My conservative nature may be to blame, but I never cease to get taken aback by the number of people I come across who lack such social awareness, people who are utterly devoid of social boundaries, they believe that it is acceptable to ask prying questions such as, for instance, why you are still not married or don’t have children yet you’ve been married for several years.
“What are you waiting for?” they will ask self-righteously. Or how much you earn, or how come you’ve put on so much weight, or why you have become so thin.
What is even more perplexing is that most of those who ask such insensitive questions ask them for the sake of asking, which simply makes them nosy ill-mannered people, and in some cases, they just want to embarrass you or compare themselves with you to determine who’s doing better than whom.
If you admire my shoes, outfit, curtains or cutlery and ask me where I bought them and roughly how much they cost me, or where I had my hair done and at what cost, I will readily tell you, after all, such information is not sacred, and we women readily market items that we’re satisfied with.
We also tend to ask one another such questions all the time, whether we know each other or not. For instance, I will bump into a woman, a total stranger, in a supermarket and notice her well-done nails.
Without any self-consciousness, I will stop her, compliment her nails and ask her to give me her nail technician’s phone number, and unless she is an alien that just fell on earth from Mars, she will readily give it to me and not consider it an invasion of privacy. She will even happily allow me to take a photo of her nails for reference. We will then graciously smile at each other and go on with our shopping.
When it comes to clothes, shoes and hair as well as household appliances and even furniture, we take it as a compliment when someone asks where we bought the items so that she can get something similar.
But there are some questions that you should never ask someone, especially if you don’t share a close relationship with this person, simply because it goes against social decorum. And, also, because it is none of your business. Think about it, you’re at a function and are seated with a group of people you don’t know very well and are making small talk. You start discussing the rising cost of living in the country when suddenly, one of them turns to you and asks, “How much is your rent?”
Now imagine eight pairs of eyes staring at you expectantly, waiting to hear how much you pay your landlord. Or how much your monthly mortgage is. Picture another scenario. You bump into someone you haven’t seen for years, and as you catch up, you tell her where you work, only for her to ask slyly, “Do they pay well?”
Now if ever there was a difficult question, this is it. You therefore give an evasive answer, “Is money ever enough?” If she is the shameless kind, she will insist, “Roughly how much?” never mind that she has no intention of looking for a job where you work. Money is never an easy subject to discuss.
I don’t know about you, but I find such prying, uninvited questions offensive because I believe there is some information about you that should be sacred, information that should not be privy to everyone. If people tend to avoid you, perhaps it is time to do some soul-searching to see whether you exhibit some of the qualities I have discussed.