when you've asked them for clarification on a matter of delicacy, and they feel awkward or uncomfortable about telling you the truth, they give you a very confusing and convoluted answer, or completely circumvent the issue by not answering your question at all. Indirect-ness and passive-aggressiveness absolutely infuriate me in both the professional and personal realms. Those of you who like to side-step issues and keep people guessing: DO YOU EXPECT US SIMPLETONS TO READ YOUR MINDS!? I'm thinking of a different recent situation, but one good example is when you apply for a job somewhere and they give you some trite answer like, "we did not find you to be a fit at this time." What I want to know is, what the F does at this time mean? That they might review my application at a later date, and THEN would find me a fit? That I should try applying again? If what they REALLY mean is: "Given your current qualifications,you are not good enough to work for this company in this capacity, but you are welcome to apply again if a different opportunity arises or if you gain significant experience/skill in X area, and good luck with all your endeavors," then they should just SAY it. What people often need to hear most is that there is NO HOPE, ever, and they should just get over it and move on. I'm sure if everyone were more direct (and truthful--not hurtful), we would all be spared a lot of heartache. Don't even get me started on how some people behave in romantic relationships and are afraid to "Just Say NO" to people they have zero interest in, and wind up stringing those poor people along. Cowards.