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Negotiate Your Way To The Best Salary

Talking about salaries is one of the most sensitive stages in the job application process. It is indeed tricky because you do not want to sell yourself short, but at the same time, you do not want to appear too demanding—and risk a foot-in-mouth scenario in front of the hiring managers. However, when going to an interview, applicants must be prepared to answer questions about their target salaries. Here are some tips on how to negotiate the best deal and get the salary you deserve.

Businesspeople in a meeting

1. Trust in yourself and be confident.

Asking for more money certainly takes a lot of courage for obvious reasons. You should be grateful for having a job in these hard times, but that does not mean that you should be getting less than your worth. First of all, remind yourself that employers cannot read your mind; thus, you have to communicate with them why you deserve that amount. You may get a “no” but you are able to open the gates on pay increases and they will take that topic seriously the next time around.

2. Build your qualifications and specify them.

Set yourself apart from the competition in terms of education, experience, and skills. Bring out your key strengths on the table and demonstrate evidence of your worth. Even though they are already written in your resume, you have a better chance of expounding on your background when conversing with them.

3. Search for the market rate of the job you are applying for.

There are many websites that can help you find out the going salary rate for different jobs and companies, like Salary.com, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com. Note that the bigger the company, the more standardized their salary structures are. Average salaries also depend on where you live so factor that into your research.

4. Determine your minimum and target figures.

Get these two numbers set before the actual interview as if you were going to war. When asked, give your target figure, but inform the company that you are “flexible for the right opportunity”. You may either get offered the same number, or something less than that. If it is the latter, then be ready to …

5. Make a counteroffer.

Besides proving to the company that you are not a pushover, you also want to clarify your worth to them. Make a counteroffer that is not less than your minimum figure. If the company is persistent on their offer, try asking for benefits such as an extra vacation day or an option to work from home instead to save on your transportation costs.

6. Check your current employer’s counteroffer policies.

Ask your trusted colleagues about how open the company is when it comes to salary negotiation based on their experience in the past. Find out if you can see how much of a bargaining power you have. If your company can match the offer of the other firm, then think about whether to accept it or to totally move on to the new employer.

 

Mike Hall is a career expert and provides great advice and insight into the job market. He works with Newton International, a leader in workforce solutions, recruiting and placement. Visit their website for their list of hot jobs in the market and for the latest job-hunting tips.

Top Story: Men – How To Tell If A Woman Is Interested In You

Affectionate Couple in Bed

A guy can soon know and understand if a girl is interested in him, the signs are fairly obvious. However, for those that don’t know or haven’t seen these signs, here is how to tell if a girl is interested in you or not.

Eye contact:

If you are at a party or some other event and a girl is interested in you, the first thing you will notice is her eye contact. She may be across the other side of a room but you will still sense her focus is on you.

Most men when they know a girl is watching him, change their posture, stance or manner; they try, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to be cool and look more manly. My advice is to remain yourself.

There is no need to try and change who you are. A girl becomes interested in you because she see something in your personality that she likes acting differently will make her think, possibility, that you are suffering from delusions of grandeur or some other ego problem. To repeat, be your self, it is you she’s interested in not James Dean.

Body Language:

This is something women do extremely well. They know men are visual animals that put emphasis on looks initially. So, with this in mind, a woman to get a man’s attention will sometimes flaunt her body in some way.

For example, she may stand differently – a sexy pose or she may subtly display the curves of her body. What she is doing is not a trick, per se, it is the “attraction game” played between males and females.

Take the peacock, for example, the male bird, to get the attention of the female, displays all his colorful feathers and struts around with an attitude. Humans, both women and men, do the same thing – both are playing the game.

Conversation:

Once a woman has made initial contact and senses the man is interested, she will want to learn more about him. How she does this is through conversation. The most common method of breaking the ice is light banter, “Hi, are you enjoying the party?” short questions like this. You, the guy, responds accordingly with, “Yeah. How about you?” She has now broken the ice and the next question or statement will be names. “I’m Jill, by the way.” “Chad” is your answer and then you both shake hands.

