Curiosity is by all means a virtue, but it can be extremely dangerous when improperly used.
If we learn or hear about something that piques our interest, our first inclination is to dig a little deeper and learn more about it.
Sometimes, however, we find ourselves wishing we hadn’t.
Especially if doing so has repercussions with our friends and family.
A colleague of Redditor Dizzy-Box-6519 recently had a baby.
While discussing one of the most noteworthy things about being a new mother, the original poster (OP) found herself fascinated, asking her colleague a question.
A question which her colleague didn’t appreciate one bit, and which wasn’t helped by further commentary by another colleague, eventually creating a tense environment in the office.
Wondering if she had overstepped, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for asking my coworker what would happen if I drank her breastmilk?”
The OP explained how asking what she thought was an innocent question ended up putting her in hot water:
“My (20 F[emale]) coworker Kate had a baby a little while ago, and in the break room 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 breast feeding.”
“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.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community all but unanimously agreed that the OP was very much out of line, and was indeed the a**hole for asking Kate about her breast milk.
While many agreed that the OP clearly didn’t mean any harm and wasn’t making fun of Kate, everyone nonetheless agreed that the OP’s question was invasive and inappropriate, and apologizing to Kate was the right thing to do:
“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.”
“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.”- BoyoDee
“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.”- MontCoDubV
“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’.”- TwoCenturyVoid
“I audibly said EW at your question.”
“Those are intrusive questions; next time Google it.”
“We have the technology; use it.”- BoopBoop_420
“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.”
“Next time just ask google your weird questions.”- CanterCircles
“YTA for how your question was phrased.”
“You made it sound like a personal inquiry rather than an objective question.”
“That was creepy sounding, even if you didn’t mean it that way.”
“NTA for the subsequent conversation about wet nurses, which was informational, which in no way could be construed as making fun of Kate.”- Curious-One4595
“As a woman who has nursed three kids for more than three years each.”
“I would have thought that was an interesting question.”
“You didn’t ask if you could suck her boobs and it was a hypothetical question.”
“To answer your question.”
“No it would not make you sick or anything.”
“I personally have tasted my own milk (as has my husband).”
“I don’t like it – it’s very sweet.”
“He kind of likes it.”- moosmutzel81
“You were making creepy comments about someone who is breastfeeding, and you’re damn lucky you haven’t been called into HR over it.”- DarthCredence
“In a corporate setting it is better to avoid such personal interpreted questions, even out of curiosity, as you don’t know the people well enough how they would react and it could get you in trouble with HR.”
“In a private setting with friends or family this would be an alright question.”
“Also, as it is just a general question about breastmilk and not a personal one it is better to do a quick internet search.”- stats1444
“Uhhh, yeah, so whatever your motive that’s obviously going to make someone uncomfortable.”
“Not every thought process should be shared.”
“I have ADHD too, and this little social rule can be quite helpful at times:”
“If you’re doing something/in a situation that would be creepy, weird, cringe, or inappropriate if the genders were were switched or different, you’re just doing a creepy, weird, cringe, or inappropriate thing.”
“It may not be malicious, it may just be general curiousity/a desire to learn or understand, but only you are inside of your own head and only you know your intentions.”
“Others around you aren’t going to immediately understand your personal context and are going to assign their own meaning to what’s happening.”
“Drinking Breast milk can be a fetish.”
“While you were just trying to understand more about the breast milk process and the ADHD train had jumped the track and was on route to a different station, your question had some serious ‘I’m thinking about drinking your breast milk” vibes, which may not be fully appropriate in a work context.”- MsAresAsclepius
“YTA on so many creepy levels I shivered just reading the title.”- deckyon
There were a select few, however, who felt the OP did nothing wrong, even if they also agreed Kate had the right to be offended by the question:
“Yeah it was weird but it was a question borne out of genuine curiosity if badly phrased.”
“Your coworker is rightfully a bit grossed out.”
“Maybe apologise say there was no malice as it was a genuine question just very poorly phrased.”-wheres_the_boobs
“You were asking a legitimate question you did not know the answer to, but as you said, it was a weird wording and a kinda personal question, so I would give her leeway, but the question you were asking overall actually isn’t that creepy or personal.”
“You weren’t actually asking about her personal breastmilk, but you personalized the question by using HER breastmilk as the example.”
“Your intentions were pure, but the execution wasn’t great.”
“If I were you, just to smooth things out, I would apologize to Kate, clarifying that you weren’t asking about her breastmilk but that you were more curious about the medical composition of breastmilk in general, which you realize now you should’ve just googled it instead of asking her directly.”
“Tell her you’re very sorry if you made her uncomfortable and that you’ll keep those kinds of general questions to yourself from here on out, that you won’t expect her to be your pregnancy manual.”- Le-Deek-Supreme
The OP came back with an update.
“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.”
It seems clear that the OP was curious about the general science of breastfeeding and nothing specific about Kate.
Even so, breastfeeding, and one’s body, in general, are very personal things that not everyone is comfortable talking about.
Leaving one to agree that perhaps the next time the OP finds herself wondering something, she should turn to the internet rather than asking others.