Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: nuit93 on October 04, 2012, 09:22:40 PM

Title: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: nuit93 on October 04, 2012, 09:22:40 PM
One of my coworkers who is my age (31) asked me in conversation if I had kids.  I'm childfree (had a tubal at 25) but didn't mention that, so I just said "nope" because really, I figure the more neutral the response the less likely someone is to press on as to why.

She has three kids of her own, the oldest being in middle school.  Her response?  "Lucky you!". 

I was tempted to make a snarky reply along the lines of "yeah, well, I figured out a long time ago that they're preventable", but instead I just bean-dipped into a conversation about my cats.  It occurred to me later though: what if I'd been infertile or TTC and having difficulty?  Would there have been anything even remotely E-Hell appropriate to say in response?
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 04, 2012, 09:27:03 PM
I might have said that I was OK with it but pointed out that not everybody answered that way by choice and that her wording could cause somebody a lot of pain.  (I'd also be tempted to point out that if she said it in front of her kids they'd probably find it pretty painful)
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: MNdragonlady on October 04, 2012, 09:30:43 PM
You could always look at her, blink once, then say "Wow" before moving on with the bean dip. I believe that's still polite, and gives her the chance to figure out on her own that she may have crossed a line.

Anything else I can come up sounds like "teaching her a lesson", and I know that's not really polite.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: pickles50 on October 04, 2012, 09:55:11 PM
I get this a lot...I choose not to have kids but its still pretty insensitive . So when people say this to me I can't help but smile or wink and say "I know".
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Amara on October 04, 2012, 09:56:03 PM
I think whether or not you could say the following depends on your relationship with her.

I am child-free by choice, but I know others who would love to have children and cannot. I understand where you are coming from with your statement, but it might hurt others very much.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Luci on October 04, 2012, 10:02:12 PM
My heart breaks for her children. I can't imagine what it would be like to find out that my parents thought I was a burden or annoyance.

Yes, you are best not to engage, and I understand why you made your choices.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 04, 2012, 10:24:38 PM
I'm afraid that I'd probably blurt out "Really? You regret having kids?!"

I'm willing to bet she'd quickly backpedal, and assure you that no, that's not the case at all.

I think sometimes people say these things in a misguided attempt to make others feel better about their lives. It's like when married people tell their single friends "Gee, I wish I was single too." But they don't actually mean it.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 04, 2012, 10:25:16 PM
My guess is that it is more about her thinking she is terribly funny then actually resenting her kids. At least, I hope so.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Pippen on October 04, 2012, 10:32:20 PM
Loads of parents say that. It was wasn't directed at you but more as a sign of trying to establish some common ground. There are a huge number of people who, knowing what they know now would not choose to be a parent. They love their kids and couldn't imagine life without them and there is nothing wrong with expressing the desire to have chosen a different path. Everyone does it over all their life decisions. The big 'what if's" They didn't make a mistake, life just turned out a bit differently from how they envisioned it.

Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 04, 2012, 10:39:49 PM
I think that just means loads of people are thoughtless and unintentionally rude. Loads of people make etiquette offenses every day without realizing it.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: doodlemor on October 04, 2012, 10:45:21 PM
I'm afraid that I'd probably blurt out "Really? You regret having kids?!"

I'm willing to bet she'd quickly backpedal, and assure you that no, that's not the case at all.

I think sometimes people say these things in a misguided attempt to make others feel better about their lives. It's like when married people tell their single friends "Gee, I wish I was single too." But they don't actually mean it.

I like this.  Gasp a bit when you say this.

People who say things like this should be called on it.  It may be misguided humor, but sooner or later the children will hear it and they will remember and be hurt.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: CakeEater on October 04, 2012, 10:56:50 PM
I suspect she had a bad morning getting everyone ready and out of the house, and might still be a bit stressed. I don't think she's any kind of monster who hates her children.

When I'm dragging a screaming child out of a shopping centre, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who can shop in peace, although I wouldn't say so to any of them, and although I love my family more than anything.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Pippen on October 04, 2012, 11:05:43 PM
I suspect she had a bad morning getting everyone ready and out of the house, and might still be a bit stressed. I don't think she's any kind of monster who hates her children.

