Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Forbidden question

I attended a workshop today. There I met a colleague (works on same area of work as I do, just for another company. My age. 3 children under 7). We have known each other for 15 years, she is my age. I used to meet her on different work related events more often in the first 10 years, now I haven't seen her for the last few years. We sat together during the workshop and were talking lots of different work related topic when she suddenly asks: "And - how are your children?"

How I hate this question. It has been a while since I last heard it, but it makes me angry anyway.

I replied: "Why are you asking me this question?". And I was staring her directly in her eyes. If she made me feel awkward, I was entitled to do the same.

She asked (very very confused): "But - you do have children, don't you?".

Me: "No. I hate being asked this question."

Then she apologized.

I know she will always think that I am weird. But I don't care. Really. 

Why couldn't she ask: "Do you have children?". It is so easy to reply no and that solves a problem.

Please please God - can you make sure that nobody ever again asks me how my children are.

(Because the next time somebody asks me that I will tell that 10 of them lived for couple of days and now they are all dead.)


  1. Oh dear, you've bumped into quite a few people asking the wrong questions. I also cross my fingers so that they stop asking you those questions!!!! But first of all, HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Maybe you've made her think. Maybe she'll never make assumptions again. So good for you!

  3. Ouch!! Hugs you!!
    I hope that your reaction made her think, and that she never ever ask such questions again!

  4. Ouch is right. I feel so bad that you keep encountered these people who ask these "unthoughtful" (it is the only word I can think to call these) questions. I really wish people would think before they speak (shaking my head right now). I would react the same way you did because enough is enough - they should feel the same "sting"! At this point I wouldn't care what she thought of me either. Big hugs to you.

  5. dear girls,
    thank you for your support and comments.

    When I spend all day in the office, doing my job, everything is OK. The problem always occurs when the company sends me for different gatherings / events / etc. (that I need to go since it is related with my work). Because there are occasions for small talks (that I hate).

    I love to talk to people.

    I hate small talks.

    Somethimes I just wish I had a job where I would not meet anybody all day. Somewhere in nature.

    I hate to think that in 15 years people will start to bother me again with "So, do you have any grandchildren YET?" By that time I guess I will buy myself T-shirts with a slogan "Grannies are good only to get money from." (I am sure that vast majority of teenagers thinks that in this modern society).

  6. I had a similar situation last week. I finally got full-time at my job (for a city government), so I had to fill out paperwork for health/life insurance. The first form required me to list everyone in my home. I put down my husband's information. The human resources woman said "It's only you and your husband?" in a rather disbelieving voice. I just said "yes" and left it at that. Another worker filling was filling out forms because he is the new Cemetery Superintendent. I felt like saying, "yes, it's just me and my husband. Our only son is under Mr. Cemetery's care." However, I have learned that people just look at me as if I've said something wrong if I say something like that, so I just kept it to myself. It bothered me more than I should let it. I don't know how to not be bothered by comments like that.

    So glad Wolf is doing okay.

    1. dear Jeanne,
      congratulations on full-time job!
      Yes, it is difficult to handle comments and questions like that.
      And there aren't only words, it is how they are said (I can imagine HR woman and her disbelieving voice...).