Don’t ask invasive personal questions about someone’s life
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
Recently, I was asked by a long-time family friend if I was dating anyone. When I told him I wasn’t, he proceeded to ask questions like “Why aren’t you?” and “Do you have your eye on anyone?” and “When the last you dated someone?” I’m not dateless by choice. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and embarrassing.
My dating life (or lack thereof) has always been a sensitive issue. While I’ll be the first to make jokes about it, it’s not very fun to analyze a personal, sad area of your life for others. There are many reasons why someone might not be dating, and many of these reasons involve sad thoughts of not being good enough or otherwise unattractive.
Of course, sensitive issues can span all kinds of topics. The typical questions one asks about someone’s life—if someone’s in school, is working, has plans for the future—can be things someone is unhappy with. Someone could be incredibly unhappy with their life and circumstances, maybe even battling some kind of depression in the process.
It’s all right and normal to ask these sorts of questions, but it’s the answers that are key. If someone says they aren’t dating, and gives vague or quiet answers about why, it’s probably a sign they don’t want to talk about that aspect of their life. You learned the answer, and you should move on.
While this is an issue for any age, it is a particularly large for millennials. Generally speaking, millennials are in a worse-off condition than any other generation before. A bad economy, expensive post-secondary education, a lack of job prospects, and rising prices all contribute to many who are struggling just to get by. Many older people are unaware or in denial of how bad the problems get, and thus can come off as insensitive in many areas.
It is not easy to go back to school. When in school, it’s hard to determine your future and what you’ll do when you’re finished (particularly if you chose a degree that you are passionate about but may not offer many job opportunities). It is harder than ever to plan ahead and get a decent job, or a job that plots you towards a career. If someone is stuck in a dead-end job, asking when they plan to leave it or what they’ll be doing in five years is a really tough question.
General conversation can quickly turn upsetting. It’s important to notice and remember when a topic is sensitive, and to limit yourself on what you ask accordingly.