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Two Word that Hit One Nerve


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Oct. 26, 2009

The New York Times advice column, Social Q's, recently published a question about sharing pregnancy news. The inquirer asked if she should lie to her infertile friend about how quickly she conceived. The columnist advised her to tell the truth, saying "That's life."

Maybe it's because a man gave the advice, but "that's life" came across as pretty cold and indifferent. Whose life are we talking about here? Not his, obviously. And the person asking the question seems to know that this particular struggle is not so "just life-y."

Social Q's is a column with a pithy tone, so we don't expect deep, probing discussions on infertility. However, we don't usually greet other kinds of biological hardships with that phrase.

To be fair, the columnist did make a compassionate suggestion about how to have this difficult conversation. But that one phrase (which he used twice) ended up hitting a nerve.