10 Things Never to Say to Childless Friends
The questions and comments women without kids hate hearing
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When you're an enthusiastic member of the mom club, it's natural to want your pals to join too. But making assumptions about your buddy's baby-making plans can be offensive and invasive—and thinking you know better because you're a parent can hurt your friend's feelings. "Comments about childlessness can be taken as criticism," says New York City therapist Mindy Utay, LCSW, who often counsels infertile couples. Whether a couple is childless by choice or struggling to conceive, prying questions are likely to hit a nerve, she adds. Even if you have good intentions, "A woman without kids may hear, 'What's wrong with you—why are you different?'" Here are some gaffes to avoid with childless friends–and what to say instead.
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1. "So when are you guys going to get started?"
Whatever a woman's reason for not having kids, you're heading into none-of-your-business territory by asking the above. "At work, a woman I barely knew told me, 'You'd better not wait too long to get pregnant,'" says Margie, who married in her thirties. "She didn't know we'd been trying a couple years already. I started crying and was so embarrassed." Best to avoid this question altogether, says Laura Scott, author of Two is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice. And not only because of potential infertility issues: "Twenty percent of women remain childless these days, so we can no longer assume parenthood is for everyone," she says. "Even though you have baby on the brain, it's not a top priority for every woman."
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