When I'm dragging a screaming child out of a shopping centre, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who can shop in peace, although I wouldn't say so to any of them, and although I love my family more than anything.

Yup. My neighbour and I were having glass of wine yesterday and she was telling me how her son had his first Chernobyl Reactor 4 meltdown ever in a toy store. I thought it was hilarious and asked if she had thought of just giving him to a random stranger or denying all knowledge of him. Both had crossed her mind.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: CakeEater on October 04, 2012, 11:22:01 PM
I suspect she had a bad morning getting everyone ready and out of the house, and might still be a bit stressed. I don't think she's any kind of monster who hates her children.

When I'm dragging a screaming child out of a shopping centre, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who can shop in peace, although I wouldn't say so to any of them, and although I love my family more than anything.

Yup. My neighbour and I were having glass of wine yesterday and she was telling me how her son had his first Chernobyl Reactor 4 meltdown ever in a toy store. I thought it was hilarious and asked if she had thought of just giving him to a random stranger or denying all knowledge of him. Both had crossed her mind.

Yes, I'm not advocating saying what she said, but I don't think we need to get out the pitchforks.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: AnnaJ on October 05, 2012, 12:00:11 AM
I'm afraid that I'd probably blurt out "Really? You regret having kids?!"

I'm willing to bet she'd quickly backpedal, and assure you that no, that's not the case at all.

I think sometimes people say these things in a misguided attempt to make others feel better about their lives. It's like when married people tell their single friends "Gee, I wish I was single too." But they don't actually mean it.

I like this.  Gasp a bit when you say this.

People who say things like this should be called on it.  It may be misguided humor, but sooner or later the children will hear it and they will remember and be hurt.

Maybe its a generational thing but I really don't understand the shock - I've known many parents who say they love their children more than anything, but if they had it to do over again they wouldn't have children.  So honestly, I think acting shocked and gasping is a bit over the top.

I think it's valid to point out that a comment like that could be hurtful to someone who is not childfree by choice, but I don't think it's the place of a co-worker or casual friend to comment on the relationship between a parent and his/her children.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Raintree on October 05, 2012, 02:17:05 AM
I was tempted to make a snarky reply along the lines of "yeah, well, I figured out a long time ago that they're preventable"

I think if you said this just the right way (deadpan with just a hint of a facial expression to indicate it's actually meant as humour), it comes across as funny, not snarky, and the other person could reply with a jokey "Somehow I missed that lesson."
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: poundcake on October 05, 2012, 04:43:13 AM
Quote
I'm afraid that I'd probably blurt out "Really? You regret having kids?!"

I don't say this, but I do think it! Of course, most people think that because we are childfree by choice, we spend all our time partying or sleeping in or taking exotic vacations. The Grass is Greener crowd doesn't realize that we work just as hard and are just as busy as they are. Not having kids doesn't automatically equal a life of leisure. (See also, "You obviously don't have kids.")

This seems to fall under "interesting assumption."
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 05, 2012, 06:03:03 AM
I suspect she had a bad morning getting everyone ready and out of the house, and might still be a bit stressed. I don't think she's any kind of monster who hates her children.

When I'm dragging a screaming child out of a shopping centre, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who can shop in peace, although I wouldn't say so to any of them, and although I love my family more than anything.

Reminds me of the line of Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle when his son's been giving him a hard time about contacting Meg Ryan's character. He's out on a date with whatserface and says "Do you have kids? Do you want mine?" He loves his son dearly, we know, but was being funny cause the son was making him nutty that evening.

That said, her answer could be hurtful to someone who had wanted kids was unable, or just hadn't started trying for them yet.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Bethalize on October 05, 2012, 06:22:22 AM
IME when people say that sort of thing they want you to say: "Oh, you say that but you wouldn't swap them for anything." They might protest once more but you've acknowledged their 'value' as well as them acknowledging what you have that is valuable.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: AuntyEm on October 05, 2012, 06:31:54 AM
I am childless and NOT by choice but I think this is reading way too much into the "Lucky you!" comment.  I would assume that the person was making a joke and just laugh.  Yes, those of us who wish they could have had kids might feel a bit of a zing at that comment but does everyone really need to be so careful about every little remark just in case someone might be sensitive to it?

