Nobody wants to come off as bored and uninteresting, right? That’s why we ask questions when in other people’s company, not only to show them that we notice our surroundings, but also that we take an interest and/or are curious in them as people.
However, curiosity often leads to trouble, especially when you don’t know when to zip it. A question such as “Where did you get that lovely lampshade” is fine, but asking “How much did you pay for that sofa” is a bit more awkward.
Thus, the next time you’re a guest in someone else’s house and want to appear interested instead of nosy (or downright rude), see which questions are deemed okay by social standards, and which ones are completely off limits.
When being shown your host’s new headboard, study desk, or kitchen island (or any other fancy feature), resist the temptation to talk costs. It’s a bit indelicate to ask what they spend on their furniture and décor, very much like asking how much they earn.
Rather rephrase with: “I really like that colour/material.” Drop a positive comment on that particular feature’s colour or style, and ask your host to recommend the builder responsible. Zero in on the results instead of the financial details.
This question is equally awkward as asking your host what they paid for a property. If you really want the details, Google-search local estate agents and get the scoop from them.
Rather rephrase with: “Has your property gone up since you bought it?” This shows you are interested without being inquisitive, and your host is free to reveal what the price is without feeling like you placed them on the spot.
If you happen to spot an interesting-looking painting on the wall, never ask if the host’s child painted it, just in case they didn’t…
Rather rephrase with: “Wow, that’s unique! Now what, exactly, does this painting mean to you?”
These 10 Simple Tips For Gallery-Worthy Wall Art At Home are for your own home, not to recommend to your host!
Don’t draw attention to your host’s house size, whether it’s a tiny bachelor pad or a 10-room mansion.
Even if you mean to compliment their large house, your host could feel that they have to apologise for their good fortune. And pointing out how small a place is might make them feel embarrassed or patronised.
Rather rephrase with: There is no good substitute question! Compliment their beautiful floors, or whatever.
It might sound like a compliment in your head, but if your host has spent a pretty penny on that bookshelf/dining table/whatever piece, your question could seem like a snooty remark.
Rather rephrase with: “It’s gorgeous, where did you find this”!?
Yes, we all know that white surfaces can be challenging, but it’s not your place to get all practical with your host’s choice in home furnishings.
They might take your questions as you implying their white surfaces are looking a bit grubby!
Rather rephrase with: “Everything is so clean, I feel like I need to take my shoes off!” *enter friendly giggle right here.
This seems like a reasonable question. However, if a cash flow is the thing that is keeping that expansion from happening, you are obliging your host to confess to financial constraints. Nice job!
Rather rephrase with: “Have any of your neighbours done loft extensions?”
House prices are fascinating, especially other people’s, but asking outright how much your host spends on his/her lifestyle can cause embarrassment, especially if it turns out to be quite valuable. Or if they received help from family in buying it.
Rather rephrase with: “How long have you lived here? And have you seen a change in the area during that time”? A much safer approach!
You wouldn’t ask about your host’s anatomical package, would you? Well then, don’t draw attention to any large décor- and/or furniture pieces either. They have their reasons, and it’s theirs!
Rather rephrase with: “Bloody nice bed, looks super comfy!’
Don’t draw attention to your host’s unusual interior design style, even if you are genuinely impressed by it. It’s easy to read this question as criticism.
Rather rephrase with: “Amazing. Well done on a truly unique style!” *remember to smile!