Saturday, November 10, 2007

What Not to Say Rule #2 & #3

Do not ask a person about the number of children they have or don't have. I don't understand the intention of asking someone "Why don't you have a (or another) child?" or on the flip side "Another one!?"

What is it to anyone else outside of the couple?

There could be a plethora of reasons for a family's decision to have or not have children; some people may be in the process of fertility treatments or had complications with their last pregnancy. That's not cocktail party conversation, is it?

If for whatever reason you choose to ask, accept the person's answer. Don't provide arguments. Give the person some credit for having thought through their family planning decisions. Exactly who is raising the child/children - you or them? And, do you seriously believe you can convince them otherwise via a cocktail party conversation?

By the way, my Rule #3 is not to ask single people why they are not married. Unless you are a marriage counselor or a wedding planner looking to drum up business, there's no reason to inquire. Again, the information is so useless to you and you cannot change that person's situation.

I know single people think married people were born married and are unsympathetic, but we've been on both sides. So, when I crossed over to being a Married, I promised I would never ask anyone about their relationship status. I've been pleasantly surprised by lots of friends who announced they were getting married when I didn't even know they had someone.

In short, let people make the lifestyle decisions they have made for themselves. Unless it directly impacts you, no need to inquire or argue.


Anonymous said...

I am pregnant and hate, absolutely hate when people ask me "Is this your first?" What do I say? I don't want to be mean to them but I can't forget my 2 misscarried dead babies either.
I usually say "It's the first one that survived so far along in the pregnancy>' and that usually stops the questions, although it makes me remember too wee my miscarriages and ten I feel bad so this is my rule on what not to say.

Anonymous said...

To continue my rant, here is another one,upon finding out that I am indeed pregnant and not just fat they say "Oh, I would never have a baby at you're age (40). That's just too old."
Well, the reason why I seemed to wait is not because of my career (which even if it was, so what?) but because of as you mentioned complications.
I'd also add this as a rule of what not to say to a woman. i thought that asking a woman her age was classified as a rude question anyway.

Anonymous said...

J - I was thinking about you in this post, too. I think people just need to step up on common courtesies and respecting privacy. I know sometimes people mean well, but I think they have to consider how and when they say things.

BTW, I just remembered - there should be a post on What Not to Say to Divorced People. ("didn't you like marriage?" --uh well, if I did, I would still be married, right?)

ZenDenizen said...

TAAMommy, are you reading? lol

Jennyk said...

I was single until I was 40. I dated and was in several serious relationships. I had my share of heart aches. I was a very happy single person and resented people who thought that being single meant that I was lonely or I was missing out on something. I was proposed to twice but they were not the right men for me. I was secure and trusted myself.
I never felt lonely. I had fun and enjoyed my single years. I am very grateful for my wonderful husband and two amazing step daughters. I could never have children and I feel truly blessed. I believe that people come into your lives for reasons. Looking back I wouldn't change anything. I would encourage young women to be independent and self sufficient before settling done.

Anonymous said...

Zen Lol wink :)

Anonymous said...

OK you need an addendum to this post....what are the best clever answers to give in response to some of these rude intrusive questions.

I've fielded the "Why are you still single" questions for far too long and I finally got my first "So when are you having a baby" this past weekend since I've been married all of 10 minutes now. And I've been waiting because I informed the inquiring woman with a lot of glee "We are trying, everyday, sometimes 3 times a day, thanx for asking." There was dead silence in the room. Then the woman walked into another room and everyone busted out laughing.

Anonymous said...

Jenny - Thanks for sharing your story..I hope others will be able to take something from it.

JOAT -- LOL -- I hope others will be able to take away something from your post too!!

But, you illustrate what I do - handle awkward situations with humor or a smile.

Anonymous said...

JDoe. I'm thrilled to hear the news. Albeit thru a blog. Happy thoughts for you guys!!!

I hate answering for other people, people will ask ME why someone ELSE is a)divorced, b) childless c)too many kids d) not enough kids e) fertile f) single g) divorced h)gay.

How the hell should I know?