IF YOU KNOW A THESIS WRITER:
1. Don't ask about the thesis between:
six months before it's "due" until twelve months after it was due. An alternative question is to ask "How are you going?" or "How's it going?"; if they want to mention the thesis, they will, but they will be grateful not to be specifically asked for the hundredth time
2. Don't ask about the thesis if:
You're uncomfortable with displays of emotion, particularly weeping, stress and the kermit-the-frog-like waving of hands.
3. Don't ask about the thesis if:
You don't have time for a lengthy conversation. If you're passing in the hallway, or just ran into each other in the street, don't ask. It forces us to say "good" and then feel guilty.
4. If you have asked about the thesis:
And received a lengthy expression of stress, doubt and despair, please listen to our concerns and don't offer sweepingly generalised assurances of "she'll be right" based solely on your good opinion of us. It's possibly true but is easy to dismiss that you don't really know how little we have achieved or how much we have to do.
5. Ask about the thesis if:
You are doing or have done a thesis. The sympathetic listener is much preferred. However as one of the community, you are more likely to receive the long version, so return to rule number 3.
THE UNSPOKEN CONTRACT OF THE THESIS WRITER:
If you do not ask me about my thesis, if you don't judge me for it taking longer than it seems like it should, if you give me space to talk about or not talk about my thesis as I wish, in return I promise to broadcast to you and the world when I do submit.
And, as always, PhD Comics has come up with a better way to represent it: