Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Comments Closed

I wish that certain topics in life had an option, like blog posts, to close the comments section.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, and so I need to say this about comments about other people's relational and procreative statuses:

Please, just stop.

We, the single and/or childless of the world, have heard enough.  We have answered and refused to answer enough.  We are done.  On an internet forum, we would call you trolls and joke to each other about not feeding you.  In real life, we have to stand there and nod politely and think about your good intentions, and it's terrible.  Please, stop doing this.   
Do you really not realize that these sorts of comments cause nothing but pain for the person you allegedly care about?  This is not expressing love and concern, this is exerting the pressure of your own anxiety, and imposing your own assumptions upon people who likely are carrying around plenty of pressure, anxiety, and impositions of their own.

I keep hearing about rude and hurtful comments made to people I know.  Goodness knows I've received plenty myself, because God forbid you should make it to thirty-five as a single, childless person without having endured a constant barrage of prying, from the time you turn twenty until you fulfill the cultural expectations and grandparent dreams of your loved ones, or if you don't, until you die.  The reason I've heard so much about these comments is that the recipients were very much by them.  You're asking about very intimate and personal parts of their lives, parts that often are already tender.

That woman to whom you just said, "You better hurry up, you're not getting any younger," has been on thirty horrible dates this year trying to hurry up and silence the inexorable internal ticking.  The man you urged to settle down already splits his evenings between scanning online dating sites and trying to "get out there" and meet people in the local bar scene.  When you asked that couple when they were going to get around to starting a family, maybe it didn't occur to you that they've poured thousands of dollars into fertility treatments in an attempt to do just that, only to suffer a fourth miscarriage last week.  There is a very real possibility that the person you are talking to is actually in pain over this very topic at the moment that you choose to make your well-intentioned comment.  I have good friends who cry every day because the thing they want most in the world isn't happening, and you keep pestering them about it, as though they could just wave a wand and make it happen.  Stop.

And then there are those of us who are actually pretty happy with our life situations, who have chosen to be single or childless or both, or who would be happy with being partnered or having kids but are also okay with not.  I know, this is a crazy concept for some.  The good thing is, when you ask me about when I'm getting married or having kids, you're not going to throw me into an emotional tailspin.  You are, however, going to make me really irritated, because I know that there is no good way to answer your nosy inquiries.  If I tell you you're rude, then I'm defensive and overly sensitive.  If I try to explain to you that I'm not necessarily headed down the life path you assume, you either think I'm hiding my real feelings, or you just don't get it and keep pestering me with annoying questions.  If I happen to be having a bad day, then I start irrationally second-guessing my life decisions and wondering whether I'm going to wake up one day and be miserable and lonely, which is frankly not something anyone needs to spend time worrying about.  We don't need to feel bad about NOT having these particular unmet yearnings, just because you think we should have them.  Stop, please.

Occasionally, we aren't really single, or we're already expecting a child either through pregnancy or adoption, and we just don't want to tell you.  Possibly because you are nosey and thoughtless.  Believe me, if we were close enough that I wanted to tell you about these topics, I would have done so.

Unfortunately, I cannot keep people from trolling all over my friends' lives, but I am done dealing with it myself.  If you care about me, don't ask me about the things I lack; ask me about the things I have and do: my interests, ideas, friends, work, travel, etc.  There's plenty of material there for conversation.  As for my familial orientation, the comments section is now closed.   


1 comment:

  1. Can offer a comment if it is simply, "Amen!" ? :)