This handshake is light; remember you’re not pumping the hand of a beer-drinking 200 pound bricklayer. The conversation from this point on will focus on each of you; your jobs, interests, where you live, etc.

It is important to note here that the girl is checking you out (as you are her). She’ll want to know whether you’re married, single or in a relationship but she can’t come out and directly ask. So her questions will be subtle. If you are interested in her, try to anticipate the questions she is going to ask. It is pretty easy to guess what a woman wants to know.

Exchanging contact numbers:

After you’ve been chatting and drinking together for a couple of hours, the time will come to exchange phone numbers and email addresses. Now, by this time the woman knows you are interested in her and you know she interested in you so who asks first? Generally, it is the man that asks for the girl’s contact information first.

This is because tradition dictates men ask and women give. It is silly really, especially in the 21st century when men and women are interested in each other they have to “play” within the rules of the dating game.

You, the guy, therefore have to ask for her number. Don’t worry about a refusal, there won’t be one; she hunted you out remember? Once you have taken down her number, she will ask for yours.

The next step is who calls whom first. Although women want to call, most won’t. They will wait and pray for the guy to call, but they will not do it first. This is silliness from the 20th century also that has been carried over. Give her a call.

How to tell if a girl is interested in you? The above explains it all.

Author Bio:

My name is Alex J. Steve. ‘How to make a girl fall in love with you’ and ‘how to get a girl to like you’ are my favorite topics to write articles on.

 

10 Reasons Why Women Are More Efficient Employees Than Men

business-woman

There is no doubt that women are more efficient than their male counterpart when it comes at workplace.

I personally, as a HR (Human Resource) manager prefer women over men when it comes to recruiting new employees.

After years of working with them I have found that women gave certainly better results than men.

Although this cannot be said so about all types of job but women do perform extraordinarily well at certain types of job.

So what makes women more efficient than men? There are many reasons, but according to me there are 10 reasons why women could be more productive than men.

Here are they.

1. Dedication

The first attribute that separates women from men is dedication towards the job they are doing. I have seen men are not focused, not all but generally they are diverted because of some other distractions.

I am sorry to say but men have frivolous attitude towards their job but women take it very seriously. I can say this from my experience of recruiting individuals for various jobs.

Dedication or single-minded focus is very important for an employee if he or she wants to be efficient. Women surely are more dedicated.

2. Laborious

Women are hard working not smart working and that is really good for certain types of job. Women employees are ready to work hard but men give up.

Most of the time, I have noticed that women are always ready to work for extra hours. If you are a company and have a less skilled job then you would prefer to recruit more women over men.

Although women find it difficult when it comes to making tough decisions but they are really good when an extra effort is required for a particular job.

3. Obedient

Women normally do not lose their track. They simply do it what they have been asked to do without asking any questions, which is good thing.

Female workers are very compliant to their managers compared to male workers. They usually do not question them and do the work properly.

Obedience is very important if an organization wants to maintain discipline in its worker.

4. Adaptability

Next thing that makes women more efficient than men is adaptability. They are very quick to adapt and mold themselves according to the environment around them.

If a certain type of work needs to be done other way around then women are flexible enough to do it.

In certain work environment you need to learn new things on daily basis. Therefore women are very well in adapting new things.

5. Multi-Tasking

Perhaps this should be the first quality that makes women so different than men. Women could easily fit in different types of roles.

They had to go out and work at the same time they need to take care of their children and family.

If they are asked to do different types of job then they could do it simultaneously. This really makes them more productive than their male counterpart.

6. Integrity

Honesty is something that you find in every woman. Regardless of the social class they belong to, all women are honest in their personal and professional life.

If an organization wants to succeed then you need to have honest people. A company could easily trust a woman as compared to man.

Therefore, honesty in women makes them more efficient than men at work place.

7. Teamwork

At any workplace, you are not going to succeed unless work is done by the entire team. If you are a manager or boss of a small or big team then you must have capability of taking all your team members together.

Women are damn good when it comes to team work. Although women lack leadership quality but they work really well when it comes to team work.

They have great communication skills which is required for working in a team. It helps them to take along everyone in the team.

