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July 22, 2008


Teacher A

I'd say #1 rule of tactfulness is never assume anyone is pregnant. Even if they look like they're about to pop, don't mention it unless they say anything.

As for the other situations, I'm still working on it. Those questions were somewhat lacking in tact, anyway, so tactful answers won't necessarily roll off one's tongue.


No, I'm without it. So I say nothing at all.


Teacher A - totally true. I couldn't agree more about the pregnant situation - I have actually, as a retail person for the past eleventy-billion years, decided that I will NEVER ask a woman when she's due. No matter what, ever. The pregnant thing happened to a friend of mine, just the other day though. And she did, pretty much, die of embarrassment.

And yeah, those questions are tactless for sure, but that's the thing - there's always a great, polite, tactFUL answer to even the most tactless question, and that's when I find the talent so incredibly impressive. Because sure, you don't OWE the rude question-asker anything, but how nice would it be, for YOU, to just have that kind of smooth answer roll off your tongue? I want the skill! :)

Antoinette - Do you just run and hide when faced with the tactless question? I might need to try this approach...


I kind of put my hand over my mouth subconsciously, while not subtle it tells the subject that I'm probably about to say something inappropriate. I've also been told that my facial expressions are just as tactless as my mouth, so I'm a lost cause. I should run away.


I lack tact. I tend to clam up and just nod and smile instead of risk putting my giant foot in my giant mouth.
I've blocked out all my tactless moments so alas, have nothing to share.
However, someone once told me if someone does put you in a position or asks you a question that is a)none of their business or b)you don't want to talk about to just smile and ask them "why do you ask?" or "why do you want to know?" I've actually remembered to do this on one occasion and it worked splendidly!!!


Antoinette - HA! Let's try the running away thing together. We'll report back on the effectiveness next week.

Beck - yes, this is EXACTLY the sort of tip I was hoping for! "Why do you ask?" with a smile. Genius.


Ok, they should never be asking you how much you weigh or how much you make! That's on them, not you.

I actually do give my weight, and lbs lost, because it's such a thing for me right now. And for some reason, my MIL tells EVERYONE every detail about my weight lost. Even details she shouldn't know, and God knows how she does or what she says. I can't go into a shoe store without my weight being a topic of discussion. Seriously.

So I jut smile and say thank you a lot. And try to be demure.


For lack of tact see latest blogpost. It will put you to shame.


Agreeing with other commenters who noted that the issue with the first two questions has nothing to do with your responses - it's the questions themselves that are tactless. Who asks people how much they weigh or what they make? Unless maybe it's a family member, and even then...

Just My Type

I once accidently told a new mother her baby looked "peculiar". That was obviously NOT the word I was looking for but that's what came out. 10 years later, I still die just thinking about it.

Tact? Still searching.


New reader here....Just want to say I love your blog because I always know I will get a good laugh. (And yes, if you look at my blog, I am THAT GIRL. You know, the overly proud mom who only posts pictures and tells story about her son. So sorry!)

Tact - I have little to none.
I once told a girl her baby looked like a monkey. You know, because he is so hairy. (Not a nice thing to say by the way.)

Then just yesterday I put my foot in my mouth again. A large man was walking through the door to a concert we were helping out with and I said, "I hope you can find a seat in there...it's pretty crowded." Ya, I said it OUT LOUD!

I need a permanent "foot in mouth" removal device.


On the first week of my new job (so like a month ago) I wouldn't shut up about Billy Joel and his "child bride" -- dude she is our age and he is OLD -- and of course I find out the girl sitting next to me is dating someone 20 years older than she is. OOPS.


I think always being able to come up with the wrong thing to say in any given situation is a skill also. It's so weird that this skill is not in high demand. Which is to say, no, I'm not naturally tactful. I'm really good at offending people. To offset this I keep my mouth shut and smile pleasantly a lot.


I think it was the questions in one and two that were lacking tact, not the answers.


I am totally the latter-awkward and bumbling rather than smooth.

Although, I agree with 3C that the first two questions are totally tactless!


I think I am tactful dependent upon the situation.

Although sometimes you need to know when to just shut the hell up and smile lol.

Operation Pink Herring

Dude, anyone who asks you how much you weigh or how much you make deserves a kick in the face, not a tactful answer.

I love the "why do you ask" or "why do you want to know" response - I believe that's Dear Abby's recommended response to out-of-line questions! It works splendidly. I actually used it for a few of those "So, when are you getting married?" folks and it totally shut them up.


GAAA!! The 'when are you getting married' question used to TOTALLY throw me off. Obnoxious jerks! I really hate that. However, now that my wedding is in 24 days, people have switched and are now asking me...when are you guys having babies? Sweet sassy molassey! The last time it happened I looked at my fiance and said, "I guess now would be a good time to tell you...I have a secret love child with your best friend!" It is totally worth the look on the nosy-question-asker's face.

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