List #258: Don't Ever Say This to a Woman

Twice in the past week I have found myself in situations where someone who doesn't know me (or only knew me as a teenager with pimples and a bad sense of style) has asked some very personal questions without much basic tact. Both times it left me confused and baffled. And both times I felt that the way I did answer their questions were not the best way I could have answered.

And sadly, because I'm a woman. And because I made some choices in my life that probably confused a lot of people. And because I didn't get married before I was 28. And because I have a career in a field that some people feel is outdated. And because I lived abroad. And because I had a few failed relationships. And because of so so many other things. This wasn't the first time I had to hold my feelings inside in order to come off pleasant and polite so as not to offend someone.

I just wish people would use a little more common sense. Don't ask questions you wouldn't want someone asking you. And be mindful not just words, but how they are worded, when they are said, and where they are said can make all of the difference. Sometimes it's not a matter of what you're asking but more how you say it and what kind of answer you're expecting. Words have power. Be aware of that power.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I'm sure I've hurt others' feelings by how, what, where, and when I chose to speak certain words. But honestly, I do try to be mindful of people's situations. And working with the public does give me a good sense of how many walks were are all taking in life. But still, just because I feel like maybe some us need a lesson on what not to ask or say, I'll leave a few examples here.
  • When are you going to get married?
  • Why don't you have a boyfriend?
  • When you stop looking, it will happen.
  • Oh, you don't want to be in a relationship.
  • Why don't you want kids?
  • When are you going to have kids?
  • You'll feel differently once you're married.
  • Why don't you have children?
  • Have you tried Match.com?
  • Why would you want to go back to school?
  • Oh, I don't believe in taking out loans for school.
  • You pay how much in rent?
  • You should really just buy a house instead of rent.
  • Why does your child have different colored eyes than you?
  • Your child looks nothing like you or your partner.
  • Oh, did you adopt?
  • You won't understand until you have children.
  • Oh, be glad you don't have kids.
  • You couldn't possibly understand unless you're a mom.
  • Did you guys have in vitro?
  • Did you use a surrogate?
  • You won't understand what it's like to be tired until you have a baby.
  • I'm just busier than you are.
  • Why don't you breastfeed?
  • Why do you use formula?
  • Oh, did you sleep with the mailman?
  • When are you guys going to have another baby?
  • When are you going to get engaged?
  • Why did you want to get into that career?
  • Oh, it's not like you work or anything.
  • It's hard to understand unless you're in a relationship.
  • Why did you get divorced?
  • Why did your partner get divorced?
  • Are you pregnant?
There are probably way more, I'm sure. So if you have one, please feel free to share it here. And remember, just take a second to listen to what you're going to say, and how you're going to say it, before you let the words slip out of your mouth.

Be kind, friends.

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