Saturday, March 23, 2013

4 Questions People Shouldn't Ask

I was sitting in my {home} office during Nap Time recently, when I glanced at a book stacked under my lamp. Amy Vanderbilt's New Complete Book of Etiquette, The Guide To Gracious Living. My edition was first published in 1952, and you can imagine the kind of "rules" contained in the yellowed, smelly pages.

It got me thinking.

About social etiquette.

And a specific list begin to form in my thoughts. A list that was born out of personal experiences and information shared with me by friends throughout the years.

Thus, I respectfully present to you...

4 Questions People Shouldn't Ask

1) Don't ask a married couple, "When are you guys gonna have kids?" What if they ARE trying to have kids? What if they've had one or more miscarriages? What if they DON'T want to have any kids? Regardless of their answer, it's a sensitive question whether you choose to believe it or not.

1.5) And when a couple does finally announce their pregnancy, don't say, "What took you so long?!" See #1 if you don't know why you shouldn't ask this.

2) Don't ask just anyone, "When's your due date?" Um...What if the gal's NOT pregnant and now you want the earth to swallow you, saving you from the embarrassment you've brought upon yourself? Unless the woman has told you she's pregnant, or there's been some kind of announcement, you should probably refrain from asking this question.

3) Don't ask a pregnant lady, "Are you carrying twins??" unless you kind of want to get punched in the throat. For good measure, I should recommend never saying "You're getting so big!" or "You're as big as a house!" If the PL's gracious enough to laugh off your comment, there's a high probability she will sit in her car and cry later. Why? Because what's she's just HEARD is you confirming how fat her face has become and how stretched out her backside has gotten, as well as a slew of other body parts. Bottom line {no pun intended}, it's not really polite to comment about anyone's body, especially when a baby has taken over. For all you know, the poor gal still has 6 months left, but according to you, she's already a horse. THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO SAY TO A PREGNANT LADY IS, "YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL. CONGRATULATIONS!" But here are some  alternatives if you MUST refer to the bump:

"You're getting closer! How are you feeling?"
"You wear pregnancy/your bump well."
"It's all happening! Is there anything I can help you with?"

4) This one's catchy. If you're just being nosy/making small talk, don't ask a "single" person, "So, are you dating anyone?" If they ARE, in fact, dating someone, you will probably know about it. If they aren't dating anyone, well you've just made them feel super special because now they get to openly {and awkwardly} talk about that part of their life with you. I bet they really like that. Not. Yes, you are probably being genuine when you ask this question. However, because the nature of it has the potential to make the other person feel not-so-great or worse, pitied, it's better to just avoid that conversation altogether. Now let's try this instead: "What's new with you? How's work? It's good to finally catch up with you after so long."

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Undoubtedly, we've all put our foot in our mouth at some point. Life provides many unprepared and awkward situations, and sometimes, we just don't know what to say. However, avoiding these sort of questions enables us to be more sensitive with our daily encounters. Remember, just because something doesn't hurt YOUR feelings doesn't mean it won't hurt someone else's.

Do you have questions you think should be added to the "don't ask" list?

Until next time,
Meredith

26 comments:

Lena said...

So true!!! I was asked once if I had triplets in the wedding line :) Was really close to punching that lady in the face :)

Karen A said...


Great post!! I was told how huge I looked when I was pregnant and was asked numerous times if I was having twins. I've also been asked when I was due when I wasn't even pregnant! So embarrassing! :/

Please let me know if I'm still a no-reply blogger. I tried to change it but I have no clue if I was successful. Thanks :)

NanaDiana said...

LOL- (to a person that has put on a lot of weight)...Wow! I hardly recognized you!
Or...to a heavy person....You have SUCH a pretty face. (yeah-well, you got a great body-too bad you're so ugly!;>) xo Diana

Stephanie said...

Amen, amen, and AMEN!! Great post, my friend! :)

Hugs to you,
Stephanie

Jayma said...

Haha...... this is an AWESOME post! And I agree with you completely!!!!!! Plus I nominated you :) Check it out here: http://JaymasTips.blogspot.com

ChatterBlossom said...

True story: I had 7-9 people ask me if I was pregnant when I wasn't. Decided I needed to loose a bit of weight after that...
-Jamie
ChatterBlossom

must love junk said...

Hilarious! I learned a long time ago not to ask someone when she's due! :)
Susan

Design_Fluff said...

Great post, Meredith! I've encountered some of those questions and they are not comfortable. I think people should add, what do you do for a living on the list. For some odd reason in one city I lived in, that was the first question I got asked when first meeting just about anyone that lived there. I really thought it was uncomfortable, since I just moved there and didn't have a job yet!

