Stacy's Place on Earth
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Thursday, May 29, 2008:
Please don't go there...
I saw this posted at the Goddess blog, and it is inspiring today's blog post. It got me thinking that in certain situations, there are lines that should not be crossed.
Basically, there are some questions that should never be asked by the majority of people you know. For example, with my recent promotion, I got a pay raise. Happy happy, joy joy. And I've gotten a lot of wonderful compliments that are certainly threatening to give me a big head *g* But then there are those people who feel comfortable enough to ask me just how much I'm making now. WTF? I mean, how rude is that? What gives anyone the right to ask such a question?
Now this may sound strange from someone who works in finance and whose job it is to ask this question of people all the time, but it's not because I'm nosy, or wanting to compare my salary to theirs. It's part of what I do, and after asking it numerous times in the last 4 1/2 years, believe me, I really don't care.
But back to the topic at hand. I think this applies to many areas of life. As Julia says, there are rules, and one should not feel they have the right to ask whatever they want to and then get pissy when a person chooses not to disclose that information. Some of the topics I think are off-limits include (and are not limited to):
  • Age. That's a touchy subject, especially if the other person thinks you look older than you are.
  • Weight. I don't know exactly how much I weigh, though I know it's more than I should. Still, muscle weighs more than fat and some people look better heavier. I think as long as someone feels good about themselves, weight is a non-issue, but that doesn't mean people have the right to know.
  • Salary. Most people think they don't make as much as they deserve. I get that. And there are jobs that seem to be paid more than they're worth (does an actor really deserve $20 million per movie???) But finances are a personal matter and not just anyone can be privy to this information, especially other co-workers. Makes me cringe.
  • Medical issues. I used to work in the Benefits Dept of a large company, and it's unbelievable how freely people would discuss others' health issues. It's no one else's business!

I'm sure I've asked really invasive questions myself. Sometimes you feel comfortable with someone, or maybe you're just not thinking when you ask it. We all do stuff like that. And then there are those people who have no problem broadcasting their personal lives to everyone under the sun. Okay, I don't care what kind of fungus you have, or that you kissed your best friend's boyfriend. TMI. Don't need to know, thank you very much.

What questions do you find offensive? What won't you ask?

Are there some topics you don't think are off-limits?

What do you wish someone had never told you?



  1. I'm big on the weight issue. No one's business. My hubby doesn't even know how much I weigh, LOL. I'm sensitive about that one. I agree with all the choices you put down. That's all I can think of for now.

    Did you see the pics of our new puppy? He's so cute. They're on my blog.

    See you in a week and a day! I can't wait!!

  2. Never, ever ask if someone's pregnant. If they aren't, you will offend them. Only mention it if they have a basketball protruding from beneath their shirt.

  3. The weight question is just weird anyway, because, it just is. Though sometimes I wish people were more open about discussing pay, because it helps others to know if they're being underpaid, or just to gauge the market. As a freelancer, I'll discuss it with other freelancers. Sometimes it tells me when to raise my prices. But I think maybe that's just me. I wouldn't think badly of anybody who didn't want to tell though!

  4. Kel, I agree about weight. It's a very sensitive topic. A friend of mine told me someone said to her "You look great. How much do you weigh?" Yes, it was a compliment, but if she looks great, who cares how much she weighs.

    Sorry I haven't been blog-hopping so much this week. Now I have to go check out your puppy :)

    Sarah, I've heard that one. A huge ouch, and yes, people should be careful about asking that question.

    Carol Jean, I can see your point, especially in your type of work. You don't want to be underpaid. And some people are more open than others. I'm sure if you preface your question with a "If you don't mind me asking..." then that makes it much less invasive.

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