Some things shouldn’t be asked of others no matter how well you know them. Though you may desperately want to know the information, ultimately these topics are incredibly personal and are up to the person to bring up if and when they want to so give them the choice to do so instead of forcing it upon them with your intrusive questioning. Avoid the following questions unless you are completely assured the person being asked won’t be offended.
- Are you Pregnant?- I don’t care if the woman looks like she swallowed an entire beach ball, do not ask this question. You’re potentially calling a non-pregnant women incredibly fat and even if she is pregnant, then it’s kind of a duh-question to be asking anyways. Most pregnant women are very vocal in letting others know their condition so just wait for them to discuss it and if they don’t, you could still be in doubt but practice restraint and leave this question alone.
- When are you getting married? The person or couple you’re asking may have decided marriage isn’t in the cards for them or they’re wanting to wait for things in other parts of their lives to calm down before they consider engagement. Just because they’re in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean they’re even thinking of marriage yet or ever. This question can put in-due pressure on the couple to live up to other’s expectations and cause problems for their relationship. Let them be happy and if they’re happy without getting married then so be it.
- Are you going to have children? This is a popular question asked of newlyweds when they just escaped the “When are you getting married” questioning. Women are capable of having children into their 40’s so there’s not the sense of urgency to have children early anymore so even if the woman is in her late 20’s-late 30’s she still technically has time to consider what she wants to do. Yes, it may be harder the longer she waits, but this isn’t your business either way. Also, you don’t know what she’s been through, maybe she and her partner have actively been trying to get pregnant and have had it be incredibly hard for them or God forbid, the woman just had a miscarriage- you just brought up a topic that is incredibly painful for the woman for no good reason other than you’re being nosy. That’s a soul crushing question to those struggling with fertility or who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy recently so just back away from ever asking this. Congratulate them when they make the baby announcement but leave them alone until then.
- Why don’t you want to have children? For those who simply cannot understand the idea of not wanting children either by choice or by circumstance, this question seems completely harmless, but it’s highly insulting. Do not, I repeat do not, tell the person they’re selfish or they’ll change their mind at some point. Both are rude and can be pointed right back around to the pro-children person if we want to be honest If a person or couple decides to never have children, treat it the exact way as someone who chooses to have children. You don’t have to agree with it. Just accept it. They made their choice so if you want them to respect your choice to have children, if you have them, you need to show the same level of respect.
- Are you gay/a transgender person? Why do you need this information exactly? Unless you’re on a date or about to ask the person on a date, this is absolutely not your business. Maybe the person hasn’t officially come out yet or they have come out but not to everyone and they’re scared the wrong people will find out. Maybe they’re scared if they admit to being gay or transgender they’re going to expose themselves to violence. There’s many reasons why someone won’t want to discuss their sexual identity. Don’t make them have a discussion they may not be ready to have.
- What race are you? A lot of children are the products of inter-racial relationships and thus don’t have an easily identifiable race you can pin them down to. So what? If you want to ask their background, word it in a better way like “Where does your family come from? ” This question can come off as racist so even if you do find a polite way to ask it, the person being asked may question what the purpose of the question is.
- Have you put on weight? Like the pregnancy question, anything regarding a woman’s body is best left un-asked. If you’re having to ask this question then honestly we both know you know the answer so why embarrass the person being asked with an off-hand insult like that? People’s weight will vary for all kinds of reasons- they may have a medical reason, they may be going through a personal crisis, they may just have discovered stuffed crust pizza dipped in ranch dressing. Your question is hostile either way since you’re bringing their weight into the conversation when that’s most likely the very last thing they want to discuss.
- What religion are you? Are you asking this to get a ride to church? No? Then don’t ask. With all of the discrimination against Muslims in America right now and pretty much anything that isn’t good old Christian puritan beliefs, you’re asking a loaded question that the other person may refuse to answer for the sake of their and their family’s safety. This is just like the “Why aren’t you having children?” question in that you’re probably going to differ on what your choices are. You can’t force your religious beliefs on others and you shouldn’t feel like you have that right just as much as they can’t force their beliefs on you.
- How old are you? Just guesstimate unless of course we’re talking about possible statutory rape or they’re trying to buy alcohol from your business and they look underage. Some people are proud of their age and will willingly answer and some hate the concept of aging and go into denial mode. Just guess and if they confirm your guess then great but otherwise this isn’t a major thing to know. Ask them questions about their childhood and that’ll give you a clue as to what decade they grew up in and you can try to do the math.
- How much money do you make? Ask this question and you’ll automatically be seen as a mooch or wanting that information for less than noble reasons. Now, I will say, this is a valuable question to ask a trusted co-worker since equal pay for equal work and all that but if you’re just friends and work in totally different fields, then why do you need to know this? You could ask something like what the salary range is for that person’s job or does it pay well for all of the work they do? Just don’t ask for an actual figure unless you’re planning on opening a loan with them and have a need-to-know right to this as in the case that you’re marrying the person. Otherwise, as long as they’re able to pay their bills and have a little leftover every month, this isn’t a number you need to know.
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