We all know that words can heal, just as they can hurt. The same goes with asking questions. Sometimes even the most innocent ones, given the particular circumstances, like a simple “who are you?” and “why wouldn’t you stand up straight for a photo?” can hit us in the bones.

So when Redditor Sneha_magic asked people “What innocent question that someone asked you crushed you a little?” on the AskReddit community, it resonated with many people. And they shared their own emotional experiences when a single question made them very emotional, and it’s one hell of a read. It turns out, we should never take any question for granted, no matter how innocent and well-intentioned it may feel to us.

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A waiter asked me if my wife was pregnant once. She was just bloated from chemo side effects. Crushed me, so glad she didn't hear. She couldn't have had kids and she passed 2 years back.Edit: I just wanted to say thanks to those who commented on this, it wasn't expected. We went to the place a lot so as a young couple he had seen over the years it was probably a reasonable thing to assume.Also I'm doing ok, we knew she was terminal for most of our relationship, we probably did more in those few short years than we would have normally. It hurts a lot still but I know I have her everything I possibly could in that time. Just remember to live life like each day could be your last people, mend that broken friendship, ask out that girl, follow your dream. XXX.

TheMrJacobi,Andrea Piacquadio Report

209points POSTLouise NLouise N Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

no truer words ever spoken.. RIP to your lovely wife

6363pointsreplyView more comments#2

I went to get a haircut for my Fiance's funeral. It was Friday. He had died on Tuesday. My stylist, all bubbly, said, 'It's been awhile!! The last time I saw you, you were just about to move in with your boyfriend! How's it going?' The words stuck and I kind of rasped it out.Honestly though, her reaction was so wonderful. She was behind me, and just put her hands firmly on my shoulders and looked me in the eyes in the mirror. No shock, no stupid platitudes, just silent, genuine empathy. The rest of the haircut was pretty quiet, but she did everything so... like, lovingly, and didn't make a big deal out of it when I cried a little.

RaptureReject,cottonbro Report

207points POSTDanDan Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Sorry for your loss

6565pointsreplyView more comments#3

I teach 1st grade and was talking about how I've been married for 5 years. One student asked, 'How could you not have a baby by now?' Not wanting to explain multiple miscarriages and IVF to a classroom of 6 year olds I said, 'Being around all of you makes my heart so full that I don't think I have room in my heart for a baby!!' They all smiled. I smiled too. I've learned from my experience to never ask couples when/if they want to have a family.

Asquirrelgirl,Ivan Aleksic Report

203points POSTMaddaPandaMaddaPanda Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Lovely reply even though it broke your heart.

8080pointsreplyView more comments

Previously, Bored Panda reached out to Lynn How, the author of “,” about the psychology behind asking and receiving questions like that. Lynn specializes in supporting parents, teachers, and children navigating through mental health issues and prevention. According to Lynn, it is always a good idea to think carefully before asking a question. “There are so many variables to consider, such as, is my question too personal? Do I know the person well enough to ask this question? Should I ask this question in private rather than in front of others? Do I really need to know the answer?”


When I was 13 my mom got a divorce from a man who I can only refer to as a “step monster”I worked all summer to save up money since we didn’t have a lot and I was worried we wouldn’t have enough to pay the bills.I ended up having a few dollars left over and wanted to buy my mom a gift and she mentioned she needed a new watch for her birthday.I went to the jeweler and got a $100 gold Citizen Evo Drive watch. It was functional and it looked really nice.When I gave it to her, her first response was “thanks honey, did it come in silver?”I was crushed.Insult to injury: she started dating a guy around the same time and he bought her a crappy silver watch. She ended up wearing his over mine18 years later and it still hurts when I think about it.

TonkaButt,Mitchel Lensink Report

176points POSTMaddaPandaMaddaPanda Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Your unconditional love and all the heart felt beautiful gifts couldn’t buy her a soul because she was empty in the first place.

