10 Things Never to Say to Childless Friends
The questions and comments women without kids hate hearing
8. "Your dog is your baby."
Donna, an administrative assistant who is childless by choice, certainly loves her 10-year-old Husky mix, Rusty. Still, she was surprised when a friend complained that her finicky toddler wouldn't eat veggies and then said, "All you have to do is dump some dog food in a bowl." Donna was taken aback. "I laughed at her comment, but inside I resented it," she says. "Did she believe I thought having a dog was the same thing as having a child?" Elevating pets to human status is condescending and insulting, says Utay, because "it implies that your childless friends don't know the difference between an animal and a person. Also, it highlights what childless pet owners don't have, rather than what they do." So feel free to ask about beloved pets, notes Carroll–most friends welcome your interest. Just don't make "pet" synonymous with "baby."
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9. "You'll change your mind about having kids in a few years."
Imagine someone telling you, "One day you'll change your mind about keeping your children and want to trade them in." Making similar comments to your childless friends is insulting, says Carroll, because it suggests that deep down, they want kids—they just don't know it yet. (But you magically do!) Don't go there, Carroll advises: "Accept that your friend has made a different lifestyle choice than you, but you still love her and are committed to the friendship—whether she ever has kids or not."
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