My mother made snappy comments like that to be funny and we didn't care one bit--we knew she didn't really mean it.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Two Ravens on October 05, 2012, 06:35:17 AM
As someone who has no children and is actively TTC (unsuccessfully for over a year), I can say this wouldn't bother me at all. People can love their children like crazy and still sometimes express a wistful envy at people who don't. It's just blather, not a serious conversation about their life's regrets.

Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: JenJay on October 05, 2012, 06:45:14 AM
When something like that happens to me I always hope they're joking and react as such. I'd probably give her a sympathetic smile and say "Rough morning?"

If it becomes apparent she wasn't joking... I just don't know.  :-\
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: WillyNilly on October 05, 2012, 07:17:15 AM
Someone said that to me once, I simply replied "I don't think so."

I don't take the comment as anything about her and her kids - it wasn't a statement about her, it was a statement about me. If she wanted sympathy or cmiseration or something, she should have made a 'me' statement about herself, like "I envy women like you/without kids."  But she didn't. She commented on my life circumstances, of which she knew nothing. I did think it was a nasty thing to say to someone such as myself. She might not have known I would rather I had kids, but it wasn't her place to comment on it with a value judgement.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2012, 07:42:19 AM
If they are not in the place to comment on the relationship between parent and child why on earth would the parent reveal their intimate feelings about such a matter?  I mean, if you are just getting to know this person well enough to be asking if they have kids then sharing whether you'd have kids if you had it to do all over again is way too intimate.

I am also thinking about the people who answer "No" because of a loss - either due to a miscarriage or a child dying after birth.  Imagine being told you were lucky. 

Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Jules1980 on October 05, 2012, 07:43:17 AM
I suspect she had a bad morning getting everyone ready and out of the house, and might still be a bit stressed. I don't think she's any kind of monster who hates her children.

When I'm dragging a screaming child out of a shopping centre, I'm pretty jealous of all the people who can shop in peace, although I wouldn't say so to any of them, and although I love my family more than anything.

Yup. My neighbour and I were having glass of wine yesterday and she was telling me how her son had his first Chernobyl Reactor 4 meltdown ever in a toy store. I thought it was hilarious and asked if she had thought of just giving him to a random stranger or denying all knowledge of him. Both had crossed her mind.

Yes, I'm not advocating saying what she said, but I don't think we need to get out the pitchforks.

Exactly.  I'd take it the same way as someone complaining about their job (when it's one they like and not some of the soul suckers some of us have had).  They know they are lucky to have it, but after a bad day, they may envy those who are job free.  If was just a one off comment, I'd assume they'd had a rough morning, smile and let it go at that. 
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: BeagleMommy on October 05, 2012, 01:19:40 PM
See, my first thought would have been "Uh-oh, someone had a rough morning".  I only have one and trying to get him and myself ready in the morning, when he was younger was nerve wracking.  I can't imagine trying to do it with three.  I think a lot of parents say stuff like this out of frustration.

If this had been said to me I think I would have responded with "Bad day?".
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: hobish on October 05, 2012, 02:07:43 PM

I really cannot imagine getting het up at a coworker for saying something that might just maybe offend someone somewhere, but did not bother me at all.


Loads of parents say that. It was wasn't directed at you but more as a sign of trying to establish some common ground. There are a huge number of people who, knowing what they know now would not choose to be a parent. They love their kids and couldn't imagine life without them and there is nothing wrong with expressing the desire to have chosen a different path. Everyone does it over all their life decisions. The big 'what if's" They didn't make a mistake, life just turned out a bit differently from how they envisioned it.

I like the way you put that.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Captain Hastings on October 05, 2012, 02:40:34 PM
I am childless and NOT by choice but I think this is reading way too much into the "Lucky you!" comment.  I would assume that the person was making a joke and just laugh.  Yes, those of us who wish they could have had kids might feel a bit of a zing at that comment but does everyone really need to be so careful about every little remark just in case someone might be sensitive to it?

Agreed, sounds like she was just making small talk.

