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7 Things You Shouldn't Say To Me

Thanks, but no thanks

By Caitlin McCollPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 7 min read
7 Things You Shouldn't Say To Me
Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

Do you ever have people - sometimes strangers and sometimes people you know - say things to you that make you wonder: why on earth are you saying that? Do you hear yourself? I am so insulted/offended!

Are there some things people say that really push your buttons? Perhaps people are feeling like they’re being helpful, or showing interest, or trying to be supportive when they say some of these things, but really, they’re having the opposite effect and make me, a normally mild-mannered and kind person, really wish I knew more martial arts than just some Tai Chi from years ago.

Do you have things that people say to you that really irk you and make you wish that you were in one of the Marvel Avengers movies so you could just kick their a** for saying such stupid stuff? I know I do.

Here are 7 things that people shouldn’t say to me as a woman, as someone who is childfree by choice and as someone who has lost 5 family members in the last 5.5 years (including a fur baby).

As a Woman


Ugh. And Argh. And insert eyeroll here. I’m sure most women can relate to this. The whole ‘smile!’ or ‘cheer up!’. Just because I'm not inanely grinning from ear to ear doesn’t mean I’m not happy or not enjoying myself. I’m so glad the term Resting Bitch Face (RBF) was invented because I know I don’t usually smile a lot (mainly because often, when I do, my husband says ‘you should smile more! You have a nice smile’. Thanks for the compliment, but… I’ll smile when I actually feel like it, thank you very much!

When are you due?

Thankfully, no one has actually said this to me, but I know of other women, and I always cringe when I hear that. And this always comes from strangers bizarrely. But #1) it’s none of your business and #2) why should you care and #3) how rude because if you’re wrong you’re basically calling the person fat, which I'm sure they REALLY appreciate because then they have to point out that they aren’t and most likely draw attention to themselves. The only upside to this is the embarrassment/mortification caused to the asker of the question, as they should be.

As Someone Who Is Childfree By Choice

Heads up everyone. Not every woman on this planet wants to be a mother/parent. I have never wanted children and, newsflash, I’ve decided not to. I’m 42 (in September 2021), and I’ve been married for 19 years. And I’ve never wanted kids. Ever. I’ve never even held a baby. I’m not comfortable around kids. They aren’t my jam. Most of my friends don’t have kids. And they’re just foreign little beings to me. So, I’m very happily childfree and content with my life. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything not having them. A few years ago I asked my dad if he would have wanted grandkids, and he said he didn’t care (and also that he’s too old to be babysitting little kids at his age). So that was that. Here’s 2 questions that, when I openly tell people I don’t have kids because I don’t want them, they invariably say:

You’ll change your mind

Hm. Nope. I’ve never wanted them. I’m 42 now, so I think any biological clock I may have had should have well and truly stopped by now. And I have my (new) dog, and my husband, and that’s plenty. People are always in awe of all the stuff I’ve done and have on the go and ask how I do it all. Besides answering that I make time for doing the stuff I want to do, I also say that not having kids really helps (even though I do still have to fit in spending time with my husband and dog).

You’ll regret it when you’re older

People use this as a ‘kids will take care of you when you’re older!’ reasoning. Um, not necessarily. Kids will have their own lives. When my mom’s health was declining, because I live far away (including taking an hour and a half ferry to get there) I could only visit once in a while. I did visit as much as I could, every few months, but I wasn’t there for the day-to-day care of her. That was on my dad (and perhaps my brother who lived with my parents (and now still lives with my dad) - I’m not sure?). I helped out when I visited but other than that, I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t there to be able to take care of her as much as I would’ve liked. So that’s not a good enough reason to want kids - to potentially have someone to take care of you in your old age. And putting that pressure and responsibility on kids to do that anyway is a bit unfair, I think. As I said, they have their own lives (and yes, I know there are many children who will take care of their aging/ailing parents and that’s great, but it’s not feasible for everyone).

As Someone Who’s lost Loved Ones

These last 5ish years have been heavy for me. I lost my mom 5.5ish years ago from alcoholism. I was 36. Which, it turns out, is the same age my dad was when he lost his mom to cancer.

Then I saw my fur baby border collie of 15 years, our son (see above point), and during the pandemic I lost my grandma, an aunt and an uncle (my mom’s mom, sister and brother). Thankfully (?) not to Covid. My grandma was 95, and had been ready to go for a good few years seeing how my grandpa has been gone over 10+ years and she was the last of all her friends. I lost my mom’s sister to cancer in January 2021, and couldn’t visit or say goodbye to her beforehand because of the pandemic, but I did manage to have a few Facebook video conversations before she passed, so there’s that. And At the end of July my mom’s brother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. And with that, that’s my mom’s entire family gone. It’s a strange feeling. So, I’ve been doing a lot of grieving of losses the last few years and what I’ve learned when someone loses someone the best thing to do is: less is more. The more that you say, the more chances are you’ll say something inappropriate, even though you’re feeling like you’re being helpful.

So here’s some things you shouldn’t say to someone who’s lost loved ones.

I know exactly how you feel, I've lost (insert person/pet/thing here).

You know exactly how I feel? I’m sorry but the answer to that is a big fat no. No one can know exactly how anyone else is feeling. Even if you’ve both lost your mom or your sister or your grandparents. Everyone’s relationships are different. And that’s all I really need to say about that.

The #1 thing not to do, in my opinion, is to not make it about you. Don’t suddenly start telling me about how sad you were when your cat died when I’m telling you how I’m feeling about losing my mom (true story!). You might think you’re being empathetic because you think you’re relating to the person...but no. You’re taking the focus away from the person who’s needing support and making it about you. All this does is minimizes the person’s grief and makes them think you’re not there to support them.

It Was Their Time / They’re In a Better Place

I don’t know about you. Maybe when people have said that to you, you’ve found it comforting. Me? Nope. Because: How do you know? How do you know it was their time (what does that even mean?! I find it cold and insensitive to say this). And same with being in a better place. Maybe because I’m not religious so I don't believe in any sort of heaven, but I'm sorry, I have no idea where they are and if wherever that is is better than here, and it’s not our place to make those assumptions.

Don’t Cry / This will Pass / You’ll Feel Better Soon

One thing I absolutely HATE is when people tell me not to cry. Excuse me?! You don’t get to dictate how I’m feeling. Maybe I want to cry. Maybe crying will make me feel better. Is my crying making you feel uncomfortable or awkward? I’m sorry (not!).

Or if they say ‘this will pass’ or ‘you’ll feel better soon’. I don’t want to feel like I need to rush my grief, thank you! I’ll take however long I take to heal and process and learn to adjust to my new life without this loved one in it. I may feel better soon, but I may not. And however I feel isn’t any of your business, really. I know people say it because they mean well and they’re thinking it’ll make you feel better to know that you will not feel as awful as you do now forever, but for me, it really really grates on me when they say that.

And that’s it. Well, mostly.

But those are the three areas of my life that I hate people trying to make me feel or be somehow different from what I am.


Check out a few other non-fiction articles of mine below!

other non-fiction articles of mine below!


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Caitlin McColl

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    Caitlin McCollWritten by Caitlin McColl

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