It becomes possible because of their great listening skills and patience for listening others. Men really lack these qualities hence do cannot be good at teamwork.

8. Punctuality

Usually, women are punctuality when completing their work. When you them a piece of work and ask them to finish in a particular time interval then they will do it so.

Women always meet deadline more often than men. Punctuality really makes a woman more productive than a man.

9. Better Teacher

They could teach and guide better to their subordinates. Women are usually preferred when it comes to giving training to new recruits.

Women have a great power of conveying a message to their students. So a company prefers more women over men if they want better trained employees.

10. Less Demanding

Last but not the least, women are less demanding compared to male counterpart. For a particular job they are satisfied in less income.

In fact, women could work for long hours without expecting much salary or bonus. On the other hand, men are very demanding at the same time they give less output.

So this makes women more efficient and likeable then men.

Finally, I would say overall women are more efficient compared to men. They are hard working, multi-tasking, punctual, less demanding and many other things.

Although men are still at the top of an organization but their success completely depends upon the efficient employees they hire.

And women could be the best choice for them.

This article is contributed by Priya N who is blogging at GetSarkariNaukri.co.in where she updates about government jobs notification.

10 Great Conversation Starters

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Have you ever wondered how people are able to start up conversations with almost everyone?  Truly, there are people who were born to talk.  They were born to socialize and they were born to associate with people.  However, not everyone had been able to be good conversationalists by pure talent.  They fought the fear and tried harder to be able to confidently talk to people and start conversation.  So do you wanna know what helped them beat the constant feeling of having butterflies in your stomach?

Questions Show Interest

So first, remember, a single question can take you a thousand miles.  Yes, asking a total stranger a single but leading question can help you start a conversation.  It works even with those who you occasionally bump into.  Some examples of surefire questions involve being a keen observer about something about the type of person you want to talk to.  Say you meet someone who works in an office, “How’s today?  Has it been busy?”  Or maybe you wanna start a conversation in a plane with another passenger, “Have you visited this place (your destination) before?”  Just things you know that person can relate to you.

Say you want to talk to someone you see every day.  How about asking them about the current news?  Depending on where you are, maybe ask, “How are things going?”  Or maybe, “Hey, what’s new?”  “What’s the latest gig?”  Or “Where do you usually hang out nowadays?”  If you meet someone with similar interests, maybe ask them what their other interests are.  Say if you both love golfing, ask if they also enjoy skiing.  If you’re both in a cooking class, ask them if they’re working as well or maybe if they already have kids.  If you’re talking with a colleague at work, maybe ask them, “How did you start in this job?”

While those tips are useful, however, there are times when you can’t come up with a good conversation starter and you would need something effective.  Something that will really work whoever you are talking to, be it a kid, an elderly person, or just someone your age.

Follow These 10 Surefire Conversation Starters

1) Smile. Oh, yes, I’ve added it on the list because though you’re not saying anything in particular, just smiling can work wonders.  Smiling at a person can actually get their attention and it’s rare, not unless you’re meters away from each other that you won’t start a conversation with this gesture.  It’s also rare to find someone who won’t smile back after you smile at them.  It’s either they are really having a tough time or they’re just plain mean.  So smile, and after you smile, greet them, and maybe start with anything you have applied with the tips above.  Who knows, they might be the one to start a conversation after you smiled at them.  No hassle for you!

2) Nice weather.  This one never gets old.  Wherever and whenever.  Of course you can tell it to everyone.  Then they will start looking around at the weather if they haven’t noticed or observed it yet.  Afterwards, they’ll respond to you.  It works almost every time.  No one will leave you after saying this.  Again, it’s either they are problematic, or just plain mean.

3) Where are you from?  If you’re talking with people who you’ve noticed come from a different background, then this question is really safe to ask.  Or even if that person looks as if he/she is coming back from somewhere, you can ask this.  Just be careful as they might think you’re investigating them.  Sound just plain curious on what their origin is.

4)  Hi, I’m (your name), and you are? Or maybe add something like, “I haven’t seen you around here, are you new?”  This works.  Just don’t make it sound like you’re a stalker or you want something from them.  Just smile while saying this.