If she'd said "Boy this weather really sucks" I don't think anyone would gasp and seriously reply, "How can you say that, we desperately needed this rain!"
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2012, 02:41:35 PM
I am childless and NOT by choice but I think this is reading way too much into the "Lucky you!" comment.  I would assume that the person was making a joke and just laugh.  Yes, those of us who wish they could have had kids might feel a bit of a zing at that comment but does everyone really need to be so careful about every little remark just in case someone might be sensitive to it?

Agreed, sounds like she was just making small talk.

If she'd said "Boy this weather really sucks" I don't think anyone would gasp and seriously reply, "How can you say that, we desperately needed this rain!"

Not really the same thing as make assumptions about somebody's reproduction and family
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2012, 02:50:47 PM
As I ponder it also strikes me as a bit rude because the question "Do you have kids?" seems like an indicator of interest in the other person but then the follow up seems to make it all about you and your issues/feelings.  It almost comes across like "I wasn't really asking to find out about you, I was setting up the opportunity to vent to you about me and my life".  Once again, it seems particularly off to do this with somebody you know so little that you are asking if they have kids in the first place.  That level of frustration should probably be saved for people who know you well, clergy, counselors, etc.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Captain Hastings on October 05, 2012, 04:03:47 PM
Not really the same thing as make assumptions about somebody's reproduction and family

If she'd said, "You must be so thrilled not to have children, I know a person like you would never want them," that would be a pretty harsh statement making a bold assumption.

But "Lucky you!" is more like a "Aargh, kids, amirite?"

Intent plays a big part in determining rudeness. Purposely shoving is much different than accidentally bumping into a person.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: demarco on October 05, 2012, 05:16:38 PM
My response to this statement Is always, ""Luck didn't have a anything to do with it." 
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: snowdragon on October 05, 2012, 05:17:51 PM
I witnessed this going really bad once

two clerks in a store, one obviously new was asked if she had kids and got the "lucky you" response and the new girl looked like she was going to cry.  She gathered herself together and said, "neither my husband nor I consider ourselves to be lucky to have lost our son. He was only a few hours old." and walked away.  No one in the very long line of Christmas returns begrudged her walking away. We all felt too badly for her.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sir_Jeffrey on October 05, 2012, 07:30:36 PM
To share my experience, I've never been married or fathered any children, and when I was starting a new job, and getting acquainted with my new co-workers someone asked me if I had kids, I said "No", and the woman who asked the question said "Don't feel bad, you've saved yourself a lot of grief"---thing was, this woman had children and grandchildren!

I am only sharing my experience, and with my life circumstances being what they've been, I found this rather amusing, but I realize that some folks have no kids and wish they could have one or more, so I do feel sorry for them.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: O'Dell on October 05, 2012, 07:38:11 PM
My response to this statement Is always, ""Luck didn't have a anything to do with it."

Me too. I detest the "lucky you" statement. I'm childfree by choice and I often got this from people with kids when I got to do something fun and expensive. No matter that when they got to do things like that I was happy for them and expressed it. When I was having fun I got sour grapes from them. Didn't ruin my fun, but did make me think less of them.

What I really wanted to say is "what does luck have to do with it? It's not like I slipped and fell onto some contraceptives!"
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Allyson on October 05, 2012, 07:57:47 PM
'Lucky you' is a bit trite, but I don't think it's worth making a thing over, really. I definitely wouldn't take it as any comment on how much a parent loves her kids or feel badly for those kids or anything. I know tons of parents who say things like 'argh, I'd sell my kids to carnival owners' or post things like "Available Now: One 4 Year Old!" None of these parents actually want to rid themselves of their kids.

As for it offending those who want kids but don't have them, it just seems it'd be better to take it in the spirit in which it was intended--an off the cuff silly joke. If it is truly hurtful to hear that, then maybe a quiet word in private would be best, something like 'I know you didn't mean it that way, but actually I am trying to have kids and hearing comments like that just twists the knife'. I don't see 'shaming' them by gasping in shock or bursting into tears as being proportional or helpful in this instance.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2012, 08:11:12 PM
'Lucky you' is a bit trite, but I don't think it's worth making a thing over, really. I definitely wouldn't take it as any comment on how much a parent loves her kids or feel badly for those kids or anything. I know tons of parents who say things like 'argh, I'd sell my kids to carnival owners' or post things like "Available Now: One 4 Year Old!" None of these parents actually want to rid themselves of their kids.

