I ask a lot of questions.
I do this for three reasons:
- I’m nosy.
- I’m generally awkward in conversation so I tend to ask questions to fill in the spaces where I would otherwise just be standing their saying “umm” over and over and basically making an ass of myself.
- I, (for reasons, I’ve never been able to fully explain) generally care about inane things like near-strangers’ favorite foods, favorite colors and middle names. (This is weird, I know. At this point, let’s just consider this the weirdness disclaimer for this post. I’m weird. We’ve covered that, now let’s move on.)
So, it’s out there, I ask a lot of questions and sometimes I may even ask a question that is really none of my business. Sorry about that. If I ever do that to you, please feel free to tell me to mind my own business. I was probably just asking to fill in the awkward pauses of our conversation anyway, so it’s unlikely I’ll even care.
But despite all of my nosiness and admitted social awkwardness, there is one question I never ask.
It’s a question I get often from near-strangers. As a married, near-30-year-old woman who doesn’t have children, I hear it a lot: “So, when are you going to have kids?”
This question, frankly, annoys the hell out of me.
There, I said it – this annoys me. A lot.
I know it shouldn’t, but it does.
I know that the people asking me this question don’t mean to offend me. I know they just think they’re making conversation. I know they think they’re asking a question as innocuous as what my favorite color is.
Rationally, I know that they don’t mean any harm and are truthfully just trying to talk to me about what they think is the next logical step at this point in my life.
I know that, I get that, but it still annoys me.
It annoys me because it means near-strangers are assuming they know something about who I am and what I want before they even know me (and likely, before they even know my favorite color because apparently no one else asks that).
It annoys me because, call me a prude all you want, but I think this sort of thing is kind of personal. Try as I might, I just don’t understand how it’s socially acceptable for near-strangers to ask you when you are going to have kids but it’s totally taboo to ask the same people “So, are you two using condoms these days, or what?”
I say if you’re going to ask about people’s reproductive activities, you should have to go bold with it. If you don’t know someone well enough to ask them the condoms question, I don’t think you should ask them the “So, when are you going to have kids?” question.
Ultimately, whichever way the question is phrased, it’s just an annoyance to me, a pet peeve which can be easily ignored.
But for some people, it could be more.
It could be hurtful.
Think about it – if a couple is trying to have a child and having a hard time of it, do you really think they want near-strangers to ask them: “So, when are going to have kids?”
I don’t know. Maybe they would like to talk about.
But what I do know is, they should be the ones who get to broach the subject, not you.
Even if you don’t mean any harm.
Even if you’re just curious.
Even if you just want to share in the happiness of their possibly-upcoming bundle of joy.
Whatever your reason for asking, I still encourage you not to.
Because you don’t really need to.
If someone you know is expecting a baby, they will tell you at a time of their choosing probably with a cute baby announcement on social media where they set out their shoes alongside a teeny-weeny adorable set of baby shoes or something.
(Sidenote: Baby shoes are so freaking cute. I don’t know why. They’re just regular shoes but smaller but still there’s something about them.)
Anyway, when that time comes, you can share in the parents’ excitement and their joy.
Because, odds are, if you really need to know about someone’s pregnancy or their baby, they’ll tell you.
You don’t need to ask.