I was having coffee with a friend a few weeks ago when the subject turned to viruses of the mind.
I won’t pretend I’m holier than thou and don’t pass judgment (at times) on friends or family or the random person walking down the street pushing her dog in a stroller…
Anyway, the gist of the conversation was that it’s annoying and frustrating to get asked questions like “so when are you two getting married?” or “studying for another year? How many degrees do you need?” or “woah, eat a little too much over the holidays, did we?” (ok, the last one has never happened to us, though I did just about strangle my boyfriend the other day when he rubbed my stomach and asked me if I was feeling bloated. I wasn’t. I just enjoy Belgium’s chocolate delicacies a bit too often).
Besides these questions being quite personal, they also imply that the questioner has already made up his mind that his (or her) plan for you is better than your own. The subtext remains: why aren’t you doing x, y, or z when clearly you should be?
People get married for many reasons, some good, some not-so-good. They continue to study or plan for the future in different ways. And yes, sometimes they eat one too many pastries and gain a little padding. But these types of questions indicate that there is one way of doing things and you’re not doing it right.
And how do you respond? I have many reasons for not wanting to get married in the near future and many more for continuing to study, none of which are any of your business. Of course, I never say that. I just laugh and say “I’m just 25, why rush things?”, though I’ve learned that this can be met with resistance (particularly if the person I’m speaking to is also 25 and has made very different life choices). So it’s safer to change the subject. Because what’s right for me may not be right for you and vice versa. You’re not going to change my mind about my life choices just like I’m not going to change your mind about yours.
I guess the point of this post is to let people decide what’s best for themselves and if your advice is unsolicited, it’s also probably unwanted. And it’s ok to judge people who buy a special stroller for their dogs.