Avoiding the Awkward “No, but…” Answer


Avoiding the possibly awkward moment when meeting new people.

Avoiding the possibly awkward moment when meeting new people.

This post is to offer one way to further develop diplomatic relations between parents and civilians (i.e. non-parents). Why? Well, if the following exchange has ever happened to you, then you’ll see!


PARENT: “Sooo, do you have any children?”
CIVILIAN: “No, but……..…[scrambles to come up with something] …….I do have a nephew in Alaska…”

Remember when that was you? Yes, it seems like a lifetime ago, but putting on your empathy hat for a minute, wasn’t that somewhat awkward at times? And for those of us who thought they didn’t want children when asked that question (ahem), wasn’t it just downright annoying?!

So, with the addition of three little words, all that social awkwardness can be removed in an instant!

Ready? Drum roll, please…

“Do you have any children in your life?”

This is a such a better question because most people know of some child in their lives – whether it’s the brat down the hall or a beloved niece.  Enabling folks — especially those without children — to say “Yes!” is to give them yet another way to find a commonality with us without making offspring the focus of the question, which for some is a sensitive topic.


PARENT: “Sooo, do you have any children in your life?”
CIVILIAN: “Hmm, why yes, I do. There this kid who takes the bus with me and I’m amazed at the books he brings to read each week….”
PARENT: “Oh I know. Isn’t it a wonder how they can seem so advanced? Let me tell you what my daughter did the other day…”

Well,you get the idea.

Thus, with this rephrasing of the kids question, everyone wins because it is more conducive to furthering a human connection with each other. And, it certainly is a more positive approach to directing the conversation toward sharing that hilarious anecdote about junior which you are bursting to tell the world.

What do you think?

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