12 January 2016

7 Things Never to Say to People Who Have Ears

1. "When will you...?"

Seriously. Just don't ask anyone when they'll do/experience/achieve/finish anything, ever. They won't take this question as a legitimate appeal for information, they'll instead feel judged and belittled when you ask things like:

"When will you graduate from college?"
"When will you go to the grocery store?"
"When will you send in the recommendation letter you promised to write for me?"
"When will you have a baby?"
"When will you be done reading the LOTR series?"

People don't want to be reminded of their procrastination. You'll know when it happens. Maybe. If you happen to see the Facebook status update.

2. "I think you should..."

They don't care what you think. They care what they think. Advice is insulting. It assumes they don't know everything and might need some guided suggestions along the road of life. So avoid suggestions like:

"I think you should try to pay off your students loans faster by paying more than the minimum payment."
"I think you should rinse the rice before you cook it."
"I think you should go easy on the blush. Don't want to look back at old pictures and wonder what you were thinking."
"I think you should buy a car that fits your budget instead of a brand-new Honda."

3.  "Is/Are ____ real/natural?"

People really hate being questioned as to their reality, for some reason. I mean, I feel like people wouldn't be threatened by this, either you're real or you're not and either one is okay. I mean, I'm a cosmetologist so I wouldn't need to ask in the first place--fake is visible a mile away. So, if you don't want to offend anyone but you're still curious, go to beauty school.

"Is your red hair natural?"
"Is your blue hair natural?"
"Are your sculpted, embellished nails that are .5 inches longer than your fingertips natural?
"Is this really your baby?"
"Have you really worked at this Fortune 500 company listed on your resume?"
"Is there a real person writing this blog?"

4. "Are you sick?"

If you're asking this question, either 1) the person isn't sick, their appearance is just subpar and they would thank you not to notice. 2) They are sick, but don't want to take leave from work so they are still appearing in public instead of resting at home and would thank you not to notice. 3) You are a medical professional and nobody wants to talk to you because you ask more invasive questions than anyone else on the planet.

"You look pale, are you sick?"
"You just fainted, are you sick?"
"You're flushed and sweaty and your temperature is 102, are you sick?"

5. "{Something they do or like} is foolish/boring/a waste of money/waste of time."

They don't care about your random opinions, okay! They don't care so very, very much that they will be greatly hurt by the opinions you hold if they happen to be opposite to their own opinions. So just keep your opinions to yourself. Unless you agree with theirs. Then feel free to share those opinions, but only those.

"Going to DisneyWorld is a waste of money."
"Mowing your lawn twice a week is a waste of time."
"Eating lots of donuts when you should watching your blood sugar is foolish."
"Jigsaw puzzles are boring."
"Blogging is a waste of time."

6. "You're lucky/blessed/spoiled. I wish I had your _____."

Nope. Nobody wants other people noticing what an awesome life they have and then giving the credit to luck or blessings. They've earned every bit of awesomeness in their life through their own blood, sweat and tears. Either that, or they don't actually have an awesome life and if you experienced it for a minute you'd be making some un-wishes real fast. Don't go wishing for my curls because you have no idea what they're like to live with. You might think you're just trying to pay someone a compliment in an overly dramatic way, but chances are, they'll get offended, because people like getting offended almost more than they like homemade bread, fresh from the oven. So keep your compliments to yourself, why don't ya!

"You're lucky with those curls! I wish I had your hair!"
"You're so blessed! I wish I had a job with vacation time like that!"
"You're so spoiled! I wish I had a close family like yours."

7. "Why...?"

How dare you ask them to explain their reasoning behind making certain choices. What good could it possibly do to talk through the reasoning process so that both people can understand the thoughts that are behind a decision? That couldn't possibly be a useful conversation to both parties, could it?

"Why do you want to get that tattoo?"
"Why are you majoring in Mandarin Chinese?"
"Why did you quit your job to move overseas?"
"Why don't you have a baby?"
"Why are you wearing that dress?"
"Why don't you eat foods containing gluten?"


So let's all just make one big happy community of people who don't question or advise or dramatically compliment each other, because better spare someone's feelings than make another person, perhaps one you love and care about, experience an uncomfortable conversation.

I think sometimes we forget that we are each the boss of exactly one mouth, our own. And, on average, we can barely even keep that mouth under control so I'm not exactly sure what gave us the delusion that we should feel qualified to boss other people's mouths around and tell them what not to say to us.
Kim @ Pages and Pekoe said...

