Do you know what is taboo in the UK? Don’t ask, “What do you do?”

What is Taboo, what do you do

Do you know what is taboo in the UK? Don’t ask, “What do you do?”

What is taboo to ask someone in the UK? Is “What do you do” wrong?

How do you open up a conversation when meeting someone for the first time; do you find it easy, or do you struggle with what to say?

Perhaps you find yourself clamming up? Or maybe you operate on the other end of the spectrum, with endless waffling and not quite knowing where you are going with the chitchat?

Knowing what is taboo in the UK can undoubtedly help us relax and feel confident when making small talk.



Why is knowing what is taboo when making small talk important?

The subject of small talk can trigger many different feelings; for some, it is a natural process, and for others, they feel it is a waste of time and that it’s superficial.

Many people don’t understand that to get on to the big talk (the interesting subjects), they need to start with the small talk. Otherwise, how else will you know what is of interest to the other person?

It is if you like, the warm-up to get things going in the conversation arena.

So, on the subject of what to talk about, one of the questions that seems to becoming more common is ‘what do you do?’



Why is asking, “What do you do” wrong?

  1. We are being defined. Our occupation should certainly not define us. It should be just one part of our lives, not our total definition or purpose in life.

  2. Preconceived ideas. Many of us have preconceived notions about many occupations. Etiquette Coach? Goodness, I really don’t want strangers to know that in the first 30 seconds of meeting me!

  3. Free Advice. Have you ever had someone ask you for free advice once they know what you ‘do’?

  4. Money. By asking someone about their job, you are indirectly asking them what they earn. 




Other questions that shouldn’t be asked:


Occupation is not alone; many other questions are being asked that shouldn’t be, such as:

  • Where are you from?

  • Where do you live?

  • Do you have children?

Interestingly, the list of questions you shouldn’t ask is far greater than the ones you should!



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