Greg Clarke

Q. I’m overweight, and people often think that I’m pregnant. How should I respond when people ask when I’m due?

Miriam J. Mowdy

Albany, California

A. In my opinion, “When are you due?” is a highly personal question, on the order of “How much money do you make?” and “Do you believe in God?” It is OK for your mother to ask. Or your best friend. Or your obstetrician, if she has misplaced your chart. But strangers—or anyone who has not been told by a pregnant person that she is going to have a baby—should not.

Asking can create an awkward situation, even if the woman in question is pregnant. (She might be worried that she looks further along than she is.) And if she’s not pregnant, she’ll be insulted. Obviously.

If this happens again, look the person in the eye and say, in a neutral tone, “I’m not pregnant.” Continue to maintain eye contact until the person blushes (this won’t take long—trust me) and says, “I’m so sorry.” Then say, “I accept your apology,” and move on. With this approach, you will maintain your dignity while teaching the other person a valuable lesson about thinking twice before speaking.

Michelle Slatalla