Conversation do's and dont's when non-parent friends are around
I was one of the first few among my friends to pop. Then I was followed by some close friends just a few months apart. Whenever we met post baby birth, it was natural that many of our conversations drifted towards how Motherhood was treating us. Everything was so new to us as first time moms and life had changed drastically. We had something we were passionate about and we wanted to share about our kids lives.
At a get together, the girls eventually assembled together to do their own thing and the boys theirs. The group always inevitably included girls who were married but not yet parents. Now if I was a non-parent standing with a bunch of girls who spoke about nothing but their kids, how many times their kids pooped that day, what colour that poop was and so on, I would want to scream and tell them that I don’t give a hoot because I had nothing to contribute. I have noticed many of my friends trying to stifle a yawn and slowly and silently sneak out of the conversation circle, running to find people who will talk about the weather, which celebrity slept with someone else's husband/wife/or both, or which bar they went to the previous night and how many Patron shots they had.
So here are some conversation DO's and DONT'S I normally follow when hanging out with friends who do not have kids yet.
DO be aware of the crowd that will be there if you are attending a social event - if small then chances are that everyone will be hanging out together which will give the non-parent girls less room to walk away!
DO remember that it takes two to tango! In this case it takes two to have a conversation otherwise it's just a monologue. Balance out your conversation when talking to a non-parent (whether in a group or one to one). Spend a few minutes discussing mommy life but then make a conscious effort to move on to other topics after that.
DO deflect when someone asks you about your kid. Answer questions quickly and then turn the conversation into something else. It's probably better for your mental health as well and will help you remember that there is life outside the baby zone.
DO be a listener and show interest in the other person's life.
DON'T try and give free advice to non-parents when they haven’t asked for it. Chances are they are years away from having a child so if they want advice, they will ask for it.
DON'T talk about your kids so much that another person can write their biography.
DON'T give anyone the impression that your kids are the sole reason for you breathing.
DON'T over share. Giving non-parents any gory, painful details of your birthing process will probably scar them for life more than provide useful information.
DON'T ask your not so close non-parents friends if they are 'trying'. Many couples don’t want kids so it will just become extremely awkward if you don’t know them well and throw this question at them. Remember the scene from Sex & the City 2 where at Anthony & Stanford’s wedding, a couple questions Carrie & Big about their choice to not have kids? Yeah, we don't ever want to be in that situation!
DON'T make anything sound like a competition! It can get really annoying for a non-parent friend. You both may have worked a 60 hour week but that doesn’t make the non-parent friend any less tired just because she doesn't have a kid!
So this is it....my rule book for when I know I am meeting my non-parent friends. As a parent or a non-parent, please feel free to leave your comments here and relate any incidents!