We all know the phrase "curiosity killed the cat." Well, in workplace settings - sometimes curiosity kills the vibe. What comes off as an innocent question to one person, might feel creepy or offensive to another. It's all about reading the room, particularly if you have to work together.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for asking her coworker what would happen if she drank her breast milk. She wrote:
My (20/F) coworker Kate had a baby a little while ago, and in the breakroom during lunch yesterday she was talking about breastfeeding. During the conversation I asked Kate, “Hey, so what would happen if I were to drink your breastmilk?”
Kate said, “Excuse me?”
I did realize that it sounded like a weird question when you didn’t hear the train of thought leading up to it, so I tried to explain myself and said, “I mean is it okay because your baby is related to you, but I’d get sick because I don’t have your same bacteria?”
Kate didn’t answer me, but our other coworker Lauren then said, “Well, it can’t be that that’s how it works because then wet nurses wouldn’t have been a thing.”
I’ve never heard of a wet nurse and asked Lauren, “What’s that?”
Lauren said, “It’s when you hire a nanny who had a baby at the same time as you so that she can also breastfeed your baby for you, but it’s like an old-timey thing.”
So at this point Kate said, “You guys are being d*cks,” and left.
I found out today that she’s telling people that me and Lauren were making fun of her about breastfeeding. So I do understand why Kate would’ve been uncomfortable with the first way I asked the question because yes that was kind of a stupid way to say it, but I don’t really understand how she thinks I was making fun of her at all after that. AITA?
Look some thoughts just don't need to be shared with others. You asked a gross and weird question, and I'm not entirely sure why you even thought she'd want to answer or necessarily know the answer. You seemed to be trying to creep her out on purpose, which she took as making fun of her. YTA. Next time just ask google your weird questions.
Soft YTA. You didn't make fun of her and neither did Lauren. But your question was definitely inappropriate. She's talking about her baby sucking on her boob to get food and you were just like "what if I sucked on your boob" in different words. I get that's not what you were trying to ask.
I understand you were asking whether it's healthy/safe to drink breastmilk produced by someone not related to you. But the way you phrased your question was rude. Also, dude, the milk we buy from the store, use to make cheese and yogurt and ice cream, comes from a completely different animal. Of course human milk is safe for humans to drink.
You should probably apologize to Kate. Tell her you realize it was inappropriate to ask and you’re not making fun of her at all. And use google next time. YTA.
YTA. That is such a weird and intrusive question. If you were so curious, maybe you could have googled something along the lines of “person not related to mother child drinking breast milk” rather than insert yourself and co-worker into a really creepy hypothetical scenario. You need a filter.
YTA. I think if you don’t recognize how invasive that question is you may need to talk to a therapist/social worker who specializes in helping people who have deficits in social skills or understanding social norms.
If you do understand how invasive the question is (in retrospect), might need to do some work on how to keep from blurting weird thoughts before they go through the filter and/or how to apologize well if they do come out. I am guessing her issue wasn’t “mockery”, that was just the politest way she knows to say “made me really uncomfortable.”
So first I guess I need to explain a couple of things that people missed in my first post, mainly that I am 20/F even though most people were for some reason assuming that I was a guy. And also like I said in the post, I understood in the first place that I worded my initial question to Kate badly. The thing that I didn’t understand was how it seemed like I was making fun of Kate.
I do understand now after people explained and after what Kate said when I did talk to her about it that it was because it just didn’t seem like a question that anyone would ask seriously. So on Friday afternoon I went to Kate and told her, “Hey, I wanted to say sorry about yesterday. I get now that I asked a really inappropriate question and I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable.
And I understand that you felt like I was making fun of you, but that wasn’t my intention and I’m sorry it came out sounding that way.”
Kate said, “Okay, hold on. You were really just trying to ask about the germs in milk or whatever it was?”
I said, “Yeah. I know it sounded bad but I swear that’s all I meant.”
Kate said, “Well, if it was a genuine question then I’m sorry also. I shouldn’t have assumed ill intent.”
I said, “It’s okay. Like I said, I am sorry.”
Kate said, “Don’t worry about it.”
And then that was the end of the conversation and everything seemed fine.
That was big of Kate... glad it worked out. Please google before asking questions like that in future, it'll save a lot of pain.
I missed this original post, but I assumed you were asking if you could get an immunity boost from drinking her breast milk, not the other way around! I seriously miss having some on-ha d for the antibacterial properties. It worked way better than Neosporin on everyone in our household!
Heh. 😂🤣 That’s pretty funny actually. This is a good example of how communication can smooth things out.
I sympathise because when I read the initial post I was like "yep, I'd ask that exact question."
Luckily, it sounds like it all got smoothed over.