The ability to make small talk is a good skill both for at work and in life. But even polite people sometimes unintentionally ask questions that can cause an interlocutor’s rejection and the wish to isolate themselves. And very often it’s not clear what the issue is all about.
We have analyzed the questions that people ask strangers in conversations most often. We chose ones that you’re better off avoiding — especially if you want to make good contacts and carry on a good conversation.
1. “Is that your mother?”
If you don’t know for sure what kind of a relationship people in front of you have, you’d better not try to guess and name the variants. It’s likely that your interlocutor will be pushed away by questions such as:
- “Is it your mother/sister/brother/son?”
- “Are you related?”
You can mistakenly call an elder sister a mother, or call people who don’t like each other relatives. Resembling each other can be a big offense for them. It’s much simpler and more polite to make the conclusion about what relationship status people in front of you have by watching their behavior, mannerisms, and speech.
2. “How long have you been together?”
People like to talk about their own relationships and the relationships of others. However, if your interlocutors aren’t sharing their relationship status right away, you’d better not ask them how long they’ve been seeing each other and whether they are married or not.
People in front of you might turn out to be simple acquaintances who decided to come to the party together. Questions about marriage can be unpleasant for couples that have disagreements on this topic.