Thanks to my friend, Jamie, for offering this topic up.
I didn’t truly understand the extent of its awkwardness until I was married.
I try to understand that for a lot of people, the natural steps to their conversations with people in relationships is: What about marriage? What about kids? And then if you decide to have one kid, they ask about the next one.
But while this might be the steps two people decide to take in life, often times it’s not, or not all timed out, and/or it’s not anyone else’s business.
Getting married and having kids are two topics that people have the most opinions about and have no problem asking each other about, yet, they are also two of the most intimate and private matters a couple will talk about with one another.
Society has created this unnatural pressure that some people give in to, some people feel anxiety about, and others just ignore. But the pressure is there and the expectation is that we are going to listen to and comply with opinions and questioning from other people.
What makes this worse is that it’s part of the plethora of small talk conversations. Perfect strangers have no problem asking if they can touch a woman’s belly while they are pregnant. Where is the social etiquette in a situation like that?
Soon after a couple gets married (and I mean within weeks), a person you just met might ask, “So, when are you having kids?” I wonder, what makes people go to that conversation? Why not ask about jobs and homes and hobbies?
What if a couple isn’t planning on having kids? What if they are unable to have kids? What if they just want to wait a few years? No one should be guilty or ashamed for having to answer this question with a “Well, that’s not really any of your business.”
Jamie said it well when she commented on the topic, “In my opinion, that is small talk because my answers will not impact THEIR life at all.”
Isn’t that the truth? Perhaps small talk is so difficult for me, because I want to have more meaningful conversation, rather then just fluff. But I don’t want to have conversations about personal topics with just anyone. Small talk is often geared toward surface-level relationships and introductory conversations.
I will get into that more when I discuss the why, but it’s important to note the difference between small talk and regular conversation and what Jamie said is key to separating them.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Agree? Disagree? How have you dealt with this topic in small talk situations?