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What is the least diplomatic question you have ever been asked?

140 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Okay, let's summarize:

1. If you ask a question which makes the other person uncomfortable, it is your fault.

2. Now, you have two options:

2a. Apologize. Problem solved.

2b. Get into defensive "I am just curious" position.

 

The latter makes you an asshat.

 

Well, since there is no word for apology in German language and the whole concept is foreign to them, people of German nationality do not understand the correlation between asking a question and being an asshat.

 

This is valid regardless of the essence of the question. I mean, is it ok to ask "Are you gay?" If you are not sure, just don't. Otherwise either you will get a honest answer or you will have to apologize. It's up to you to take a risk.

 

 

I'd have thought that how one responds to questions like these depends almost entirely on the context, and the intention of the enquirer.

 

If I'm on holiday and I meet someone - another tourist or someone employed in the tourism industry perhaps - and they ask me where I'm from, then most likely I'll accept their presumably friendly interest in me in good faith, and answer honestly. Whos knows, something like that could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

 

This is a million miles from the situation @razorsandroses describes with the daughter of her Japanese roommate. The person who asked, "You're just babysitting, right?", had a clear (to me, anyway - especially in light of their follow-up)  misanthropic and rascist agenda. @razorsandroses Your response was pretty much perfect, in my book.

 

It does though, sometimes take a good nose, to sniff out the arseholes in this world - so to speak.

 

 

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It wasn't me personally.  It was my mother-in-law and her mother.  My mother-in-law had just found out she had cancer and was telling us all about it for the first time.  The first thing anyone said was our "dear" Oma who asked "Do you have life insurance?".

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3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

It was just an example, no need to take everything literally.

 As was "Entschuldigung", not Entschuldigung! ("Excuse me!") but in a tone like "Excuse me, _please._"

 

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3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

"Entschuldigung" is not apology. It basically means "you should cancel my debt" (mich ent-schulden), it is basically an order. I am not going to free you from your guilt, first you should say you are sorry, and then I decide.

 

You decide. Wow. Always? :P

 

It's not an order, it's a plead which polite people usually accept if it's honest.

Most times, it's "Entschuldigung, könnten Sie bitte" (do this or that) or "Entschuldigen Sie bitte" (said in a friendly voice) anyways.

 

3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

 

Apology is "es tut mir leid". While it exists in German language, the Germans use it so rarely that you didn't even mention it.

 

Because I thought one example was sufficient.

 

3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

 

Have you ever said "es tut mir Leid" in your life? If yes, how many times?

 

More than I can count (and often enough just for peace's sake). I prefer an honest "Entschuldigung" to a fake "I'm sorry."

 

Have you?

 

Do you know the expression "Der Ton macht die Musik?"

 

What I really hate is "Danke für Ihr Verständnis" from tape when waiting on the phone... no plead at all.

 

Isn't "Apology" the correct term in English for "Entschuldigung"? Haven't you ever apologized instead of saying "I'm sorry"?

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3 hours ago, Aussiedog said:

If I'm on holiday and I meet someone - another tourist or someone employed in the tourism industry perhaps - and they ask me where I'm from, then most likely I'll accept their presumably friendly interest in me in good faith, and answer honestly. Whos knows, something like that could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Sure. I can tell the difference between good faith and "you do not belong here". Also, if I meet a German here in Israel, I do ask where from Germany he/she is, and I mention that I lived in Bavaria (the "Prussians" do not appreciate it, haha).

 

 

10 minutes ago, Sannerl said:

Most times, it's "Entschuldigung, könnten Sie bitte" (do this or that) or "Entschuldigen Sie bitte" (said in a friendly voice) anyways.

In this case you do not apologize, you just get person's attention and you say "excuse me" because you do not know the person's name.

 

 

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10 hours ago, French bean said:

 

 

As a young airmen I had to do the Remembrance Sunday parade in a small town in Wiltshire. We'd done the march up to the church and were waiting outside to march into the town for the march past. Now as we were waiting outside the church a girl with learning difficulties walked by, looked at the one and only black guy amongst us and shouted out "Look mam, a Nigger". CONTEXT this is early 1980's where racism was rife in the parochial parts of the country and the girl obviously had learning difficulties. The guy smiled and nothing more was said. Point being, these things happen and always will happen, kids will say what they think and it doesn't matter what colour of skin you have if you are the odd one out you will be singled out.

 

To finish off, the girl decided to join the front of the Parade and took the salute from the station commander as we marched by the Dais.

 

Um... so the girl's disability caused her to repeat what she hears at home all the time?  That's just kids.  Her disability didn't make her say a racist thing, hearing it at home did.

 

7 hours ago, Santitas said:

Hey @dessa_dangerous

Didn’t you close this thread a while back? What made you decide to reopen it?

 

Hey Santitas, no, I didn't.  What made you decide I did?

 

On 8/30/2019, 6:59:47, dessa_dangerous said:

 

I just ran across its twin in the trash (removed posts with same topic title) and went looking for the original and reopened it as it was a pretty good topic and had already been cleaned up.  Looked as if whoever edited it simply forgot to reopen it after closing it for maintenance.

 

It's been reopened for nearly a month.

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Just now, dessa_dangerous said:

 

Um... so the girl's disability caused her to repeat what she hears at home all the time?  That's just kids.  Her disability didn't make her say a racist thing, hearing it at home did.

