Sometimes we are rude without even knowing it. In general, stay away from topics that are controversial, like politics or religion. And whether you know another person well or not, some questions should never be asked.
Here are some dangerous remarks that can come across as nosy, mean, or “Oops! I just stuck my foot in my mouth!”
- Have you lost weight? What the other person might hear: You look sick. Is something wrong? Try: You look fantastic!
- Have you been sick? Or, in a concerned voice, Are you okay? What the other person might hear: You look awful. Just ask: How are you? If a person wants to tell you about illness or overwork, that should be his or her choice.
- When is your due date? What the other person might hear: You look fat enough to be pregnant. Never assume a woman is pregnant or refer to her pregnancy unless you are 100 percent sure that she is.
- How old are you? What the other person might hear: You’re too young/too old (as far as the questioner is concerned). It’s never polite to ask someone’s age.
- What is your prognosis? What the other person might hear: I know you have a life-threatening illness/are dying. This is not a question that anyone should be asked unless he or she is a very close friend who has told you about an illness.
- How much money do you make? What the other person might hear: Can you really afford this car/house/clothing/piece of art (etc.)? Or, do you have more or less money than I do? This question is a no-no under any circumstances.
- Is this meal vegetarian? What the other person might hear: I can’t possibly eat this food if it contains meat. Unless you are allergic and will die from eating food containing animal protein, fake it, or let your host know ahead of time that you’re a vegetarian. It’s always better to eat something before you arrive instead of asking for special favors.
- Are you still single? What the other person might hear: There’s something wrong with you for not being in a relationship. This is another question that should never be asked because it is information that should be offered, not requested.
- Is that what you’re wearing? What the other person might hear: You look terrible, or your clothes are completely inappropriate. Don’t offer criticism of another person’s clothes unless you’re asked. One exception might be if you feel that he or she will be embarrassed attending a formal event wearing jeans or shorts.
- Do you plan on having children? What the other person might hear: Is there something wrong with you because you don’t have children? There are many reasons why people may not have children or plan to have them. This very personal subject should not be brought up to anyone except close friends and family.