Anne K. said...

Totally agree on all of these! When I got married all of my friends asked me when I'm gonna have a baby and it's annoying then I told them it's not your business! Haha..Then after my first baby was born I was asked when are we going to have another one, I was like really? Some people are just too being nosy. Ha!

ms.composure said...

these are ALL some great examples of things NOT to ask people you do not know! I think some people do not mean to be rude but they end up looking EXTREMELY rude! LoL

http://mscomposure.blogspot.com
http://www.infinitelifefitness.com

Ashley Ditto said...

Your post is right on point. Love your thoughts here! LOVELY post!!

Grace @ Wrinkled Chiffon said...

Ha, love these! They are so true and some that we should abide by more. ;) If you have a chance, I would love for you to stop by my blog and check out my latest post...and stay tuned for tomorrow's giveaway! Have a great day.

xo Grace
www.wrinkledchiffon.com

Rea T said...

i agree with you Meredith that these questions should never be asked UNLESS you have a VERY close relationship to that person - otherwise, NEVER...
for some reason society has changed a lot...i guess people are more honest, inquisitive than they should be & insensitive...idk, maybe because of the way entertainment, media & environment is influencing how we are...but no matter what, it is always our choice to do the right things & in this case TO SAY APPROPRIATE THINGS...
I am with you on "just because something doesn't hurt YOUR feelings doesn't mean it won't hurt someone else's"...

i like this post, thanks for sharing♥
rea

Night Owler said...

http://pinkowl07.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-bunny-hop.html Be sure to stop by and join in on the bunny hop and be sure to tell your friends please.

Shannon said...

NEVER ask a parent 'Is she yours, or did you adopt?'

Mary Reed said...

This post had me laughing... so much truth here! I'm only 5'1" and didn't have a lot of 'baby room' when I was pregnant. There was no place for my little one to go but straight OUT! I was asked a few times if I was having twins. I laughed and said 'No, but I sure feel like it!' and then promptly went home and hormonally cried into my confused husband's chest!
Thanks for sharing this and thanks for coming by my place today!
Blessings to you ~ Mary

V Foley said...

Hi Meredith, Oh I so need to get this book. I do two things on the list!!! I need to get my act together. Great post...

chateau chic said...

Great words of wisdom! Thankfully I've held my tongue several times about asking if someone was pregnant. Usually they were not. :-)
Mary Alice

Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady said...

I adore this list! It is all so true. I especially can't stand the first one, it's like..such a sensitive subject and I see ppl making a huge deal out of it all the time when it's obvious it's umwelcomed.

I would add, not asking women what their husbands do for a living 30 seconds into meeting them...stop trying to size people up based off the wrong qualities.

Brittney said...

I totally agree with these. One of the things I look forward to is responding to unwanted pregnancy inquiries with "...I'm not pregnant." And then wait for their reactions!

Brittney

anotherbeautifulthing.blogspot.com

Sisters Marie said...

yup, the pregnant one is never a good question to ask. this is very spot on!!

Sisters Marie
Start your child's closet on BTGTF!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

These are all so true...we all really need to watch what we say. HAPPY EASTER!!!

Blessings,
Linda

Danielle Wood said...

Agreed x 1000000!! We've had one miscarriage and that was after several had asked when we'd have kiddos. It took what seemed like ages to get pregnant the first time. Our miscarriage was almost a year ago - and no baby yet. It's never easy to hear those questions! Thanks for sharing... =)

Happy Friday, friend!
Danielle

Linda Primmer said...

Lovely post. Everyone all dressed up in their Easter duds. You look fabulous! Love your not to ask questions....xo Linda

dee -@ The Old Fat Hen said...

Hi Merideth-when i was married to my first husband i had my beautiful daughter.But I kept being asked "so when are you having another one ? this went on for years and was very hurtful as I did want more children but it wasnt to be.Finally i snapped at a party when i was asked the dreaded question.... so when are you two having another baby? To which I replied Well we cant my husband is IMPOTENT...should have seen their faces.I just chuckled and went on my way.sorry for long comment-love dee x

~Kristi~ said...

Hey Meredith - I'm just catching up on some great blogs & thought I'd let you know how true this list is. I have a friend who I always want to ask one of these questions to - but so far I have been able to hold it in because you're right - I just don't know their situation.

I always have a hard time when people ask how my kids are doing in school. It just feels like a comparison waiting to happen.

Hope your family is doing well - and that you had a great Easter. (the pictures were beautiful!)