I have a theory: Everyone seems to have the same small talk questions. I find that I am taxed by the same conversations and unable to answer many of these questions, much to the other party’s disappointment and my own frustration. It seems that the same type of questions come up in whatever stage of life you are in.
If you are SINGLE the questions lean towards, “Why are you single?” “Have you put yourself out there?” “Don’t you want to be married?”
If you are MARRIED the questions are more about, “When are you guys going to have children?”
If you are married with ONE child the question typically is, “When will you have your second child?”
If you are married and pregnant with your THIRD child people generally start to ask, “Why are you having more children?” and, “Surely you’ll be done with three then?”
If you have a DECENT JOB people tend to ask what you do with your money, assuming you have just heaps of it lying about.
If you are struggling with FINDING A JOB people may ask, “ Why don’t you just apply to the Subway down the street?”
If you LACK SOMETHING in your life (i.e. a spouse, a car, a job, children, a home…) perhaps people ask why you don’t just go out and get it.
Life is not as simple as all that. Adult-ing these days is tricky. There are so many rules and everyone seems to have a different set of rule books that the real question is which one do you follow. Many of us try to find these answers on a daily basis, including the people doing the asking. I do not believe that any one person has all the answers to life. So why do we find ourselves making small talk by these very questions that cannot always be answered easily.
If I could, I’d suggest to the world, please try asking more encouraging questions such as: “How is your day going?” “Is there some way that I can help?” or “What have you tried?”
I’d love to answer people in an honest and open manner. But too many times I feel as if I must defend my position and honor for the blows that life has given me. Alas, I cannot control the company going under and getting laid off. I cannot control moving just as I got enrolled to go to a local college. I cannot control the man who promised me the world and left without explanation. I do not have the answer to these questions because I do not control the universe.
My sarcastic side would love to throw back a Princess Bride quote, “…While you’re at it why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!” quips Miracle Max (played by the hilarious Billy Crystal). However, my softer side realizes that this might not go over well. Okay fine, I googled “gracious answers” and came across an article about how to politely end unsolicited advice. They recommended saying, “Thank you, I will consider that”…or, “Thanks, that’s worth thinking about”…I like it!
Here’s to the Adults who are currently stumped – may we one day have the answers to the questions in our lives!