5)  Ask about directions or a local establishment.  There are still good Samaritans out there who would be willing to help you.  So ask them, “Do you know where (name the place) is?”  “Do I have to take a left turn or a right turn?”  “What’s the best restaurant around here?”  Of course, spontaneity is crucial if you want to continue the conversation.  Even after the person tells you the directions for a certain place, make sure you don’t stop there.  Stop only if you want to end the conversation.  But also remember to do go to that place, or else that person will know that you’re just asking them and going through all that trouble just because you want to talk to them.

6) Now this one can either be a conversation starter or an ice breaker.  “What a beautiful car.”  “That house is adorable.”  “Whoa, you’ve got cool boots.”  “Where did you buy that tie from?”  Well, this one works on some people.  Some not, but it’s sure to start a conversation.  The only problem would be the spontaneity after.  But most people will answer those questions, again, not unless they DON’T wanna talk or anything.  Or if they’ve got halitosis.

7) Have you heard of the news?  Mention a current event or a trending topic that people are surely to react to or they are concerned at.  Okay, so this one aims for the more serious people who looks like they really read or watch the news.  But you’ll never know.  Nowadays, even the less serious people are concerned with current events.  So might as well try it.  Of course, you’ll have to get yourself ready about talking about that certain news, meaning you should’ve done your homework and researched about it.

8) Who do you know here?  This one works in an event.  Of course, you’ll want to know who your common acquaintances are, so people are more likely to answer this.  It could be rephrased to a much more personal, “Who accompanied you here?  Or who invited you here?”

9) “What field are you in?” Again, this one works in business events particularly.  If you’re all doctors, ask what field are they in.  If you’re all engineers, ask them their specialty.

10) And last but not the least, “What do you think of this place/event/party/gift?” Oh yes, ask their opinion and they will go on answering you, not unless, again, they are mean.

The above are just sample conversation starters.  However, lines are only doing 20% of the job.  What matters for these to be effective is your confidence as well as practice and your spontaneity.  Even if you say the above, without confidence and further creativity in talking, you won’t be effective at all.  So practice, practice, and practice. That’s how some people “acquire” their social skills.

Doris McHelmsley is a freelance web designer and writer with over 13 years of experience.  She has an awesome site streetsmartz.com which has tons of videos on everyday things.  Her passion in the web and print field has led her to this career path. As a mother of 3, she also enjoys bike riding and creating special homemade recipes.

5 Life Boggling Questions That Are Still Unanswered

galaxy_universe-normal

There are many questions that human beings have pondered, but overall these are the 5 most frequently asked and still unanswered questions of our time. This does not make them more important, it only suggests that our species has a more vested interest in them individually. So take a moment to consider each one and see what meaning it has for you, as an individual in the universe today.

1. Is there a God?
This is one question of great debate. It begs us to answer many other questions when asked, so that maybe why it holds such great significance. Both those who believe in God and those who do not, each equally has vested interest in answering this time honored question. The odd thing about this question is that most believers would only accept that God exists, while non-believers would only accept the opposite, and so the answer is more important to each than the question being asked. This is blind faith being demonstrated most literally.

2. How did the universe begin?
This is the question that brings up a great deal of debate in science, religion, and philosophy. If ever answered, it may bring about incredible changes in how the human species sees itself and it’s place in the universe. The origin of the universe may hold the keys to our place in the cosmos, but also how life came into being. All of humankind has asked this question over the course of history itself.

3. When did human beings come to exist?
The debate over creation versus evolution has been asking this question for some time now. Eventually an answer will probably come forth, but it may not be the one that either side is hoping to find. Finding proof as to when human beings first came into existence could reshape all modern thinking. It is also the one question that has the greatest meaning and importance to human beings.

4. Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
This is the question that seems to be asked more out of curiosity, but still the answer would solve many debates and other serious questions. Science, religion, and philosophy would all like to find an answer to this question. The majority of modern thought would be either proven true or reshaped based on this one question being answered. Therefore it is of great significance to all of humankind, yet is the least likely to be answered anytime soon.

