There are a few questions that I always find myself asking other parents — whether or not the answer is something that’s interesting, let alone worth discussing. The number one is (in the case of parents and their kid) “Who do you think he/she looks like?”
It’s not really a big deal: this is something that a LOT of people do. The reason it irks me when I do is that in the case of biological kids, the question is kind of silly: obviously the kid is going to look like one parent or both. There aren’t really THAT many answers. It’s also a question that can yield a potentially awkward answer: what if a kid’s adopted and I don’t know it? Do the parents just have to bullshit?
I think questions like this do serve one great purpose: they’re an easy way to start conversation between parents who don’t know one another very well. However, the potential negative response (especially in regards to who is a biological parent of a child, adoptive families, and LGBT families), totally outweigh the possibility that you’ve found a way to engage someone else in conversation for five minutes.
There are plenty of questions like this: I asked everyone on Facebook if they ever catch themselves asking something that isn’t necessary, and here’s what I got back:
Keren: I have twins and always get “Do twins run in your family?” It always bothers me. And for some reason it’s always my first question when I meet other twin parents. Its such a rude question but I cant help myself.
Jen: I cannot resist chatting up parents who made similar choices to me. Babywearing and cloth diapering are common topics, but I was changing dipes next to someone once and said, “Oh, you didn’t circumcise your baby, either!”. *facepalm*
Katie: [It] only happened once but I asked a baby-wearing mama in an airport bathroom her pee strategy with the baby in the ergo and immediately regretted it/turned bright red.
Andrea: I stupidly asked a coworker once when she announced her pregnancy, “Were you trying?” — which is basically asking, did you use a condom? So awkward.
Laura B: [I ask] things like “Do you cloth diaper?” and “Are you still nursing?” Obviously these are things I don’t need to know, it’s more like… I couldn’t/didn’t do these things and I want to know more information about those who are doing them. [It] tends to sound awkward, though.
Tell me: what other questions like this do you guys find yourselves asking?