I’ve seen a few blog posts, articles, Instagram shots and even Facebook statuses on this topic before. I’ve read them, ‘liked’ them and even shared a couple around. So I thought I’d compile my own list of ‘questions that you should probably avoid’ asking those around you, from my own personal experience. I feel for you if any of these resonate with you – but I guess the real aim behind this is to simply state that
we should be more careful when we choose our questions.
I’ll admit it. I’d be tried and found guilty of asking some of these before – but of course, I’d plead ‘good intentions!’ Sometimes however, good intentions won’t get me very far. There really are some questions that are best left unasked.
1) “When are you getting married?”
This is applicable to both single AND dating people. I encountered this in both seasons of my life and never appreciated being asked it, unless the asker was a very close, personal friend. For a couple of reasons, this question always made me feel anxious in my heart. When I was single – it made me feel anxious because I didn’t have any immediate prospects for marriage. There was no ‘significant other’ in my life and I wasn’t sure how to go about ‘getting’ one. When I eventually was blessed with being a part of a duo, this question still made me feel anxious because what if this guy wasn’t who I was supposed to marry? What if this relationship would end in heart break, sadness and seemingly wasted time? There’s a lot of unintended pressure behind this question and for me, it left a lot of anxious feelings crawling around in my mind…
2) “When are you having kids?”
This is applicable to married couples, regardless of the length of their marriage. Often, this is the logical progression of life events = date, marry, bear children. But for many, this ‘tradition’ is not as simple or easy. Not only do I find this question to be impersonal and to some degree, no one else’s business – but I also feel that unless you’re 100% sure that whoever it is you’re asking this question of can actually have children, it shouldn’t even really cross your mind to ask it. I often find myself becoming resentful and embarrassed when I am asked this question – things I don’t enjoy feeling, even though most people who have asked me this question, again, have the best intentions. This question often leaves me feeling unaccomplished, like without plans to have children soon I am not amounting to my role as ‘wife’…asking a question like this makes it sound like it’s simply something I’ve just – whoops! – forgotten to do. On the contrary…
3) “What are you going to do next year?”
This is applicable to anyone, even if you have a stable job, have finished study, are married, single, with kids or without – this question is bound to come around the closer that Christmas and New Years approach. For me, I struggle to even think about what I’m doing next month let alone next year! And are you asking me this question because you want me to ask you what your grand plans are, or are you genuinely seeking to know me better…? Do you have ‘advice’ to offer me, or are you just wanting to pick apart what I have to say? See? This question gets me all sceptical, distrusting and suspicious – other qualities I don’t like in myself.
4) “What are you going to do after you graduate?”
Firstly, my response is the same as above – I can’t think about next month all that clearly, let alone further down the track! Secondly, I. Have. No. Idea. ‘Wherever the Holy Spirit leads me’ and ‘I’m pretty flexible’ are my go-to answers for this question. I honestly don’t know! Stop asking me, it’s stressing me out! *pulling my hair out* *grinding my teeth* This question places unnecessary anxiety again on my heart…finishing study? Stepping into the adult world? No more cheap bus tickets and movie tickets? What on earth am I going to do…?!
5) “When are you going to get a job?”
This one always gets me – even if you’re unemployed or employed part time/casually, a student, a graduate or whatever…this is a tough one to think about. Especially if you’ve been trying to get a job and just found yourself being knocked back. There are always other external factors behind these things – it’s not simply a matter of giving a specific date and time as an answer.
All of these questions are ones I have encountered in my own life and while it sounds like I’m venting, having a go and wanting to stamp my feet – I really just wanted to share that I feel there are some questions or variations thereof that should be considered twice – three times – before being asked. How well do you know the person? Do you know all of their personal circumstances? Are they the sort of person who would be open about answering? Why are you asking the question? How can knowing the answer better your relationship with that person?
I too have to check my own tongue sometimes. I too have to stop myself from prying sometimes. And at the end of the day, each of the answers to these questions has an underlying strength to it – God. God’s plans are greater, mightier, stronger, deeper, truer and more amazing than we could ever imagine and He will always be in control, leading His people individually along the paths that are right for them.