5. What is the meaning of life?
If our species ever answers the greater questions of existence, it is likely that this one question will remain unanswered. The meaning of life or our purpose here, this is not something that stays static over time. The meaning of life for humankind is an ever changing state, or set of variables. So it is not something that will probably ever be answered, at least not in it’s entirety. Even so, it is the one question that is asked by almost everyone that has ever lived, and will continue to be asked in the future by human beings.

Written by Ben Adams who tries to answer some life boggling questions from African perspective at answersafrica.com

The Half Series Interviews: Jerian DiMattei

jerian What is the ethnic background of your parents?

My mother’s ethnic background is Italian and my father’s ethnic background is black.

What type of colorism have you had to face and how did you deal with it?

Being half white and half black, my coloring and features suggest I may be several different ethnicities. Many people have assumed I am of the Hispanic decent, dominican, or more often, very tan. People approach me on a regular basis and ask me where I just came from, on vacation, or compliment my color and ask how I get so tan.

What do you think of the terms mixed, biracial, or mulatto?

I consider myself mixed or biracial being that I am a mix of two ethnicities. I do not consider them to be offensive. I have not really come across the term mulatto so I don’t have a comment on that one.

What do you have to say to people that think if you look White that you are not Black?

I think a lot of times people refer to White/Black as a cultural reference rather than actual ethnicity, which is odd to me. In the end, you are what you are, regardless of what you look like. Also, I find that a lot of people ask “what are you?” or “where are you from?” when referring to ethnic background. I could answer “I am a person” and “I am from New York”. Rarely do I hear people ask “What is your ethnicity”, which I believe is the correct wording.

Anything else you`d like to add?

This a very interesting topic, that can also be confusing. For me, I am happy with who I am and the way I look. I love my coloring and features and I am proud to be bi-racial. However, as far as culture, I grew up with my mom and her Italian side of the family. So as a culture, I feel closer to my white/Italian side, but ethnically, I am still half white and half black.

Read the series that sparked the interview: The Half Series – When Black People Look White

A Man Who Asks Is A Fool for 5 Minutes

“A man who asks is a fool for five minutes.  A man who never asks is a fool for life.” This wise old quote is attributed to an unknown Chinese philosopher, but it rings true for us all.  How many times have you thought about asking – for advice, for support, for love, or for anything at all that you need – then failed to do so out of fear?  Most of us can think of at least a few instances in which we have failed to ask!  Here are some tips for taking the terror out of asking for what you need – and becoming wiser and better off in the process.

Why Ask?

The answer to this question is a simple one.  If you never ask, the answer will always be the one you don’t want to hear – “No!”  If you’re afraid to ask questions, or ask for permission, or ask for what you need, you are not going to get what you desire – at least not the easy way. 

What Harm is There in Asking?

There is no harm in asking anyone for anything.  Consider a married couple – if one spouse hadn’t asked the other for his or her hand in marriage, the wedding would have never taken place, and the life the two share now would never have come to fruition.  The person who failed to ask would be without love in his life, while the person who was never asked might spend her life wondering what was wrong with her – “Why didn’t he ask me to marry him?  I would have said yes!”  This bit of wisdom can be applied to any situation.  There is no harm in asking for what you desire.  The answer might be “No,” but unless you ask, you have no chance of getting the “Yes” that you desire. 

How to Ask

One reason many people are fearful of asking others for what they want is that they simply don’t know how to ask properly.  It’s surprising that this important life skill is often one that’s left out of the learning equation – certainly, we learn that we should say “please,” but how else can we improve our chances of asking a question and getting a successful answer?  Here are some tips to help you ask questions and get the results you want:

  • Choose the Right Time – You certainly do not want to spend such a long amount of time waiting for just the right time to ask to arrive, but at the same time, you don’t want to ask someone a question at the wrong time.  If at all possible, select a time when the person you need to speak with is in a good mood, or at least not in a bad mood.  If you’re afraid you might lose your chance to ask a question, don’t spend time waiting – instead, get your question out in the open.  Again, the worst that can happen is that you’ll be told “No.”
  • Frame Your Question Carefully – Before asking any question, particularly one that’s important to you, ensure you frame it carefully.  Thinking before speaking will be of great assistance here, as will making an asking statement that shows you are not just asking a random question.  Make your words count.
  • Say Thank You – No matter what the answer to your question, thank the other person for considering it.  In the event the person you’re asking a favor of needs to think about what you’ve asked, he or she will be much more likely to help you get what you need if you display a grateful spirit!

