7 Conversation Gaffes To Avoid At All Costs

7 Conversation Gaffes To Avoid At All Costs

Where does today’s more “anything goes” attitude leave etiquette? Given the pressures of modern life, more in demand than ever! – Emily Posts Etiquette.

“Courtesy,” “civility,” “manners” culminate to what we know as etiquette – the right way to speak and act anywhere you may find yourself. As much as it seems like we live in a time where people just don’t care, we do what we like, whether our actions or speech is agreeable or not. Still, if you think about it, when has being considerate in your dealings with others ever gone out of style?


And that is what etiquette is all about – “Conducting yourself with respect, consideration, and tact in your dealings with people.”

Emily Posts Etiquette


Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others regardless of their background, race, or creed.


Careful not to inconvenience or harm others. As the Golden Rule says: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Skill and sensitivity in dealing with others and difficult, sensitive issues.

Inasmuch as people continue to push the boundaries and display shockingly rude behaviors, – sometimes out of ignorance. People don’t usually know when they cross the line – you don’t have to continue to stay in the party. Now you know better and so you have to do better.

True, some people are blessed with natural charm. Still, the art of proper conversation, which in the long run, will prove rewarding in building relationships at company functions, social events, work environments, can be learned.

Below, we provide some guidance on proper conversations from Emily Post’s Etiquette

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! Young Woman

NLT – Song of Solomon 2:15

Don’t be the nosy-pecker

Unless the person at the receiving end of the conversation is family or close friend, steer clear of these conversation bloopers.

“Some people, often total strangers, have no qualms about asking personal questions: “Why aren’t you married?” “How much did you pay for that?” “Is this a planned pregnancy?” You can’t politely answer, “None of your business,” but you can say, “I’d rather not talk about that, if you don’t mind.” You can also change the subject”

Emily Post’s
  • How much do you earn?
  • Can’t you have children?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you getting a divorce?
  • You look lean, have you been sick?

Don’t be a bad gossip

Women bond over gossip – according to Tannen for Irish Times, “Gossip has a bad rep, which gives women a bad rep. Often, and more commonly, people talk about each other’s lives without putting them down: just talking about. This kind of gossip reflects an interest in other people’s lives, exactly what lies at the heart of academic disciplines like anthropology, sociology and psychology. Being interested in a friend’s personal life is a show of caring; a way to create closeness. There is of course, such a thing as “bad” gossip, where women talk against others”.

A good way to stop a criticizer or mean-spirited gossip in his tracks is to say, “But, Jim, Amanda says such nice things about you!” If he still rushes on, you can defend Amanda, try your best to change the subject, or decline to listen. Even when someone makes unkind remarks about a person you don’t particularly care for, find something positive to say.

Emily Post’s

Personal space much

A comfortable conversation involves more than just words; even a compliment can be offensive if delivered an inch from your face. The general rule of thumb is to stand no closer than about eighteen inches apart, although cultural and personal preferences should be taken into account. Personal space is less of an issue when you’re seated, but you still may have to lean in a bit to catch the words of a softspoken person, then back away to speak.


Listen don’t interrupt

There’s a fine line between the occasional interruption made to confirm a point and one that’s made because you’re bursting to throw in your two cents. The only time it’s permissible to interrupt in the middle of a sentence is when you need to communicate something that honestly can’t wait. Even then, precede what you say with “I’m sorry to interrupt” or a variation thereof. When you’re the one being interrupted—most often because that’s simply the other person’s style—listen politely for a few seconds before trying to finish your thought. Raising your hand in a nonthreatening “please wait” gesture can politely deflect an interruption, while a blunt “Stop interrupting!” merely answers one rudeness with another.

Don’t stare. Don’t point

Our parents told us don’t stare/point because it’s rude, but I’m sure they didn’t explain in deets why it’s rude, did they?

Looking into the other person’s eyes shows your interest in the conversation. Staring, however, can seem threatening, even strange. The desirable middle ground is reached by shifting your focus to other parts of the face from time to time.

Pointing attracts attention to a person who probably doesn’t want to be the object of curious glances and stares.

Don’t horn in

I was today years old when I learned this one. Honestly, I thought when they can’t find the word, just help them. I am sorry. I am sorry to all the people I do this to.

When someone pauses to search for a word, don’t jump to supply it. An exception is when the person asks for help: “Oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?” Likewise, don’t break in on whatever someone else is telling (for example, a description of a movie plot) and press your own “improved” version on listeners.

The name-dropper

“Do you know who I am? Do you know who I am connected to? My father is…” We meet these kinds of people all the time.

The Name-dropper. Most name-droppers believe that you will be mightily im pressed once you hear that they’ve met or had dealings with a VIP of any stripe. And you may be. Then again, you may see the dropping of names of the famous or powerful as compensation for the speaker’s own insecurity —and you’ll probably be right. Suggested response: Instead of taking the bait (“Wow! Really?”) or asking how the name-dropper came to rub
shoulders with the elite, say something on the order of “It’s very nice that you know the vice president and that he shared his thoughts with you. But what do you think about tax cuts?”



37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen from 1875 – Art of Manliness

Conversation Etiquette – The Spruce


Featured Images: @Giphy

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