9898pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#5

My son undergoing chemo and radiation treatment for a bone marrow transplant. People, meaning well of course, would always ask 'how's your son doing?' I'd always have to fake a smile and give some shallow hopeful answer 'he's fine. He's a fighter' but deep inside the question crushed me every time. No, he was suffering. Teetered on the brink of Life and death. He was not 'fine' and Everytime I heard that question I was reminded of it and had to swallow the pain. My son has since recovered, but it was a very tough time.

GameQb11,Jon Tyson Report

146points POSTPlenty PineapplesPlenty Pineapples Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago(edited)

A genuine question- what should people ask? What question would be helpful? I know it would obviously not be the same for everyone...Edit- thank you so much for the responses!

7575pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#6

My mom accidentally called me after about 10 years of not talking. I answered all ready for a serious conversation. When I answered, she was like 'wait, who's this?' I say 'hey mom it's me.' Her reply is what hurt.Who? Why are you calling me mom?She was so drunk she didn't recognize her own daughter's name. F**k'aye.

fragglerawks,Jonas Leupe Report

144points POSTElliot FowlerElliot Fowler Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Heart breaking but maybe since the mom called while drunk, in her subconscious mind she might still want to mend the relationship with her daughter

2626pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments

Moreover, Lynn argues, some questions can easily be taken to be offensive or out of context, even if no offense was meant. “Sometimes well-meaning people can ask something and be surprised by the blunt response! Sometimes we answer the question politely but are secretly dying inside due to sadness or embarrassment.”


Just happened recently actually. A few years ago I had a pretty awesome life, I was married. My husband and I were trying to have kids and when I needed a car we just got me an SUV in anticipation for needing it for kids (he had two and we planned to have 2-3)Well things didn’t work out and he ended up dying from drinking himself to death in January and between that and 2 miscarriages, an ectopic and an IVF cycle that failed I’m slowly coming to the realization that I’ll never be a mother. It’s painful to say the least.The kid I nanny for was sitting in my car and we were discussing his day when he says 'nanny why do you have such a big car when it’s only you?' I wanted to cry right there on the spot, it just really stung. But instead I told him it was because I knew I would be watching him and I needed a car big enough for him which seemed to placate him and he then started discussing Batman with me.

SuperGurlToTheRescue,Mike Report

142points POSTAski MarkupAski Markup Community Member •points postscommentsupvotes3 days ago


4242pointsreplyView more comments#8

“Since when do you have a stutter?” -my momWhen I get extremely anxious I stutter a lot. My dad had been incredibly hard on me that day and I was holding back tears. It hurt me that my mom had never noticed it before and she seemed annoyed by it rather than concerned.

yugayaoyama,Ricardo Esquivel Report

132points POSTRage of AquariusRage of Aquarius Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

Entirely relatable. I'm sorry for their ineptitudes.

3030pointsreplyView more comments#9

I grew up lower middle class and my parents had been severely injured by a drunk driver at the end of my 8th grade year and were disabled and no longer able to work. We basically had no money for school clothes but my mother tried to get me a few cool shirts.I wasn’t a popular kid and most people didn’t really know much about me. In my freshman year of high school, one of the popular girls in my class asked, “don’t you have more than 3 shirts? I only ever see you in the same 3 shirts.”High school in the 80’s in the United States sucked.

liablemtl,Anna Nekrashevich Report

123points POSTMohammad AmmarMohammad Ammar Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago(edited)

This is why school uniform exists. Saves kids from stuff like this, and saves parents time and money.

4545pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments

Moreover, there are many questions that are better left untouched. “There are a myriad of untouchable subjects that I've gleaned from various life experiences. I am certainly much better at question filtering than I was in my 20s. For example, having gone through fertility treatment, I would never ask someone why they were not pregnant yet because I know firsthand how upsetting it is.”

Other taboo subjects include weight, relationships, salary, and age. “Of course, when it's your best friend, you can ask more deep and meaningful questions in comparison to someone you have just met,” Lynn concluded.