Great list! I agree with, and have heard, every single one! People love having an opinion on other people's lives when they find their own life incredibly boring ... or that's what I tell myself!

Angi said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS. I have to admit I was a bit worried when I started reading. I was thinking "Oh no, not ANOTHER one of these posts." All I can ever think when I'm being told what I should never say to another person is, "Boy, you must be the most easily offended person on the planet." What not to say to short people. What not to say to tall people. What not to say to pregnant people. What not to say to someone struggling with their weight. What not to say to a skinny person. Good Lord, make it stop! How about we quit telling others what not to say to us and instead work on not being so easily offended? Because that's in the Bible, too.

I'm glad to see there's at least one other person out there who doesn't get their underwear in a wad when someone dares to ask them an innocent and most likely well-intended question.

Michelle said...

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Your satire is always on point. I cringe every time I see a post telling me not to say/ask/think something. High five, Rachel.

Rachel said...

This is awesome. What a great post! I am definitely guilty of probably all of those things, but love how this puts things into perspective.

AnneMarie said...

Big YES to all of these! I especially like #6, 'cause I feel like people (okay, especially women-I've done that before, too) do it a lot! Really, it doesn't serve as a compliment, it can also just makes everything a lot more negative because another person is basically demeaning himself or herself. Instead of (just for example) "Wow, I wish I was as thin as you!" being a compliment, it only shows me 1. How you are dissatisfied with your appearance, 2. That you'd like to publicly judge yourself against me in appearance, and 3. That this conversation is really about you wanting to vent and pout. But really, all of these are grand. And as someone who got #1 so many times as a newlywed (drove me crazy!!), I can testify to the importance of spreading the message of your blog post :)

Kristina said...

That was pretty subtle...I was confused, because this post seemed to contradict your views from earlier. But really, we should never ask anybody anything, ever. ;)

Gillian said...

Love this!!! So done with everyone being offended by everything. There will always be someone that disagrees with you, but if you truly believe in your choices/beliefs/whatevers, it shouldn't bother you what others think. :)

Rachel said...

Probably because I know my own views on the matter, this didn't seem subtle to me, but I guess I should have been a little more obvious in my satire. :)

Unknown said...

I totally agree with these! Especially "When will you...?" My husband and I get "When will you guys start having kids?" often and we hate it.

All the Best,
Allison |

Lindsey Smallwood said...

Ha! Love this, and the way your presented it, very funny. But seriously, stop asking me "When will you..."

Courtney said...



Seriously laughing out loud while simultaneously groaning

Shelby said...

I love the first one. Everyone time I come home from college I get the question "when will you ever find a boyfriend?" UGH. Anyway, I followed your post a few years ago and I recently decided to reboot my blog. So excited to be back and I'm happy to see you're still dedicated to it!

Unknown said...

Hahaha, so many yesses to this! You are spot on...I feel passionately about "Are you sick?" though. Nothing makes me RAGE like someone asking me if I'm sick or telling me I look sick. But I also feel strongly about many of the others, too. While this post was spot on, I love that you added some humor to it!

Farrah said...

hahaha, I cracked up when I read this. <3

Farrah said...

Ahahaha, I loved this! So very true to all of the things you mentioned! My family has been all up in my business lately in regards to my love life, so I've been getting a lot of "When will you get married/have kids?" (they recently tried to set me up with someone, so I have a post coming up on that next week, har har) and #6 + #7 ("Why didn't you find someone in med school?/Why don't your relationships ever last?") lately, and...yeah no.

Unknown said...

Funny and fun post Rachel. I have heard these all and I have been one who has said some. This is great

Mica said...

haha this gave me a giggle! It's true, sometimes people can be a bit too sensitive with curious questions. But also, when you get the same questions over and over again it can start to get on your nerves a bit. I just try to be as polite as I can, not assume anything, and avoid any lines of questioning that I know have upset myself or friends/family in the past.

Away From The Blue Blog

Robyn B said...

hahahah!!!! ;) "is this REALLY your baby?!" is my favorite one!

Unknown said...

I love this! I've heard every last one of these it's getting old. -.-
Your humour makes the post. :)

Christie’s Take on Life. x

Anonymous said...

Your list is both funny and very true! I've heard quite a few of these, myself. Thanks for giving me a laugh this morning!

Crystal said...