As for it offending those who want kids but don't have them, it just seems it'd be better to take it in the spirit in which it was intended--an off the cuff silly joke. If it is truly hurtful to hear that, then maybe a quiet word in private would be best, something like 'I know you didn't mean it that way, but actually I am trying to have kids and hearing comments like that just twists the knife'. I don't see 'shaming' them by gasping in shock or bursting into tears as being proportional or helpful in this instance.

The thing that I find interesting is that the possibility that it could be really hurtful has been introduced here - that was pretty much OP's whole idea from what I could tell but I don't really see a lot of people responding with "I never really thought about it but now that you mention the possibility of causing somebody pain maybe it is a phrase I will try to avoid in the future".  Even knowing it could and does cause some people pain the response seems to be "They should be able to get over it and see it from my point of view". 
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: CakeEater on October 05, 2012, 10:02:07 PM
'Lucky you' is a bit trite, but I don't think it's worth making a thing over, really. I definitely wouldn't take it as any comment on how much a parent loves her kids or feel badly for those kids or anything. I know tons of parents who say things like 'argh, I'd sell my kids to carnival owners' or post things like "Available Now: One 4 Year Old!" None of these parents actually want to rid themselves of their kids.

As for it offending those who want kids but don't have them, it just seems it'd be better to take it in the spirit in which it was intended--an off the cuff silly joke. If it is truly hurtful to hear that, then maybe a quiet word in private would be best, something like 'I know you didn't mean it that way, but actually I am trying to have kids and hearing comments like that just twists the knife'. I don't see 'shaming' them by gasping in shock or bursting into tears as being proportional or helpful in this instance.

The thing that I find interesting is that the possibility that it could be really hurtful has been introduced here - that was pretty much OP's whole idea from what I could tell but I don't really see a lot of people responding with "I never really thought about it but now that you mention the possibility of causing somebody pain maybe it is a phrase I will try to avoid in the future".  Even knowing it could and does cause some people pain the response seems to be "They should be able to get over it and see it from my point of view".

I wouldn't say that this is a great thing to say - of course it could be very hurtful. I was responding to people suggesting gasping in mock horror and asking if she truly regretted having children. I think that's a bit of a stretch, and an OTT reaction, especially if this wasn't an issue for you, and you weren't personally hurt because of the loss of a child, or the inability to conceive.

This was clearly an off the cuff remark by someone frustrated with her own children that day, who hadn't thought about the other person's sitution. I have thought about how such a statement might be hurtful, and I don't think people who are genuinely hurt should just 'get over it'. But someone who was not genuinely hurt, as in the OP, should just let this kind of comment sail right past, rather than taking it too seriously.

'Lucky you', I believe, is a comment meaning, 'that must be nice', not a genuine expression that she thinks actual luck had anything to do with it.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2012, 10:05:25 PM
But "that must be nice" is just another assumption.

I think that OP was thinking it would be better for her to give a gentle word from the wise then to keep her mouth shut and let them continue to repeat clueless comments until they do manage to say it to somebody who is caused pain.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: CakeEater on October 06, 2012, 03:24:11 AM
But "that must be nice" is just another assumption.

I think that OP was thinking it would be better for her to give a gentle word from the wise then to keep her mouth shut and let them continue to repeat clueless comments until they do manage to say it to somebody who is caused pain.

I was responding there to those who had comments about luck having nothing to do with being child-free, falling on contracteptives etc. I highly doubt that this person had no idea about the cause of babies, therefore truly believing that the OP was literally lucky to not have fallen pregnant.

I think a gentle word would be fine. Mock gasping and accusations of regreting her children's briths would be a bit too much.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Redsoil on October 06, 2012, 06:19:05 AM
I think quite often, people do not understand how best to deal with those who are "outside their experience" (eg:  childfree) and so can be somewhat awkward in their "repartee".    Their canned responses to those like themselves simply do not apply, so they're caught without an easy fall-back position.

I find pre-emptively taking offence at a remark which may not be meant maliciously only makes one's own life that much more difficult.  The mindset we carry from day-to-day often determines our mood, path in life, and even defines how others react to us in our relatonships.  Carrying a perpetual chip (not that I'm actually suggesting anyone here does so) is only going to ultimately hurt oneself.