I got asked why I wouldn't stand up straight for a photo. I have kyphosis and am standing up as straight as I can.

foxturtle123,Tom Pottiger Report

120points POSTJing Yi XuJing Yi Xu Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

I hope you told that person, I'm sorry to hear that

2424pointsreplyView more comments#11

Someone jokingly asked me if I was high because my eyes were red. I had just been diagnosed with an eye disease and told I would go blind before 50. My eyes were red from my medicated eye drops and partially from crying. I was only sixteen and having a hard time coming to terms with it.

[deleted],Vanessa Bumbeers Report

117points POSTSamantha PowerSamantha Power Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Sorry to read this, always wonder why people can be so incredibly insensitive.

2929pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#12

Mom asked me, 'Who are you?' when I visited her recently. She has dementia.

socrates_scrotum,Eduardo Barrios Report

115points POSTMaddaPandaMaddaPanda Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

I’m sure she appreciates the “stranger’s” visits though.

4545pointsreplyView more comments#13

"When will we dig up dad?" asked by my almost 5 yo son. He's never met him as dad died three months before birth. This goes along the question "when will dad stop being dead?".

SmoczyCzarownik,Daian Gan Report

112points POSTDebbie BarnesDebbie Barnes Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago(edited)

Death is so hard to explain to children. Many years ago my son died, when my daughter was 5 years old.Despite trying to explain why her brother was now living in Heaven (can there be any explanation?), she still made up her dolls bed up for him and a jar of rice pudding (that he loved) in the fridge 'for when he came back'....

5656pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#14

"Why did you did you teach yourself how to shave"My boss asked me when I missed a few spots when I was in work. We got into the topic of shaving properly. My father died when I was 12 of a heart attack. He wasn't really around enough or cared enough to be in my life. From when he left my mother when I was 5, she raised me until i was 18 and then thank god my step father came into our life. He married my mom and right after, took me to the court house and adopted me. I told him that it wasn't necessary since I was 18 and starting life as a man but he insisted that he wanted to be there for me until the day he passes away. I still cry till this day that a man who doesn't even have my blood, wants to be there for me for anything. I don't know where I would be without him. Him and my mom have been happily married for 10 years now!

AvactnVayne Report

111points POSTBill DolmanBill Dolman Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

That's what a good man does. You have a good man there.

5151pointsreplyView more comments#15

Specialist appointment and they did the normal thing of checking contact details. They asked if the contact number and details for my wife were still correct. I started crying - my wife passed away this time 12 months ago. Surprising how much one simple question asked in total innocence can bring you to your knee

M1r9f7i9sh,National Cancer Institute Report

103points POSTStoopham McFernybabesStoopham McFernybabes Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

I did that with a patient, today. I asked if the emergency contact person, [name], was still correct and the patient said “Oh, no - [name’s] in a nursing home now with profound dementia”. I’m so sorry, patient. I really, really am.

4747pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#16

'I could never imagine getting cancer at such a young age. How are you this strong/brave/do you stay so positive?' - I’ve stopped counting the amount of people (especially working at the hospital, I’d expect a bit more sensitivity from them) that have asked me that. Yes I’m mid 20’s, but it’s not a choice that I’m 'staying strong.' it’s freaking survival. Every time someone asks me that, it feels like getting punched.

30 People Are Sharing Seemingly Innocent Questions That Broke Their Heart A Little

alonelymushroom,Erkan Utu Report

99points POSTCaro CaroCaro Caro Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

You sigh and get on with your life. My husband always said "just go with the flow and we'll see what happens.". He never complained but the stories about fighting cancer, being brave and strong are bs, You just let it happen.

2525pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#17

I always wanted to study psychology in college but my overbearing mother wouldn’t have that so I studied chemistry. In my last semester I took an abnormal psychology class just for fun and I crushed it, ending with a 99% average. After the final, my professor took me outside the classroom and said, “Why didn’t you major in psychology? You would have made a great psychologist.”That really crushed my soul. I think about that day a lot

cain62 Report

95points POSTVanja VidovicVanja Vidovic Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

It's never too late for studying!