Armed with this information, you now know that in order to receive, you must ask – better yet, you have the opportunity to develop skills that will make you into a better “asker!”  If you ever feel doubtful again, remind yourself of the wise old quote:  “A man who asks is a fool for five minutes.  A man who never asks is a fool for life.”  Then, ask!

Author Byline: Debbie Phillips from WiseOldSayings.com provides advice on leadership, family and love. She provides insight on love sayings, humorous sayings and more. 

Top Story – 20 Common Traits of Creepy Men

You know when you feel a creep comin’ on. It may be a person you barely know or have encountered numerous times. To be fair, you never really know the reason for their actions by basing your opinion solely off the surface. Maybe there are some personal things going on in their life causing them to act the way they do, maybe they have a crush on you and don’t know how to show it, maybe they’re just super strange but completely harmless, or maybe they truly are a creep that you need to stay far, far away from. Regardless of the reasoning behind their weirdness, these 20 traits commonly shared by creepers all definitely raise a red flag. Look out for these signs, and act accordingly, depending on the circumstance. It may be running a background check or avoiding them all together, but keep yourself protected.

1. The Creepy Stare Of Death
When that weirdo you barely know stares you down making you feel downright uncomfortable. What else besides them being a creep could the reason be to look at you like that?

2. Silence Is Not Golden, But Scary
It’s extremely common for strange people to not speak much, making you wonder (and fear) what’s going on in that brain of theirs.

3. Stalking
When they happen to be at the same gas station you’re at three times in a row now, 20 miles away from your English class which is the only place you see them ever, you know something isn’t right.

4. Keeping Tabs
You posted a Facebook status literally 30 seconds ago about how your pet parakeet is sick, and immediately you get a text message from them sending their condolences, but you’re not even close friends. That’s just weird.

5. Lonely Loner
Sure some people are just very independent, but when the person has no absolutely no friends and is never spotted talking to anyone, there might be a reason for that.

6. Poker Face
Creepers tend to be expressionless, showing little sign of emotion which alludes to the fact that they have impure intentions.

7. Ask Everything
They tend to ask you a ton of questions. You have the instinct to tell whether they’re being genuine or just intrusional, and they definitely fit the bill of the latter.

8. Answer Nothing
At the same token, they evade the questions that you ask them, and decline to tell very much about themselves. Suspicious.

9. Know Too Much About You
People who give you the creeps can often know things about you that you don’t remember revealing to them. Maybe they’ve asked around about you, or maybe it’s a much more alarming reason like they’re stalking you.

10. Off-putting Comments
Creepers will often say things that make you uncomfortable, though the comment is subtle enough that if you snap at them it could look like you’re overreacting.

11. Your Friends Become Their Friends
To gain leverage in your world in their own creepy little way, they may befriend your friends or start to associate with people you know in an attempt to get closer to you.

12. Cynical, Rude, and Other Negative Traits
Creeps can oftentimes be cynical or rude, or in general just seem like an unhappy person. Their negativity repels you.

13. Untrustworthy
They’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy on more than one occasion. They don’t follow through with what they’ve promised and are unreliable, and seem to think nothing of it.

14. Uncouth Behavior
Everyone can be strange or eccentric in their own way, but off-putting individuals tend to completely reject societal norms for what almost seems like the mere sake of just being rebellious. They go out of their way to show others they don’t care, and seem to get off on it.

15. No Sense Of Humor
They never crack a smile or laugh at a joke. It makes you wonder, do they have a soul?

16. Puzzling
There’s something in their actions and behaviors that you find puzzling. You’re not quite sure how to interpret it, but you know it makes you feel weird, and others agree.

