6 Questions you shold not ask me
Well, me or anyone else for that matter.
For the most part, asking each other questions is encouraged. It shows us that people are interested in who we are as people and that they care, or at least pretend to care. However, there are some questions that you should avoid asking, primarily because it will make the other person upset, uncomfortable, or pissed — particularly if you don’t know them that well.
Having said that, I’m pretty sure most of us have gone through those annoying moments when you really wanna box the other in the face or between the eyes, legs, hell, wherever one can reach and scream, NONE OF YOUR FREAKIN’ BUSINESS but instead you force a smile and reply some seemingly sane nonsense.
And honestly there could be more than 6. Questions that is. And people too…there is no dearth of ‘em on this planet but let’s just be lady like about it and say it’s only 6. Like those quick tip posts on self-improvement which are supposed to help you grow as an individual. Try. Please. At the least try, give me hope hallelujah!
So here we go…
1. What happened babe? You look tired/sick.
Seriously. Haven’t you met them? Those acquaintances you bump into at parties, who start a dialogue with that question. And here you are, having taken like 2 hours to get dressed, applied every trick of make up to look air brushed and natural, and you say, I look tired?! Like really?! This is your conversation starter? You may be asking out of concern, but that concern makes me look kind of like shit. So just keep your question to yourself unless I’m panting uncontrollable, crawling on the floor, start sneezing or coughing up a storm.
Do you honestly expect me to continue talking to you after this? Right after you have dramtically tried to ruin my confidence do you really want me to hug you, appreciate your candidness, whilst I compliment your dress, handbag, your hot fuchsia lipstick?
Yet what I ended up saying: ‘Really?! No I’m fine,’ and then go on to make an excuse for some retarded reason as a compensation for your faux concern, ‘maybe coz I just had a really busy day.’
However what I really wanted to say: ‘No I’m not tired. In fact I can run all over you and complete a 5K marathon of the choicest words without even asking for a glass of water. Shall I?’
2. What’s wrong? You have changed.
Gosh! These are those who call themselves friends but really are on the periphery of your friendship circle. Far from the core but still in the ring kinda thing. And they will meet you after a gap of weeks, months, sometimes years and insist they can sense that something’s wrong with you or your life. ‘You’re just not the same, where’s the old (include your name here) I knew.’
Please note that these so called friends will have made no effort in this period of absence to keep in touch with you or check on how you’re doing. Yet all of a sudden they now have the right to make a judgement call on your personality. Where’s Judge Judy when I need her, dammit?!
And I politely said: “No really, nothing like that, all is well. Come on, I am the same.’
When I really should have said: Yes. I have changed. It’s called evolution! Clearly something you’ve missed altogether. Aka growth, maturity, wisdom, better person… anything ring a bell here?! You know, people change. That’s usually a good thing.
3. Are you pregnant?
Oh! This one’s so tricky, so unless you’re 100% sure someone is knocked up — please — don’t ask. Ask someone else who might be a little more in-the-know. You can ask someone how they’re doing (while not staring at their belly) and if they want to tell you about their uterus’s houseguest, they will.
But more often than not you will get those nosy aunties and/or those whose curiosity killed all the cats in the neighborhood, whose sole survival depends on the fertility of your sex life. Regardless then, if I have my Lumbar 5 and 6 knotted in a twist which has me sitting up and down gingerly or if I have gained a few extra pounds they will be there to remind me that there can be a feeling far worse than it.
Is there good news? They ask.
I’d almost apologetically reply: ‘No, just my back.’ And then go into the back story.
What I’d like to have said: ‘Oh! It’s just my stomach. Some days I wear it out like my shirt, it kinda hangs out then. Other days I tuck it in, like this… see! All gone. Amazing isn’t it?! It’s Gods miracle. You wanna try? Suck it in. Come on, suck it up! And I guess I’m due to watch you get super embarrassed in about 20 seconds from now.’
People! It’s no rocket science to understand why ‘are you pregnant’ doesn’t fly. You really can’t be too cautious. I’ve chatted with a friend in her eighth month and still waited for her to bring it up first. Still less awkward than a false positive. If you still don’t get it, as a general guide, use this chart.
4. How is your English so good?
Now this one I get all the time especially here in the United States or when travelling abroad. I wonder why Indians are assumed to not be able to speak English well. I don’t understand why people make it sound like a big deal. Why do they think that someone with good English can only be American or British; and an Indian speaking good English is some sort of wonder or miracle?
What I’d say: Thank you, English is really almost like the first language back home.
What I wish I had said: ‘So is yours, thank you.’
‘Here’s how; It is the medium of instruction in education, formal language of business and law in the country. The standard use of English through media, internet and information technology has made it a universal language in a country which speaks 22 major languages, written in 13 different scripts, approximately 1652 rationalized mother toungues, with over 720 dialects.
All of the above factors keep reinforcing one another. It’s no wonder then that there is a good proportion of Indians who can speak basic to really good English.’
5. Another holiday? Oh what a life you have, you are so lucky.
This one will resonate with so many of you who have a job like mine which requires you to travel. Like all the time. Therefore trust me, it’s NOT a holiday. It’s work. Another day of making a living. Not complaining… Totally grateful coz I love what I do and I do what I love but no, my bags don’t have flip flops, sand or souveniers in them. So, clearly you have got it all wrong.
Yet I’d answer imploringly: ‘I wish! But no, not at all. It’s a work trip, you know that.’
When I’d rather have said: Ya right. Would you like to join me whilst I consistently pack, unpack and repack with the efficiency of a crazed robot, live life out of a grey suit case with a red ribbon, marry jet lag and PMS across time zones?
6. If you don’t mind can I ask you a personal question?
Yikes! This one takes the cake. You’ll be at a party or at a social gathering and you’ll have that one sample case who will plant this question and many a times not even wait for you to reply. They will just go ahead and ask you the most intimate detail of your life.
I don’t even feel like elaborating on this one. Let’s just put it this way…if you’re my close friend you wouldn’t need to ask me. Most likely I would’ve already told you what you’re about to ask me. You’d already know. So it really comes down to only two options.
Are you a close friend?
Are you not a close friend?
Are you not a close friend?
Trust me, it’s not a trick question. Coz if you’re not then you don’t get to ask and if you are then you wouldn’t ask, you’d know, or we’d have our own ways of talking about it which surely would not include this question in a public setting.
And yet what I’d end up saying is: ‘Yeah sure!’
Whereas what I wanted to say is: ‘No!’ — Really nothing more than that. Just that, two letters, NO!
Basically as a thumb rule, if you’re not sure whether a question is appropriate to broach, chances are, it’s not. When it comes to curiosity, discretion is certainly the better part of valor.
Fortunately I have come a long way since then. I learned the art of speaking my mind assertively because it hurt too much to bite my tongue all the time.
So there you are. My ½ a dozen. Add to it by all means. I’d love to hear yours too.Go ahead, answer that if you may.