5353pointsreplyView more comments#18

Rough night last night?' Usually asked with a big smile.I was asked that all the time when I was younger because I had a really obvious tremor. Thing is, I did not drink or do drugs at all and I had no idea what was wrong with me. I was eventually diagnosed with Graves' Disease and treated for it, but I still have a bit of a tremor.

imk,Priscilla Du Preez Report

93points POSTCaro CaroCaro Caro Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

My friend has a tremor. Her hands shake, not even a bit but really shake as if she's very nervous. I started after she lost her mother to an accident. She can deal with it but people tend to stare or make stupid remarks.

2828pointsreplyView More Replies... View more commentsSee Also on Bored Panda50 Rare Photos That Reveal The Unseen Side Of Things (New Pics)The Opposite Of Design Fails: 50 Of The Most Brilliant Design Ideas That People Have Ever Shared In This Online Group (New Pics)#19

Someone once asked me "don't you want to be a mom?" Yes, I do. But as I'm single, over 40 and not rich, that's probably not going to happen and it devastated me. I had to say "Yes, I'd love that", and then excuse myself to go home and cry.

OhioMegi Report

90points POSTStoopham McFernybabesStoopham McFernybabes Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Not that I think you should sacrifice yourself for some idiot, but maybe if you did cry straight away the idiot would realise that this is just not an appropriate question to ask anyone.

3535pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments #20

"Who do you want to list as your emergency contact?"At the dentist's office a few weeks after my mom died and four years after my dad died. I felt like bursting into tears because, at 22 years old, I really didn't know.

i_be_snackin Report

85points POSTCatGirlCatGirl Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

Babe - that is so hard. I'm sorry.

4242pointsreplyView more comments#21

I was a freshmen in High School in 1992-93. My high school science teacher asked me if I was ever jealous of my older brother(he was a senior). I was kind of confused.She said, "You know, since he is so smart, popular, and just has everything going for him..."First time I had ever, in my entire life, considered that people viewed my brother as better than me.It has honestly kind of stuck with me. That was 26 or 27 years ago.

Mahaloth Report

84points POSTCatGirlCatGirl Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

That is so utterly s**t of that teacher.

6868pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#22

'When will you get better so you can play with us?' My niece who was to young to understand what disabled meant. She's older now and understands I will never get better. And we have adapted play time to do things i can handle as well. But that broke my heart.

littletrashpanda77,Marcus Aurelius Report

81points POSTDanDan Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago


2020pointsreply #23

"So when are you going back for your master's degree?"I was so proud of getting my bachelor's and had no intention of going back because how rough school was for me.

Cometstarlight Report

79points POSTLollyLolly Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

Well done you on your bachelor's 🎊🎊🎊yaaaayyyy🎊🎊🎊 all that hard work! I'm proud of you too 👍👍👍

3030pointsreplyView more comments#24

Not a question but my 8 year old niece once remarked "you don't laugh anymore".Edit: this was over a year ago when I was having a rough time but I'm doing much better now. Thank you all for your support and for sharing your stories. I wish you all the best.Thanks again for the gold kind strangers xx

[deleted] Report

76points POSTshodokaishodokai Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago


33pointsreplyView more comments#25

Why don't you live with your parents?I live with my grandparents because I didn't want to live with my abusive stepmoms on both sides of the family. They all live down in Texas while I'm in Colorado. Still hurts a little when people ask, though.

lowkey_h8_myself,Scott Webb Report

75points POSTAuntriarchAuntriarch Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

So glad you have your grandparents

3939pointsreplyView more comments#26

“How’s your brother doing? Haven’t seen him in a little while.” He passed away 2 years ago. That wasn’t very fun

iAmCleatis,John Thomas Report

73points POSTSamantha PowerSamantha Power Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

That must hurt, however they probably didn't know he had passed x

1515pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#27

'How are you handling everything?' - my notary public who also happens to be my boss's boss while notarizing my divorce paperwork. Completing a divorce packet with no help from an attorney can be a real pain, but at least it kept me focused on the bureaucratic bullsh*t nonsense part of it rather than the fact that my 9 year marriage was ending. Turned out that as soon as someone asked me sincerely how I was doing, the answer was not at all well. I went back to my desk and had a panic attack.

oyofmidmidworld,RODNAE Productions Report

66points POSTStoopham McFernybabesStoopham McFernybabes Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

I’m so sorry, OP. That must have been awful.

