Post # 1
Hi CBC bees! I am hoping you can help me figure out what to say in this recurring situation:
Someone I do not know politely asks something about my child (maybe he is with me, maybe a mutual friend mentions him, it doesn’t really matter how she knows about him, just that she brings him up). I answer and then politely ask if she has children-because it feels rude and one-sided not to. If she does not have children, I am at a loss for what to say next-and I am already somewhat anxious when meeting new people. I do not care at all if she is CBC, a fence-sitter (I was for years!), or TTC, but the latter two groups often add a comment to that effect. However, if she simply says “no” or says “no, I do not want kids” I always seem to be a bit awkward as I change the subject. I think this is because I know it is such a charged, sensitive subject for so many people; after getting so many rude comments myself when I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids, and hearing about so many more awful comments other bees have received, I don’t want to contribute to that! Any idea what you would want to hear in this situation? I’m basically trying to think of a line I can say before changing the subject. FWIW, not asking is she has kids doesn’t seem to be an option as I think women who do have kids sometimes ask about mine to start a conversation about kids.
Post # 2
I think just asking ‘do you have any children?’ would work, if she says no, then cool you get to move on to the next subject 🙂
Post # 3
I think if you they just say no, you could ask, “Oh, do you want them?” And if they say, “No, I don’t want kids,” you can just say, “Oh, that’s cool” and move on. Easy peasy!
Post # 4
I disagree- that could lead to a really awkward conversation. “Yes, but we can’t” or “No, because X, Y, Z…”.
As CFBC I usually answer the question with “My dogs are our children and they are great, thanks.”
Post # 5
I don’t think I’d ask if the person has kids at all; chances are he/she will bring up children if they exist, and I don’t think they’d be terribly offended if you don’t ask. I’d answer their question and let the conversation flow from there.
Post # 6
I would NEVER ask someone if they had kids, for that exact reason. You never know if it might be a sore subject. Do you really not understand how conversation works? LOL She’s asking you about your kid because she knows that you HAVE a kid. If she’s trying to start a conversation about both of your kids, she’ll say “oh yeah! My Ferdinand does the same thing.” Or whatever. There is absolutely no reason you should ever have to ask. So don’t.
I mean, if someone sees your purse and says “Oh – I love that bag! Where did you get it?” you don’t respond with “oh thanks! I got it at Barney’s. Where did you get your Balenciaga bag?” *stony silence* “I don’t have a Balenciaga bag.” #awkward
Post # 7
ehhh I probably wouldnt ask someone if they wanted kids after saying they didnt have any. If you are just making small talk with someoneone it seems like too personal fo a question IMO.
OP, as someone who doesn’t have kids (I’m ttc but that’s beside the point) I don’t really looove talking about kids. So I wouldn’t be offended if you switched the convo over to something not kid related.
Post # 8
“So what about you? Got any kids?”
“Nope! And I don’t plan to”
“I hear ya! They’re not everyone’s cup of tea. [change subject here]”
All you have to do is acknowledge that this is a decision they’ve made for themselves, and keep a neutral attitude when responding about this decision. You can tell them you’re happy they know what they want for their lives if they’re friends, or just leave it simple if it’s a colleague or stranger.
Post # 9
If you ask if they have kids and they say no, you could ask if they have any pets as a follow up question. It’s an easy way to shift the conversation without making it awkward.
Post # 10
Unless the question that sparks this conversation is something totally mom-related, like “wow I love that diaper bag, I’m looking to replace mine,” I wouldn’t assume they’re trying to start a momversation.
But what do I know, I love my kids to death but they are my absolute least favorite topic of conversation. Talking about your kids is like telling someone about that dream you had last night, totally interesting to you, soul-crushingly boring to them. Yes, even if it had dinosaurs with flame throwers and naked Chris Evans. Still so boring.
Post # 11
Um, but I would totally want to hear about that dream! 🙂
I think, if you find out they don’t have kids, it’s not awkward to just move on. You could always say something about “okay! well, thanks for asking about mine. how about you – do you have pets/furbabies?!” I actually had a girl ask me about kids then ask me about furbabies! It made me laugh but was so easy to switch to talking about our dogs instead of me having to explain why I don’t have kids.
Post # 12
Haha you think
you do, that’s how the dream-sharers get you.
Post # 13
Honestly, I’ve found people with kids will let you know within probably 10 minutes. But if you want to know just ask ‘do you have any of your own’ and if they say ‘nah, I don’t want kids’, just say ‘that’s great! do what’s best for you and your situation!’ or something like that. Or like Jennmariee said ask if they have any fur-babies. Honestly, that’s the safest topic and people can go on and on about their animals (which is always great because if you own an aminal you get some tips!). Or if they don’t have animals, most people want an animal or have their favorite.
Post # 14
My very best friend in the whole world has never had children. There was a time when this was a very sensitive topic for her. At a party once the conversation came up, and this very gracious lady said “honey there’s green grass on both sides of that fence” and it completely took an otherwise awkward situation to a very light and positive level. I’ve used it myself quite a few times over the years too.
Post # 15
Poor DH, he’s subjected to that dream crap every morning! But, I have to listen to his car-fixing triumphs with a thrilled smile on my face, so i count us square dagnamnit.
For the original question OP I agree with a PP. Personally, you could absolutely ask me if I have kids and you’ll get one of my light-hearted pre-prepared responses of no and won’t ever, if you won’t press it and just say “good for you, it’s not for everyone!”. I’ll help the conversation along so it’s not awkward, it doesn’t just fall on you for that! I’d personally actually would really like to get to know a person like you with that response, so thank you for asking!