 

Yes, but she wasn't physically a little girl, just mentally, I thought at the time she was about 14. Sad thing is the racists are still there, just not as obvious as before.

 

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right, but... what difference does that make?  If she was mentally slow, it seems even LESS likely that she herself had formed truly racist or hateful thoughts.  How can the kid herself be a racist when she was lagging developmentally and had not seen so many black people in her life?  For her it was just a curiosity and this was the only word she had to describe it.  My point again is that your story almost makes it look like "stupid" people say racist things, when in fact this is a very young person with significant developmental delay and honestly is unlikely to be a racist.  Her possibly quite "normal" parents are the ones to blame.

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I didn't tell it to show  people with mental issues are racists, I used it as an example how children come out with things without knowing what they are saying. In a way, you're right in that stupid people do say racist things but as for the girl, she just reacted to what she saw without any thought about consequences and yes her parents are definitely the ones to blame.

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5 hours ago, fraufruit said:

That makes more sense than the usual cancer question - "Did you/he/she smoke?".

When Fuenfling was 4 1/2 he was listening to my mother describe the ill fortune she'd had with a large litter of puppies her Aussie had whelped. 'Four were monorchous, three were deaf, and two got Parvovirus and died.'  After a respectful silence, Fuenfling moved closer to his Granny and asked in that confidential tone of voice which indicates you already know the answer, 'Did they smoke?'

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12 hours ago, Sannerl said:

 

Read again: razorsandroses had assumed that the child's grandmother looked astonishingly young for her age.

And in hindsight realized the obvious ? Hence her own assertion about being "undiplomatic" in the spirit of this thread.

 

 

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My parents had a friend whose first, childless, marriage had ended when his wife died.  In his mid-50s he married a younger woman, and together they quickly had two children.  Ray, the husband, was pushing his baby boy in a stroller one day when he met an acquaintance - who hadn't seen him for many years - and who asked, 'Ray, is that your grandson?'
'No,' Ray answered, 'It's me widdle brudder.'

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Just follow the diplomacy algorithm, it's something like the friendship algorithm

 

 

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Good evening. In Croatia it is very usual to ask someone where is he from. Like some of you said it is not racist Croats ask each other that in polite conversation meaning for vich town do you come from etc just polite chating.

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On 9/24/2019, 1:25:53, alderhill said:

 

Right, fair enough. 

 

I used to have a colleague here, a young woman with Sri Lankan background. Born there, but was less than 1 year when she arrived, her parents being political refugees. She was very quick to mention that she was most definitely NOT German, she was clear that she didn't like here, and would eventually leave (which she has since, to Australia I believe). She had German citizenship though, and spoke perfect German (and of course perfect English too, plus Tamil). Well-educated, well-read and very literate, etc. Had actually first studied Lehramt for German and English. 

 

I was once with her when some kind of delivery guy asked for directions in our building, and as he left, he casually and in friendly tones complimented her on her German. OH BOY, did she let him have it. I got why, but still felt bad for him because he clearly didn't intend offence. 

 

I wondered though, wasn't she constantly saying that she wasn't German? I think in many ways, she was more 'Germanized' than she realized... 

 

 

I take it you're non-white? To be fair, when I say Canada, it is almost always just accepted. I have been doubted on this a few times, but more like they thought I was making it up, I was actually an embarrassed American. One German guy overheard an English friend and I talking, and intruded with very heavy German accent. Asked where we from, but said that I don't sound Canadian and refused to believe I was, no matter what I explained or demonstrated. I lol'd and asked him how Canadians should sound, which clearly stumped him. He was convinced I was Irish. 

 

One of my best friends back home is of Indian background, and in our younger years we travelled together several times. It always confused people where we were from, especially since we made them guess. A white guy and a brown guy together? In some cases, they thought he was my local guide, but otherwise we got Brazil a lot...

Ha! I am white-in fact, the worst kind..ex-ginger, freckles and shouldn´t go out in the sun etc!

Brazil? Ah, lived there for a few years and shared a flat with a Guyanese guy - black. I learned Portuguese well..he didn´t. It wasn´t his thing..he was a black Guyanese English teacher in Rio without a visa ( we had that in common!).

His comment: " Brazilians cannot understand  I am not Brazilian. I don´t speak Portuguese. How can I be black and not speak the local language?"

 

A good reason: many Brazilians don´t know Guyana is one of their neighbouring countries...

:D:)

 

By the way, Peter was also a Bible-pusher and against sex before marriage. I came home one evening and he was in the shower naked with a young lady!! He loved Shakespeare and his Dad ( also in Rio ) was a boxer and some kind of Schmusesänger..a sort of Tom Jones of that time!!!

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On 9/22/2019, 5:25:03, john g. said:

I said it in English cos I didn’t ( and still don’t ) know the Greek for it.?

The old neighbour just smiled though she didn’t understand  and said “ bravo. “

Edit: just googled for fun! Brothel is porneio!! 

 

On 9/22/2019, 7:11:05, Alexnf said:

 

Mpourdelo will also do :D 

Or if you're from the wrong side of the tracks gamiolla.

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And to think that i only know Kalimera Kalispera  Avrio Kalo Orexi and Entaxi in Greek language lol..

4 hours ago, rodisi said:

 

Or if you're from the wrong side of the tracks gamiolla.

 

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