When are you going to have kids? Are you going to have another child? Have you thought about adoption? What about IVF? Are you going to get married? Did your house sell? Did you get the job? Why do we insist on asking questions that are highly likely to trigger embarrassment? We may think that it’s just friendly concern or polite interest in other people’s lives to ask such personal questions. But the couple trying to conceive or stuck in the adoption pool dread these questions and can even start to withdraw socially to avoid being put on the spot once again.
I am often asked by clients how to respond to these intrusions into their private lives. They want to say None of your business, but they don’t want to cause offence. So here you have people who are worried about upsetting the ones who are being pretty thoughtless. No wonder they start to keep to themselves.
Surely it would be better to have a general policy not to ask personal questions, even if they are a close friend. We can all assume that if there was news they wanted to share, we would hear about it. They wouldn’t be waiting patiently for us to ask the question before they tell us that they are pregnant, have finally sold the house, are engaged, or have been told that there is a child for them to adopt.
We may have the best intentions – to be supportive and enthusiastic, but an even better person keeps their interest and curiosity in check until someone has something they want us to know.