Ever since my LDS mission to Los Angeles (so many blogs will come later on the experiences I had during those two years ... awesome!), which was really the first time I had to learn to "make conversation," I have been a fan of asking lots of questions, all the time.
When Karen and I were first dating we played a game as we would drive around town (holding hands and kissing at red stop lights ... cue the "awwww" sounds), where one person had to ask a question. The other person then had to answer the question (no matter what it was) and then it was their turn to ask a question. The only other rule was that you couldn't just ask the same question back to the person who originally asked it. You had to come up with at least three other questions beforehand and then if you still remember the original question you could ask it.
It may sound cheesy, but it was a great way to really get to know each other during our courtship. I think it made all the difference in terms of our preparedness for being married, living together, raising children, where we would live, etc. We should probably re-enact that game because I am sure there is plenty we could benefit from talking more about. :)
Anyway, today I was reading a fellow blogger's post (shout out to my previously mentioned Choir Director Amy!) and she was talking about a question she is often asked when out in public with her 5 children. That question is: "Are you going to have any more kids?" Or "Are you done having kids?" ... or some variation along that theme.
I, myself, have been asked this question very often and am always surprised at the boldness of the person asking it. Today, that blog got me thinking about questions we should probably never ask, so here is my list of questions that came to my mind this afternoon each prefaced with the situation in which you might find yourself tempted to ask said question (and with my comments on why not to ask that question, if needed):
To ANY woman EVER:
|He must have asked|
one of those questions
- Having a bad hair day? (How is this question going to improve things if she is ?)
- Got dressed in the dark again huh? (Again, no benefit here)
- Have you put on weight? (Seriously! Do you have a death wish?!)
- Are those ALL your kids? (If the answer is yes, then your next question should be "How do you do it?!" followed very quickly by "That's amazing!" If the answer is no, then you're on your own. I say don't risk it.)
To ANY man EVER:
- Do these (fill in the blank) make me look fat? (Not trying to be sexist here, but men are fairly simple creatures and we will answer this question and you won't like the answer. Like that Men's Wearhouse guy "I guarantee it!")
- How long has your hair been receding like that? (Despite our tough exterior, hair loss never feels good so please don't bring it up. And while I'm at it, don't tell us it would look better parted the other way. Trust me, we've tried. It did not work.)
- What happened to your face? (Whether a guy has scars (big or small), a band-aid in an awkward place or a whole cat stapled to his cheek, one way or another you will eventually wish you had NOT asked this question.)
- Would you like some dessert? (A waste of your time. The answer is always YES!!!)
To a friend who lives out of town and just stopped by your house for a visit:
- Do you have a place to stay tonight? (If so, they now feel guilty for not being good enough friends with you to stay at your place. If not, now they will be staying with you. Have you not seen Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?!)
At a sporting event where you are cheering the visiting team:
- Can you believe how bad (home team) sucks? (People may soon afterward be asking you "What happened to your face?")
At a car dealership:
- Do you have anything for (specific dollar amount) a month? (Trust me when I say they might not have before, but they will now! You just got ripped off!)
At a car repair shop (see also: brakes, tires, oil change place):
- How much is this going to run me? (Waste of your words. You'll never get the total amount until well after the work has been done and now you're on the hook for whatever they thought was the "right thing.)
In any serious business meeting:
- Anybody want to hear a dirty joke? (This is what an old boss of mine called a CLM ... Career Limiting Move.)
- Do we have to be here? (Another CLM. It may get a laugh from your peers, but it will land you in the office of someone you don't want to visit.)
To Josh (me) when I am at work:
- Are you Busy? (Link to my prior blog on this one for the full story.)
- Do you ever do any real work? (I'll answer you with one of many sarcastic responses ... and then I'll pull reports on your responsibilities and send a strongly-worded e-mail to your boss! Okay, not really, but I'll think about doing it while I pretend not to care.)
So what question(s) have you learned NOT to ask?