17. No Change In Tempo
Creepers can act pretty much the same on a daily basis, and not in a good way. Like they’re never open to sharing anything new. At the same time, they can also have:

18. An Extreme Difference In Tempo
Out of the blue, they’ll do or say something you would have never dreamed would come from them. And this is not a good thing like surprising you with a gift, think more of a random outburst of anger.

19. Perverted
This trait perhaps fits most of the people that women deem to be “creepy.” It could be a man or woman, either way the creep will make sexual innuendos or gestures in situations where they are clearly unwanted.

20. Obsessive Or Controlling
Creeps can often have obsessive or controlling qualities, they go way overboard to be in charge of something and it’s not healthy.

About The Author: Kristen Bright is the social media consultant for Instant Checkmate. Instant Checkmate is a personal criminal background check provider, and does not perform employment screening of any kind.

Solo Parenting: Who’s The Daddy?

 

“Who’s the father?” Most people won’t ask it, but there’s always one…a person with no sense of boundaries, or no sense of propriety. Or maybe it’s someone who thinks she’s (or he’s) close enough to you that she is “entitled” to an answer. (But if that were the case, she would already know. You would have told her.)

It’s a natural thing to wonder who the biological father is of the child of an unmarried woman, and the follow-on question, whether he’s actively involved in the child’s life. But wondering is one thing; asking is another.

What do you do if you’re an unmarried mother, and someone asks you?

The answer is going to depend on a number of factors:

How much does your child know about his or her father? Clearly if the child knows who his dad is, and maybe even has a relationship with the man, there’s no need to keep the father’s identity secret for the child’s sake. But if the child’s biological father is your married former boss, who truly loved you but wouldn’t leave his wife, or on the other hand, if he was some man you met in a bar one night who didn’t even give you his right name, chances are your child doesn’t have this information. And the more people you share it with, the more likely it is that the information will, sooner or later, make its way back to your child.

Is your child’s father’s identity a secret or common knowledge? Perhaps you have an ongoing relationship with the father of your child. Maybe you both chose not to get married, or even live together, but you still see each other regularly. Or maybe the romance is over, but you’ve remained friends, tied together by a child that this man helps support, visits regularly, and in general does the right thing by.  Maybe the person now asking you who the child’s father is is someone you just met, who would know your circumstances (and the answer to her question) if she knew you just a little bit better.

Is the person asking from a judgmental point of view, or merely out of simple curiosity…or does she perhaps even have a reason for asking? Yes, I can think of several at least semi-valid reasons for asking. One would be if the person noticed in the child an uncanny resemblance to someone in her family and wondered if, through one of life’s fantastically ironic coincidences, this might turn out to be her brother’s child, her own niece or nephew. Another would be if she worked for some agency that she thought might be able to help you either with tangible help (such as funding) or with intangible but meaningful help (such as helping to find the father and pursue him for child support payments, if he were not now doing the right thing by the child).

If the identity of the child’s father is no secret, and you’re not offended by the question, you can answer straightforwardly and be done with it. But you don’t have to be embarrassed about your single parent status to have a valid reluctance to answer the question. Maybe, to come back to what we discussed earlier, your child doesn’t know the answer and you don’t want him finding out through gossip. Or maybe you simply don’t want to answer this particular person because you think the person is asking for all the wrong reasons.

You have a number of potential responses, some more direct in their refusal to answer, some deflecting the question with a joke, and some more polite (but still not giving up any info):

“Why do you need to know?”

“Are you writing a book about me?”

“If this is a survey, I don’t choose to participate.”

“Someone who’s no longer in my life.”

“It doesn’t matter who he was. He gave me the greatest gift he could have given—my child. That’s really all that matters.”

“That question is out of bounds.”

“That’s classified information.”

“Which government agency are you with?”

“Now, you really don’t want to know all my secrets!”

“You do ask direct questions, don’t you!”

“And if I answer, do I get to ask you a highly personal question in return?”

“Oh, are we playing Truth or Dare?”

Just don’t let the questioner back you into a corner. If the identity of your child’s father is common knowledge, or you don’t mind answering anyhow, that’s fine. But if for any reason you are uncomfortable about answering or for any other reason unwilling to answer, remember that you don’t have to. And you don’t have to be apologetic for refusing.

 

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