1111pointsreplyView more comments#28

“so why did you decide to take year off school right now?”I‘m a pre med student only half way though undergrad, so i get that it’s a weird time to take time off school. But i don’t think my new coworkers realize how personal of a question that is. I can’t tell them it’s because I was hospitalized for 2 weeks after trying to kill my self, jumped right back in to school the next semester, and then failed that miserably before realizing that i need to at least take a year off. so i say, “just really felt like i needed a break :)”

noelleelleon Report

65points POSTN.C. O'BrienN.C. O'Brien Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

Discharged from Psyche ward during college (after 2 and a half months stay) Friday. Went back to college that Monday. Lasted a week before pulling out of the course as had projects due the following week!! Pressure not worth the paper cert at the end of it

1515pointsreplyView More Replies... View more commentsSee Also on Bored PandaPeople On This Group Are Sharing Examples Of 'Urban Hell' That Look Like A Dystopian Movie But Are Sadly Real (40 Pics)South Korea Is A Whole Different World, And These 50 Photos Are Here To Prove It#29

Why don't you have any kids? Sometimes it really bothers me when people ask me this.

MustacheFart69,Fa Barboza Report

62points POSTMaddaPandaMaddaPanda Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow3 days ago

That question should be banned.

5555pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#30

I had no friends in summer school and a girl asked me if I had any friends. Like straight up, 'Do you have any friends?' Then became friends with me but still.

boringassy,kyo azuma Report

54points POSTRandom AnonRandom Anon Community Member •points postscommentsupvotes3 days ago

Oh my friends didn't survive the zombies.

1616pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#31

This could get covered up but maybe it won't. My most heartbreaking question was "And who did you used to play for?"Background context. I come from a family of talented artists and musicians. As a child, I became a sort of music prodigy as I picked up music theory rather quickly along with instrument playing. I used to practice on this very old piano my granny (my great grandma on my dad's side) had. She would patiently listen to me plunk out tunes and became my music mentor. I had recently been asked by my teacher a couple of get-to-know-you questions and I had said I played for my family but just one person made me better. My granny passed away back in 2019, and it has been four years since she died on March 12. I was very close to my granny and her death had hit me hard. Her death was the one who made me realize how little time I had with my loved ones. I ended up just offhandedly saying "My granny." She asked about my granny and the questions made me uncomfortable before I told the teacher I was uncomfortable and that my granny had died. She just shrugged and continued to ask anyway. My least favorite was "Did you play anything for her before she died?"The answer is yes, I played her favorite hymnal but at this point I felt my anxiety act up and I walked out into my other teacher's classroom and told her about the incident. The nosy teacher ended up with a warning and had to give me an apology. Either way, those were some uncomfortable questions.


35pointst-GrexPOSTgrindelwald_the_insomnia_pandagrindelwald_the_insomnia_panda Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

you most likely aren't looking for anything but, I am sorry. your grandmother sounds AWESOME. if you believe in the after life, maybe she and my grandfather are hanging out? my nana says that if there is thunder it is your loved ones bowling.

44pointsreplyView More Replies... View more comments#32

“You good?” I’ve been struggling with myself a lot lately, mostly relating to my gender identity and my body. Thank god the friend who asked that is willing to help me out with what I need.


31pointsLawlessPOSTSportsgalSportsgal Community Member •points postscommentsupvotesFollowUnfollow2 days ago

Glad you have someone to talk to!

33pointsreplyView more comments

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