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Ninja Bean Dipping Takes a Little Planning

I would like some advice on bean-dipping. Being of child-bearing age and married for several years, I often get the, “When are you going to have kids?” question. It’s a delicate subject in my marriage, and a very personal topic I don’t care to discuss.

In one-on-one scenarios, I say something like, “That’s a very personal question,” and it is a gentle nudge away from the subject without embarrassing the other person, who usually has good intentions.

Recently, I was asked this in front of a large group of people. I didn’t want to point out that I felt the question was too personal. I didn’t want to embarrass her because I felt she was more naive than rude.

It was the perfect moment to bean-dip, but my mind was blank. There was no bean-dip or other food around!

How do avoid your mind going too blank to bean dip? Do you have a couple topics in mind ahead of time? Am I over-thinking this? 1201-15

Only you know what topics regarding your personal life are off limits for further discussion by others.   You mentally draw the line in the sand delineating at what point questions become too nosy and invasive.   When someone crosses that line, you have a ready topic of discussion that you promptly redirect the conversation as if the question asked of you never existed.

Let me give you an example.  Several years ago my son was in a long distance relationship that many thought would result in marriage but did not.   We decided we did not wish to discuss this fresh news with acquaintances, particularly the nosy, gossipy ones who wanted to know every salacious detail as to who broke it off and why, and if asked what happened, I changed the subject to something entirely different, as if the question never made it to my ears.   Months later, when asked, I simply said, “Oh, that?  It’s old news,” and changed the subject again.   You don’t owe people information or explanations about facets of your personal life. People love to talk about themselves so changing the subject by asking them a question about their work, new baby/grandbaby, new car, latest trip, etc. usually works.


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  • Sally December 9, 2015, 2:03 pm

    So glad this got published! I really need this advice. I just found out that my father-in-law will be staying with us for a month and he has no concept of acceptable boundaries. One time when I was pregnant and we were staying with him the doctor needed some personal “samples” collected at home. My husband told him about that and the father-in-law asked me how the “collecting” was going. I replied I would rather not discuss such personal matters and he got incensed with that because he was “only showing concern about my health.” Another time he was trying to give unsolicited advice (seriously my biggest gripe about him) because i was trying to demonstrate consistency in discipline of my kids. He “advised” me that the only problem with being consistent in child raising is that you can be consistently wrong while shaking his finger in my face. Unfortunately my husband usually takes his part and gets upset with me although his father is so easily riled and quick to play the victim. Usually any effort on my part to contradict or disagree starts a drama that I am now anticipating with dread.

  • Kelly Taylor December 10, 2015, 5:31 am


    Not only is this something that is changing, as many threads on eHell have covered over the years, it also may be a painful question. Usually in the course of a conversation, a person will mention their own kids if they have them (or other personal tidbits), in which case asking them about their kids is normal and natural.

    However, I maintain that asking someone outright “Do you have kids” is invasive, problematic, and needs to be phased out of “getting-to-know-you” questions.

  • just4kicks December 11, 2015, 5:30 am

    Mass shootings and Donald Trump aside, the thing annoying me the most right now in the news is Kim and Kanye’ s birth of the next coming of Christ.
    I’m sick of hearing “how hard” and “what a difficult time” Kim had with her pregnancies.
    You are NOT the only woman to ever give birth, so stop with all the “me, me and oh, yeah….ME!!!”