I love this! The title, how funny it is and how TRUE it is!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I've been asked when are we having a baby about 30 times since we got married a month ago!

Unknown said...

This is great and hilarious. While the post is humorous it's definitely true and I'm all too guilt of violating some of these AND I hear them all the time. I'm sorry but some of these are a necessary evil. I will always need my boyfriend to explain the logic of locking both bathroom doors when he goes in and only unlocking one when he leaves out. lol


Lilly's Home Designs said...

This is soo funny but it's true some people don't realize how judgmental they are being when saying these things!

Abby said...

I love this! I think we're about to the point of no more questions. Ever.

Unknown said...

Oh, GAWD... these are all awful and they make my ears bleed. I was once telling a woman I worked with about my upcoming vacation to Hawaii and she responded by saying "well, aren't YOU lucky" and it upset me so much. Because I had worked my tooshie off for that job (not to mention, I was still paying it off a few months later). Anyway, the point is, yes. Don't ever say any of these things or you risk seriously hurting/offending/pissing off the people around you :)

Cori Large said...

Fantastic list!
(1) When are you having kids? [Not on your effing time table that's for sure.]
(2) I think you should buy new clothes. [There's nothing wrong with the clothes I have. You just don't like them.]
(3) Are you a natural blonde? [Yes, when I was a kid. Now I make my hair blonde before it refuses to stay blonde on its own. And I don't care who knows it.]
(4) Are you sick? [No, just not wearing make up. Thanks.]
(5) _____ is stupid. [This is regularly said to me by my grandmother who I have very little in common with.]
(6) [I personally don't have an issue with this one.]
(7) Why are you taking nutritional anthropology? [Because I want to. Not asking you for money to take it either.]

People sometimes. Grrr

Unknown said...

This is so true! Especially of number 5 and 6. I get that a lot about all the travel I do. People say I'm so lucky to be able to do that and it's because of this, that or the other thing which isn't even remotely true. And I get a lot of people saying it's a waste of money or time or whatever and if I make that much money I should spend it on better things. Like it's not your business what I spend my money on and you don't know how much I make. People!

Charlene Maugeri said...

Amen! I laughed out loud at the first one because Pearson and I just talked about that. He has been in grad school for 3.5 years and is nowhere close to finishing. The thing with Science PhDs (and maybe all PhDs, I just don't have experience with anything else) is that there is no completion date. You finish when you finish. There is an average number of years that people take to finish, but really everyone is different. Anyway, before Christmas he told me that he dreads talking to all our family and friends who we never see because they will ask him when he will be finished and he HATES that question. And sure enough that was one of the first things everyone said to him. I actually giggled every time someone asked because we had just had the conversation.

Jenny Evans said...

I look forward to reading the sequel to this post: 7 Ways Not to Look at Other People Who May or May Not Get Offended.

Patty said...

YES on #2!!!!! Free (especially unwanted advice) doesn't usually go well.

Something fun to read after a long day! :)

Unknown said...

This was great! I think whenever we maybe feel offended by something, we should look at whether the person in question really had malicious intentions at heart, or whether they were trying to be nice and it came out a little wrong!

xo, Laura

Unknown said...

Great post. My favou #2...i am always amazed by the advise people give to others.

Pary Moppins said...

Oh man, the worst question I was ever asked was when I was pregnant and it started with "Was it..." as in "Was it planned?" Ehrmehgerd! Some people...sheesh!

Natalie said...

Every time I read your posts, I'm reminded of just how AWESOME you are!! :D I love this post because all of these bug me, too. Given all of the things in the world that someone could ask you, why do they seem to gravitate towards these?! I hated all of the overly personal questions I got when I was pregnant, but I am pretty blunt with my family and friends, so they didn't really ask too much more when I asked them not to. Strangers, however, seem to have NO boundaries whatsoever!

Jazmine Lopez said...

Yep! I think you hit all the points that bother me when people ask. Another one to add is What do you want to do when you grow up? or Where do your see yourself 5 years from now? I can barely decided on what outfit to wear today, I don't know.

Brita Long said...

Not gonna lie, I couldn't tell if this was satire or not. Excellent writing! I do get your point, and I'm sure many of us could lighten up a little.

But for me, these conversations often become the proverbial straw that breaks my back. I had Crohn's Disease for 20 years before I finally got pissed enough to write a blog post explaining why it's rude for people to give me unsolicited medical advice.