When I was in college, people would start conversations with me by asking, ”What’s your major?” It wasn’t a very creative way to start a conversation but it was effective as an invitation to talk about my interests.
Now that I have long since graduated, people don’t ask me that any more. Most ask me about my job. It’s the grown-up equivalent of “What’s your major?” and it works just as well.
But I have noticed that a significant minority of people–mostly Mormons–don’t ask me about my work. Instead, they ask, “What does your husband do?”
This question doesn’t work as well for me. I can answer the question. I know what my husband does. But then the conversation drags to a halt because I am not terribly interested in my husband’s occupation. He does valuable, meaningful work. There’s nothing wrong with what he does. But I didn’t choose to go into that field myself because it doesn’t interest me personally. And because it doesn’t interest me personally, it’s not the best conversation-starter for me.
Once, at a Mormon wedding, the stranger seated beside me made a valiant effort to start a conversation with me and I tried as hard as I could to engage. First she asked me, “What does your husband do?” She followed that with, “What does your father do?” and then went on to “What does your brother do?”Read More