This weekend while visiting home (Detroit), I was so elated to catch up with quite a few of my friends, many of whom have or are expecting children. The conversations with my friends with children or a spouse always started out with the normal pleasantries, including the “how are you’s” and “how’s the job”, etc. In almost every case, the next few questions (for those that have kids) b-lined right for their family. Because I genuinely wanted to know how their children and partners were doing, I innocently asked, “so, how are the little ones” or “how is your other half”. In almost every case, they said “fine, they’re all doing fine” and were ready to move on to another subject. Now, I’ve encountered some unfortunate responses in the past when I’ve asked about the family, so I tread lightly when asking these days. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than learning about a recent divorce or a child who is terminally ill, while innocently asking, so “how’s your family”, but it happens and when it does you sympathetically deal with it.
The one thing that I picked up on this past weekend is a simple concept that most parents will likely appreciate and it is this…while people might have children or a spouse, they are more than just a parent or a spouse. So, let’s just be honest here. You do sometimes run across that (maybe new) parent that ONLY talks about their children and acts as if they did not exist before their children or spouse came along, and for those people carry on. But while my friends who are parents and have partners are great in both of those roles, the reality is that most of them want to be and are more than that. Being a parent or a spouse/partner is fine and awesome, but there are so many other roles that a person is, will be or wants to be and that too should be considered and respected.
Scarlet Says…It is perfectly fine and courteous to ask about your friends’ family when you see them. But, it’s OK as well to continue the conversation and ask about them. How are they doing? What’s new with them? What goals do they have? Allow your friends to be more than just one thing, if they want to be. Life can be much too short to do, experience, be or strive for just one or two things and while having a family and a spouse can be magical, so can all the other things that are possible as well.
Until next time,