A couple of years ago, a bunch of my veteran friends and I came up with a list of things we hated hearing from civilians. Here's 12 of my favorites.
1. "I could never join the military. I hate when people tell me what to do."
Well, at least you know that about yourself.
2. "Ever kill anyone?"
NEVER say this to a veteran. Ever.
3. "I totally get what you went through because I play 'Call of Duty' and that shit is HARD-CORE."
The best is when they make the "Pew! Pew!" sound with pistol hands.
4. "Isn't it like the movies? Like 'Full Metal Jacket'?"
Your R. Lee Ermey impression is not better than R. Lee Ermey's.
5. "You know you're brainwashed, right?"
Yep, totally brainwashed. Because there's no way a normal person would ever want to do something bigger than themselves without being brainwashed.
6. "I would've joined if I didn't have [insert here: flat feet, bad back, asthma, etc.]."
7. "You went to Afghanistan? I bet you've seen crazy stuff, like, stuff you can't even talk about, huh? I couldn't even imagine doing the things you've done."
Why do you toy with me so?
8. "I would've joined, but I'd miss all my friends."
I know, right?!? I cried myself to sleep for, like ... never.
9. "I would've joined, but I like weed way too much."
10. "How are you a veteran? You're not even old."
11. "I would have joined, but I got into college."
12. "People in the military seem so stiff. Do y'all still get to have fun?"
Being totally snarky isn't really my thing so I want to flip this discussion. If you are a veteran or a service member, what kind of questions do you WANT to be asked? What are some of the best conversation-starters a civilian can offer that you don't find off-putting or clueless? Hit me up on Twitter or my Facebook page.