As we approach the end of Ramadan and still try to guess when exactly Eid is, let’s try and make this Eid beautiful not only for ourselves but also for others around us by knowing what not to say.
None of us mean to say the wrong thing but sometimes we just do especially when we meet our extended family after several months. Sometimes we meet new faces as families expand, or even unexpected guests. Now that I am older, I also see myself sometimes passing the irritating comment, ‘Arey masha allah tum kitney Barry ho gaye.’ It happens to everyone. We often end up asking questions that seem entirely innocent to us but can hurt and/or irritate the other person emotionally.
In the list below I share some of the questions that are not as polite as we might think they are.
What not to ask people this Eid ul Fitr or any other party?
- Do not ask anyone when they are getting married. People might be looking aggressively for an appropriate rishta and sometimes finding a suitable rishta is not easy. And no, it’s not suitable to tell them about certain single women who you think might be extremely lonely. There is no point in showing the grim side of not being married. Sometimes, they do not want to get married any time soon and they have other plans. At times it gets so infuriating that many young adults do not want to join their family during ‘House hopping’.
- Do not ask others when they might be having kids. Infertility issues, miscarriages or sometimes just not planning a child might be the reason for a couple not having a child. Other people reproductive health and decisions are none of your business. You don’t know who is dealing with infertility or grieving miscarriages or struggling with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship issues or who might not be in a position to have their ‘next’ child straight away. You don’t know your seemingly innocent question might cause some people grief, pain or stress. This is one question you must stay away from.
- Do not comment on anyone’s weight. You can simply say, ‘It’s so good to see you.’ We will surely meet someone who might lost a bit too much weight or someone who has drastically gained a lot of weight. Weight is sometimes not just about being lazy or over indulgence. Whether you believe it or not, it’s not necessary at all to tell someone about how bad they look due to their weight. They probably do have mirrors at home and know exactly how they look. Their weight is their business. Some people are confident and secure in whatever their weight may be. Some people are struggling. So it’s best to avoid any conversation that revolves around weight.
- If you meet a young child, do not ask them who their favourite family member is or who they love most. Love is a huge word and it’s meaning can’t possibly be understood by a young child. Also do not force them to eat something. Nut/gluten allergies are more common than you might think so let the parents choose what they want their kids to eat.
- This one is also a basic etiquette that you must have when meeting a young child. Do not say, ‘hug/kiss me and I will give you a treat.’ Please do not invade a child’s private space. They are still learning about trust and do not tell the child that its alright to bribe for certain ‘favours’
So yea, that’s about it. Sometimes empathy is more important than anything else. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t cost anything.