What Not to Say to Friends Without Kids
Parents, you’re not imagining it: you are annoying your childless friends. Have you ever uttered any of these 8 “breeder” no-nos?
Confession: Before I became a parent, parents annoyed me. A lot. All they did was complain about how tired they were, or how lucky I was to not have kids, followed—oddly—with incessant clucking about how “time was running out” for me to embark on the amazing journey of parenthood myself. I vowed that if I ever became a parent, I’d never subject my childless pals to these preachy speeches. Then, in 2010, I gave birth—and, on cue, all the laments and pious musings I once hated hearing from parents came gushing out.
My friends, of course, were too polite to tell me to shut up. I only realized what I’d done after stumbling across STFU, Parents—a website devoted to airing all the irritating stuff parents say—and realizing that many were things I’d said just that day.
But here’s the thing: It’s not like parents want to annoy non-parents. It’s just that parenthood is such a sensitive issue, even seemingly innocent remarks can hit like nuclear warheads. And so, in an effort to curb the damage, I asked some people without kids to map out their conversational no-go zones. If you enjoy the company of your childless friends and want to keep them around, here are some key phrases you can silently think to yourself all you want, but should avoid uttering at all costs (and if you’ve said them already, don’t worry—we all have).
“Why don’t you have kids?”
Innocuous enough, right? No. Here’s why: Maybe the person you’re asking has struggled for years with infertility, which means this question may make them want to burst into tears (particularly awkward if you’ve just met). Or maybe they just don’t want kids, in which case it’s annoying to have to justify why. Let’s turn the tables: What if you had to constantly field questions about why you did have a kid. Feeling defensive yet?