Money, Politics, & Religion :: The 3 Things I Was Taught To Not Discuss

Money, Politics, & Religion :: The 3 Things I Was Taught To Not Discuss

I was enjoying the beach in Ft. Walton over Memorial Day when a mom came over. My son had been playing with them for part of the day. She told us how polite and sweet he is, and told us that they were from Georgia.

Suddenly she says, “Oh look we have the same swimsuit!”

“Yep, I love this one, Target for the win!”

“Too bad we can’t shop there anymore now, you know, with all the GAY STUFF!”

My heart just kind of dropped. I didn’t know what to say or how to reply. I am not good with confrontation or in the moment come backs. I awkwardly laughed and just kind of mumbled “Oh, I love Target.” She walked away and I just kind of sat there in disbelief. This woman is perfectly entitled to shop where she wants, think what she wants, be the biggest homophobe she wants – but why did she assume that I shared those views and felt so comfortable telling me that? That is just not how I was raised. At all.

See what that woman failed to realize, is that I DO take what she is saying offensively. We have a gay sister, uncle, cousin, and many friends. She said this in front of my children, who also love these same people and are raised to be inclusive. And, quite frankly, Target could be selling body parts in the back and I would probably still shop there let’s be real. I wish I had enough time on my hands to care about things that don’t affect me, but there is apparently an absolute outrage over a 10×10 square of space which changes every month celebrating minorities. Why is this a problem again? Didn’t all those people stop shopping at Target anyways because of bathroomgate? But I digress.

This is not the only other odd run in I have had or been witness to over the past few months over a variety of issues and it got me thinking:

“When did people get so comfortable talking about all the things I was taught not to discuss?”

I’ve had conversations about this recently with multiple people when I started writing this article. See my parents taught me something from a very young age: We don’t talk about money, religion, or politics. Those things are no one’s business but your own. I ask why people are so brazen these days, and everyone quickly replies “social media.” Social media has made it okay to not only talk about, but argue publicly about things that were once considered personal. I am a big fan of everyone having their own opinion. Even if I don’t agree with your beliefs, I will respect you as a person. But man, it is starting to get hard when people feel it necessary to share their opinion the first chance they get, especially when it is a negative one. It seems that the boldness that people feel online is starting to trickle down into day to day interactions – and it’s frightening.

I am worn out by politics.

I used to really enjoy politics up until a couple years ago. Somewhere along the way that changed for me. I stay up to date, I am an avid reader, but the news doesn’t go on my TV, my algorithm doesn’t include political posts, and am quick to unfollow anyone that clutters social media with rants. I’m guilty of this one; I used to think posting my opinions made a difference (news flash – it doesn’t)! I don’t want to get into political conversation with almost anyone these days, including even some of those closest to me. I don’t feel like I should have to defend my opinion, which has been shaped by my own life experiences, nor do I feel like hearing them do the same thing. It is never a productive conversation and no one walks away from talking politics with their mind changed or a warm fuzzy feeling. And please don’t do this to people you’re not close with. It is the quickest way to turn a good conversation into a weird one. It is major ick no matter what your stance is. There are SO many other great things to talk about with people besides the most divisive topic possible.

Your religion is your own.

I grew up in the Midwest, and my family was never really religious. My parents were both raised in different religions, and they decided that it would be my choice as I got older. The first church I remember going to was a Greek Orthodox Church with my very Greek uncle. Then I went to a Catholic High School, and we attended a local church for holidays. As I have gotten older I’ve gone to Baptist, Non-Denominational, and gotten to experience many other religions at different times – all of which I think are all beautiful. I consider myself to have a very close relationship with God, despite not having a traditional religious upbringing. But what I absolutely do not care about is your religion. You can be an atheist, a Buddhist or Jewish – it does not matter to me at all. I don’t mean that brash, but this is why I say that. Your views are your own. They’re not mine, but I respect them. How you treat others, how you speak to others is a direct reflection on you. Sitting in a pew but spewing hate the other 6 days of the week doesn’t make much sense to me, but there sure is a lot of that these days. If spreading your religion is causing you to have arguments, lose friends, or hurt other peoples’ feelings – perhaps reflecting on the message you’re sharing is necessary. I am all for positivity, prayers, and good vibes!

Money, the root of all evil.

It’s hard in the days of social media to not want to keep up with the Jones’. But as someone who looks at peoples’ finances for a living, let me tell you a little secret. No one is posting their credit card debt. No one is posting their empty savings account. No one is posting the tax lien that just got put on their house. I have seen some of the wealthiest people with some of the most insane financial problems. Take when crypto first became the big thing, my timeline was full of guys bragging about their huge wins. It has gotten awfully quiet over time. My guess is that there is not as much to post about these days. I find in my industry (mortgage & real estate), we are super guilty of this. Everyone is quick to post their numbers for the month and how much they did in sales. It’s always struck me as odd – you don’t see doctors posting how many patients they saw in a month or pilots how many flights they landed. A large portion of America is living beyond their means right now because that is the reality of the situation. Talking about how much money you made publicly in times like these is just not a good look. Celebrating success is always nice, but there is a way to do it humbly, especially in 2023.

Opinions can change, but screenshots last forever.

Remember when you are out there freely sharing your opinions and views, you could be offending someone unknowingly. I am sure there will be people reading this that will say “Well I don’t care, I am glad they’re offended!” But these are people in your community, your coworkers, your friends, and maybe even your loved ones. These are people that may have frequented your business or may become a future client that may not now. These are people that may barely know you but now have a poor and perhaps skewed outlook of you forever by one small comment. What happens when one day your child or anyone for that matter comes to you and questions the things you put out for the world to see and hear? Somethings are just better left unsaid.

Dana Wattigney
Moving from Nebraska in middle school, Dana considers herself a New Orleanian 25 years later. She now lives in Belle Chasse with her husband Ryan, 12-year-old Mila, and 8-year-old Rex. As the Executive Director of the YMCA in her community, she is very involved in all aspects of family life. You can find her on the weekend doing DIY projects, cheering on LSU or the Saints, and spending time with her family. A lover of all revelry, there is no festival, concert, or event that she won't go to! Catch her with the Krewe of Cleopatra each Mardi Gras. She gets out of town with her kids as much as possible, they enjoy the outdoors, especially the mountains & the beach. Affectionately known as "Dana Dolittle" to her friends, you can expect her to have a random animal she is trying to help at any given time. Dana loves to write & says there are no topics off limits.


  1. I was starting to wonder if I imagined hearing that wisdom growing up as most of my family members – and their offspring – have no hesitation with in-your-face religion and politics (mostly on social media) on family feeds. I have neither the patience nor the time to even go there even if I wanted to. I feel a little more sane today realizing I actually DID hear that bit of wisdom growing up!


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