Sunday, August 9, 2015

     At a party the other night, a lovely woman told me that when she told another woman that she had no children, the woman said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” Why would you say such a thing? People are so insensitive. I said, “Omg. What did you say?” She replied, “I said, that was a choice that we made, and we are happy with it.” 

     Some people ask weird questions, and others blurt out insensitive responses. I asked myself what I would say if someone said to me, “I am a big game hunter” or “I am a Nazi” or “I am a wife-abuser.” How does one respond when questions like this come out of nowhere?
I suppose one could do the pregnant pause thing and say, “Funny you should ask. I was just thinking about this topic the other day.”

     In my Toastmasters organization, we have what is called “Table Topics.” This is a part of our meeting where we are asked to give a mini-speech in response to a question about which we have no time to contemplate.  We must answer the question in speech format in less than a minute and a half. No matter how much I practice this technique, I have certainly not mastered it. Thinking on one’s feet is either a gift or you have to practice some kind of strategy. I can think of all kinds of smart-ass responses once I’m home brushing my teeth.

     Every time I go to a cocktail party and meet people for the first time, I am fascinated by the responses I get when I ask questions. Sometimes when you ask someone, “What do you do for fun?” they take that as an open invitation to relate their entire life story. Yawn. Others will tell you things you don’t really want to know.” My favorite though is what a friend of ours from Florida said a couple of years ago when I asked him what they did socially in their new neighborhood. He answered by saying, “People disappoint me. We prefer to just stay home and not socialize much.” First of all, I couldn’t believe he felt that way, and secondly, I was amazed that he had no problem sharing that with us. 

     I may not be funny, but a lot of people sure are.