Obviously, such a remark can be insensitive especially to those who would like to have children, but thoughtlessness can be attributed to many of us. 

I'm CF myself, and thankfully, as I've aged, comments on my status have become fewer, and less judgemental.  There were certainly some doozies in the past! 
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Mikayla on October 06, 2012, 03:53:28 PM
As someone who has no children and is actively TTC (unsuccessfully for over a year), I can say this wouldn't bother me at all. People can love their children like crazy and still sometimes express a wistful envy at people who don't. It's just blather, not a serious conversation about their life's regrets.

I completely agree. 

And I also think kids in a healthy family situation aren't going to be harmed by overhearing a random comment.  My mom used to routinely threaten to give us "back to the Indians".  I have no clue where that came from!  But we knew she wasn't serious.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Captain Hastings on October 06, 2012, 03:57:28 PM
I find pre-emptively taking offence at a remark which may not be meant maliciously only makes one's own life that much more difficult.  The mindset we carry from day-to-day often determines our mood, path in life, and even defines how others react to us in our relatonships.  Carrying a perpetual chip (not that I'm actually suggesting anyone here does so) is only going to ultimately hurt oneself.

Very well put. There are always going to be innocent things that are hurtful to someone—I might, for instance, hear a song on the radio that reminds me of an especially painful event in my life. It's very unfortunate that I had to hear it, but life is full of painful things that we have to deal with the best we can (ugh, that sounds so grim!)

I think giving each other the benefit of the doubt when we inadvertently say something cruel is a true universal kindness. People who say awful things knowing darn well how deep they will cut are a different matter entirely.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: aloe on October 06, 2012, 06:01:58 PM
I don't have children and sometimes I hear that "Lucky you" comment or more commonly, a strange look on their face with some comment about how sorry they feel for me.  I look at it as inappropriate remarks in any case as I am very happy with my life (married, no kids, over 55) but I take it like a duck rolling water off its back.

Everything in life is a tradeoff - I was never a "kid person" and found out in my 20's I was infertile anyway.  I have enjoyed a life of freedom...but will never know the joys and trials of having children and grandchildren...and I may be more alone in old age than those who have families.  But I accept that...and I accept the choice of others to have families.

I think it is good etiquette-wise to just not make comments on peoples' choices such as family planning.

Better to keep one's mouth shut than blurt out something offensive to someone.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 06, 2012, 06:11:41 PM
I don't have children and sometimes I hear that "Lucky you" comment or more commonly, a strange look on their face with some comment about how sorry they feel for me.  I look at it as inappropriate remarks in any case as I am very happy with my life (married, no kids, over 55) but I take it like a duck rolling water off its back.

Everything in life is a tradeoff - I was never a "kid person" and found out in my 20's I was infertile anyway.  I have enjoyed a life of freedom...but will never know the joys and trials of having children and grandchildren...and I may be more alone in old age than those who have families.  But I accept that...and I accept the choice of others to have families.

I think it is good etiquette-wise to just not make comments on peoples' choices such as family planning.

Better to keep one's mouth shut than blurt out something offensive to someone.

Yeah, if they didn't give an indication as to how they felt about it it seems like the kinder, wiser thing to do to say nothing.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Winterlight on October 07, 2012, 11:34:13 AM
I witnessed this going really bad once

two clerks in a store, one obviously new was asked if she had kids and got the "lucky you" response and the new girl looked like she was going to cry.  She gathered herself together and said, "neither my husband nor I consider ourselves to be lucky to have lost our son. He was only a few hours old." and walked away.  No one in the very long line of Christmas returns begrudged her walking away. We all felt too badly for her.

