Thursday, March 05, 2015

Personal Question Etiquette

Seriously, what's with people I barely know thinking they have the right to ask me personal questions?!?  It's like I'm a magnet for these sort of rude people! Is it just me, or does anyone else have this problem?

Thou shalt not ask people about physical flaws
I've had mere acquaintances and even strangers approach me and ask about a scar, a pimple, a mole or something else they've found odd about my face. "How'd you get that?", or, "What's that?" they ask goggle-eyed. Ummm none of your darn business! Yes, I'm quite aware that I have lumps and bumps, marks and scars.  I do own a mirror.  It's called life and many of these flaws may have personal stories attached to them which I do not want to share with you. I see people with warts, scars, birthmarks and burns all the time. I don't ask them how they got them, or what they are. That person is probably already struggling with self-consciousness and doesn't need my nosiness making them feel worse. Unless you're a close friend of that person, or they volunteer their story, you don't ask - ever!

Thou shalt not ask unless thou are prepared to answer thy same questions
If someone asks a personal question, they must also be prepared to answer that same question if it is thrown back at them. I get that all the time from older women who ask me my age, yet are very coy or indignant about being asked to reveal their own. You ask me, I ask you.  That's the deal.

Thou shalt not ask about family planning
This is a deeply sensitive and private topic.  It's amazing the number of people who see no harm in asking when someone is going to have a baby, or have another.  Maybe that couple have been struggling with infertility or had multiple miscarriages.  Just because you can pop them out like there's no tomorrow, doesn't mean everyone else can.

Thou shalt not ask in front of a group
If there anything worse than being asked a private or embarrassing question, it's when they do it in front of a gaggle of onlookers.  It's like they're deliberately trying to humiliate me.

If you notice someone's flaw,
Remember their pain may be raw.
Leave your questions on the shelf,
Think of someone besides yourself.

Don't expect someone to share,
Unless you show that you care,
By being gentle and discreet,
And sharing your story with those you meet.

1 comment:

Iris Flavia said...

In countries where people are less educated, like the Caribbean, I found they very blankly asked me about my scars - not meaning to put me in the open or such. Just pure interest (ok, looked like a cordon bleu the first years, but also later).
They meant no harm, they just did not think so far.
And I liked them better as those who stare and say nothing.
Here people who have scars or missing limbs dare ask.
On one hand you are right, on the other... they maybe just show interest in your person and try to find a way to approach you?
The older I get the less I care and think, yes, was part of my life, not a nice one, but made me stronger, can I help you with my story, you´re welcome (ok, but I´m oooold ;-)...)