Inappropriate Questions


Let's resolve to have fewer awkward conversations in 2022: a flowchart

The key to great conversations is to ask good questions. But how do you know when curiosity crosses the line into nosiness? This flowchart from the team at Inappropriate Questions can help.

It's small talk season: Avoid awkward conversations by rethinking these 5 questions

Social skills feeling a little rusty this holiday season? Don't worry, we're all right there with you. To avoid any potential awkwardness, we've created a list of substitutes for small talk questions that – while common – could come off the wrong way when catching up with friends, family members or co-workers.

Why you shouldn't ask that: all the webcomics from Inappropriate Questions

As Season 3 comes to an end, enjoy reading all the companion comics all in one convenient place.

Answering your questions and looking back on Season 3

It’s the end of Season 3! Elena and Harv look back at some of the highlights of the season and answer some of your listener questions.

Is 'What are you going to do now?' good small talk?

We often ask new people about what they do for work, and if they’re in a transition period, the question becomes “What are you going to do now?” Whether they’re graduating, starting a family, or about to retire, we are fascinated about career next steps.

Is it okay to ask an autistic person 'Are you sure?'

Autistic people are sometimes met with skepticism when they tell someone they’re autistic, especially when they don’t match others’ assumptions of what autism is.

Should we ask 'Where are they now?' about former child actors?

We often look back on our favourite movies or shows and wonder where those actors are now. But how does it feel to see this question asked about you?

Is it okay to ask formerly incarcerated people 'Why did you do it?'

People are fascinated by the reasons people commit crime. But is “why” the right thing to ask a formerly incarcerated person?

Is it helpful to ask a blind person 'Do you need help?'

People who are blind or have low vision sometimes get approached with offers of help—whether they need it or not. Is it useful to offer help, or is it overstepping?

Should I ask someone with depression/anxiety 'Have you tried _____?'

Can suggesting things like meditation and exercise actually help someone with anxiety and/or depression?

Can I ask a sex worker 'What was your worst experience?'

There are many misconceptions surrounding sex work and people feel entitled to sex workers' stories

Should I ask someone 'Why are you single?'

Being single is something our friends, relatives, and even potential partners ask about, but why do we assume we need a partner to be complete?

Can I ask a Black friend 'How can I do better?'

Wanting to do better when it comes to fighting racism is great—but even with good intentions, asking the Black people in your life to tell you how isn’t the way to start.

Is it okay to ask an adoptee 'Do you know your real parents?'

We might assume some parents are “real” and others aren’t—and that anyone who doesn’t know their birth parents is searching for them. But no one term or story fits for everyone who’s adopted.

Can I ask a polyamorous person 'Do you get jealous?'

When every love song and romcom is about finding your one true love, the idea of having multiple romantic partners can raise a lot of questions. One thing polyamorous people get asked a lot is whether they get jealous.

Should I ask my coworker 'How much do you make?'

It can be really scary to ask a coworker how much they make. But does talking about our salaries more openly lead to more equal pay?

What does it mean to ask 'How are you?' in a pandemic?

In the pandemic, answering “How are you?” isn’t as easy as saying “I’m fine.”

Is asking 'Where are you from?' appropriate small talk?

People are genuinely curious to learn about each others’ backgrounds or cultures. While this question might start a good conversation, it can also often make people feel othered and unwelcome.

Is it okay to ask an amputee 'What happened to you?'

Not every amputee has a shocking story behind their amputation, and those who do don’t always want to talk about.

'Can I speak to your manager?'

Asking for the manager can be loaded. It can reveal who we think holds the power in a business—and who we think doesn’t.

'How old are you?'

Is it rude to ask someone their age? Harv isn’t comfortable telling people how old he is anymore and he’s not alone.

'Have you tried _____?'

Well-meaning people propose lots of ways for people with chronic illnesses to treat their conditions.

'Are you full Native?'

Many Indigenous people get asked how much Indigenous ancestry they have. But identity isn’t all about fractions.

'How did you get pregnant?'

There are lots of ways to start a family as an LGBTQ+ person, and not all of them are well understood.

A death doula's guide on how best to support loved ones who are grieving

Kayla Moryoussef on what to say, what not to ask (how are you?), and other concrete tips for showing you really care.