Ouch. I would consider that an object lesson in why this is a bad, bad idea to say. Poor woman.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: WillyNilly on October 07, 2012, 03:50:07 PM
The reason its so bad, as demonstrated by the people who are hurt by it, is the statement is a "you" statement not a "me" statement.  The person saying it might mean "I'm having a rough day" or "I miss the freedom I had before I had kids" or "I wish [for a moment] my life was different".  But they aren't saying that, or anything about themselves.  They are making a "you" comment - "lucky you" - without knowing enough about that person's life to really make that kind of comment.  That person might not be "lucky" for not having kids.  It might be due to diligent care on their part as far as contraceptives, or it might be due to fate or tragedy, or all sorts of reasons.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Mopsy428 on October 08, 2012, 12:57:05 AM
I witnessed this going really bad once

two clerks in a store, one obviously new was asked if she had kids and got the "lucky you" response and the new girl looked like she was going to cry.  She gathered herself together and said, "neither my husband nor I consider ourselves to be lucky to have lost our son. He was only a few hours old." and walked away.  No one in the very long line of Christmas returns begrudged her walking away. We all felt too badly for her.

Ouch. I would consider that an object lesson in why this is a bad, bad idea to say. Poor woman.
I had a friend who had a little boy. We were out having lunch, and some woman came up to us and started oohing and aahing over the baby. Then she said, "You are so lucky you had a boy! I pity anyone who has a girl! They're just awful to raise!" I was mortified. My friend yelled, "I don't! I had twins girls who died hours after I gave birth to them! I'm so sick of people telling me how sons are better than daughters, and how I'm 'lucky' to have a boy! You get what you get, and you thank G-d that your children are born healthy!!"
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: AngelBarchild on October 08, 2012, 04:14:04 AM
I don't understand how someone's comment can be rude because they said something that might have offended you, if you were a different person.

I also think some people are taking this way to serious. Yesterday alone I told my daughter to, go play in traffic, and that I was going to sell her back to the circus. It's just exasperation and hyperbole.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 08, 2012, 09:14:22 AM
I don't understand how someone's comment can be rude because they said something that might have offended you, if you were a different person.

I also think some people are taking this way to serious. Yesterday alone I told my daughter to, go play in traffic, and that I was going to sell her back to the circus. It's just exasperation and hyperbole.

There is a pretty significant difference in saying that to an audience who knows you and who you know.  You know your daughter's sensitivities and where you shouldn't go. The closeness of the relationship also makes it reasonable to vent your frustration, although some people would still not choose to do it the say you did.

However, we are talking about saying things to people you don't know well. People whose sensitivities you are unaware of and people who are not familiar with your humor or style of speech. Furthermore, they really have no vested interest in your frustration in your child.  You don't know them that well so suddenly dumping that on them is a bit too intimate when you didn't know they has kids two sentences ago.
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: aloe on October 08, 2012, 01:04:27 PM
I think that being sensitive to others is a big part of what etiquette is about.

I've put my foot in my mouth enough times throughout the years to learn that oftentimes making comments to strangers about their personal lives, gossiping to the wrong people, expressing anger before thinking it through, etc. are incorrect choices which can come back to bite you.

You have a good point that walking on eggshells and over-censoring yourself in fear of not offending others is not a good way to live.  It's all about balance and attempting to act respectfully towards others.

For myself, keeping my mouth shut and trying to stay out of others' business when not necessary works for me. 
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: AngelBarchild on October 08, 2012, 02:01:54 PM
I don't understand how someone's comment can be rude because they said something that might have offended you, if you were a different person.

I also think some people are taking this way to serious. Yesterday alone I told my daughter to, go play in traffic, and that I was going to sell her back to the circus. It's just exasperation and hyperbole.

There is a pretty significant difference in saying that to an audience who knows you and who you know.  You know your daughter's sensitivities and where you shouldn't go. The closeness of the relationship also makes it reasonable to vent your frustration, although some people would still not choose to do it the say you did.

However, we are talking about saying things to people you don't know well. People whose sensitivities you are unaware of and people who are not familiar with your humor or style of speech. Furthermore, they really have no vested interest in your frustration in your child.  You don't know them that well so suddenly dumping that on them is a bit too intimate when you didn't know they has kids two sentences ago.

My point was that I don't think she was really saying she regrets having her children. I don't really want  my child (she's 14) to go play in traffic (well most days anyway).
Title: Re: "No kids? Lucky you!"
Post by: Sharnita on October 08, 2012, 02:19:42 PM
I understand that. What I am saying is that it is an abrubt  leap to go from "Do you have kids" to "I am really frustrated by parenthood right now" let alone phrasong it that way.