Could you please pass the tact?


While having dinner with some friends we started discussing the forbidden question: "Are you pregnant?"  followed with the question; "Why haven't you had children yet?" or my favorite question when I was single; "So why haven't you found a nice young man to settle down with yet?".    We've all probably encountered this individual, or many versions of this social neanderthal.  The person who makes it their job to ask an EXTREMELY PERSONAL QUESTION to someone without any foreknowledge of their background or what they may be going through.   There is more than one reason why someone isn't pregnant/married yet.   The questioner never considers that the issue may be out of the person's control and they may be doing all they can to make that happen.  But honestly, whether they want children/marriage, it's none of their business.  
I have come to the conclusion that understanding social nuances and understanding what is appropriate to say and what isn't is a skill and perhaps a talent.  Not everyone has it.  So the question is; are they to be pitied or scolded?  Should I say "I'm so sorry that the internal censor in your brain that keeps you from blurting out what ever comes into that ridiculous head of yours is completely broken, that must get you into a lot of trouble"  or "what the hell were you thinking when you said that? My father died when I was seven, do you want to talk about that too? (my dad is alive and well by the way, this was an actual response made by someone else)  
So as a bit of a public service announcement, for those whose internal censors are now vacationing in Acapulco, NEVER ask/say the following questions/comments to ANYONE: 

1. Are you pregnant?  You look pregnant.  
2. Why aren't you pregnant yet?  Do you hate children? 
3. Why don't you have children yet? 
4. So are you just concentrating on your career then? 
5. Why aren't you married? I thought you would have been married long before now.
6. My goodness!  You are huge!  You must be due any day now! (even when the individual is truly pregnant - the words fat, huge, enormous or anything else related to size are just .... so wrong when speaking to someone who is probably more sensitive about their size than they have ever been in their life.)

I'm sure there are more, there are always more, but this is a start.  So in conclusion, be nice, and just wait until you hear the blessed news from their lips before you open yours.  

Comments

Alicia said…
Well said. By the way- how much do you make a year?
Joel said…
When asked one of those questions, it's fun to use the questioner as a part of the response. For example:

"Why aren't you married yet?"

"The constant questioning from shallow, insensitive people like you has shattered my self-esteem and left me a hollow, broken soul with no prospect of happiness."
Heidi said…
i think people have just given up on me. i like it better that way, honestly.

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