It’s Judgement Day… How will you fare? Not the end of the world, the apocalypse is here and the rapture is about to begin, but a real judgement day. I see it all the time, people offering advice about things that they don’t have any business offering their opinions about.
For example, I have a friend who is pregnant with her second child. She found out on her 40th birthday. Her first child is 20 years old or so. I overheard someone recently tell her that she “had waited too long to have her second.” Um… Are you sure about that? Isn’t that her decision to make? And I’ve heard people give her a lot of advice about the fact that she is forty and going to be a mother, again. They tell her how much harder it is on her body, on the baby, doesn’t she realize she’ll be sixty when the kid is in college… I just want to look at them and go “Shut up… she’s excited, what more can you possibly want from her?!?”
My SO and I get it a lot. You’ve been together 6 1/2 years, when are you going to put a ring on that finger? Um, maybe when we’ve been together another 6 1/2 years, then again, maybe not. Wait, I can’t wear a ring, I’m allergic to metal. He can’t wear a ring, he’s a tractor mechanic (good way to lose a finger). So, we’ll have to carry around our marriage certificate to prove that we’re married (unless we do the tattoo thing and we won’t, he’s afraid of needles and I don’t want a visible tattoo). If we married, I’d keep my own last name. I’ve had it for 34 years and I like it. Plus, it’s $125 to change my last name after we marry… We’ve just sunk money into a wedding, a reception, and a honeymoon… Do I want to put more money into this debacle? I have to change all my identification cards, all my banking information, all my author platform payment information because it has to match my legal name, get my business license reissued, and we aren’t having children, so it isn’t like we need to share a last name to pass along to them. That’s a lot of hassle for a freaking name. We live together. We are looking to buy a house together… buying a house is a HUGE commitment. Let’s take this one step at a time, because one of us has some commitment phobia (that would be me!). And when people find out that I have commitment phobia and have no interest in getting married, there is something wrong with me. Well, that might be the case, but it isn’t whatever snap judgement you just made. Ditto on the not having children thing, although this was definitely a decision my SO and I were totally in agreement about. My favorite “guilt trip” is you don’t want your parents to have grandchildren? Both our parents have grandchildren… Just not from us.
Another one that really irks me: I had a married friend who got divorced. After the divorce, she began dating a woman. Everyone decided the marriage fell apart because my friend was really a lesbian. Not the case. I won’t say the real reason the marriage broke up, but it had very little to do with her and a whole lot to do with her husband having a serious, major, Holy Shit WTF?!?, problem… and he refused to sort it out. I would have left too. Most women would have.
So, next time you are about to dole out advice or make a judgement call about someone else’s life, take a moment and think: how would I feel if I was in their position and they did this to me?