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To say bless you to strangers?!

(83 Posts)
Imknackeredzzz Mon 17-Apr-17 07:47:16

I'm starting to wonder if this is just me being over polite, or am I going against etiquette.

A couple of times recently I've been out and about and someone has sneezed. If I am nearby I've instinctively said "bless you" without really thinking.

recently I've been getting strange looks from people for doing this. Is this now a really odd thing to do?! I always was brought up to do this and assumed it was the polite thing to do.

Please advise me if I shouldn't be doing this, or should you just say "bless you" to those you know?! Or not at all

I'm confused

PastysPrincess Mon 17-Apr-17 07:48:08

I do this! I do it under my breath so one can hear.

Pinkandwhiteblossoms Mon 17-Apr-17 07:57:39

On the whole I'd say it's not the done thing.

Sneezing is a bodily function. It's probably the most socially acceptable of them but when I sneeze I try to muffle it as much as possible and say excuse me, which my 3-on-Wednesday DD copies and says 'asmooze me!' which is so cute but it is like drawing attention to it.

It's harmless though.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Mon 17-Apr-17 08:00:17

I say it but am willing to be told that it's highly improper due to religious significance and people might implode in front of you if you do so.

Cel982 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:03:22

I would find it irritating from a stranger, to be honest. Any sort of comment on another's bodily functions is just a bit rude and unnecessary.

CustardLover Mon 17-Apr-17 08:05:05

Gosh, I always do this (just a manners reflex) and have only ever had smiles and 'thank you' in reply - never even occurred to me that it might be rude.

PhoenixJasmine Mon 17-Apr-17 08:05:08

My impulse reaction is 'gesundheit' - German - means 'good health' I think. My mother said it. I'm sure that would probably offend some people too!

It's custom, it's understandable that it's a reflex response. Perhaps it's more people not being used to strangers acknowledging each other in public rather than the wording itself?

intheknickersoftime Mon 17-Apr-17 08:05:59

I say bless you to strangers if they sneeze next to me quite often.

chitofftheshovel Mon 17-Apr-17 08:07:24

I do it without thinking. But also have people bless me sometimes if I sneeze in public. It's never loud, just an acknowledgment of another person. I don't see the problem with it.

intheknickersoftime Mon 17-Apr-17 08:08:02

It never ever occurred to me that anyone would think it was rude. Interesting.

Mysterycat23 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:08:13

Not saying it makes me feel uncomfortable. So another mutterer here grin

nothercupoftea Mon 17-Apr-17 08:08:40

I always thought that it was rude to say to anyone, even more so to complete strangers. Not really necessary to attract even more attention to a random body function, is it.

MuttsNutts Mon 17-Apr-17 08:08:42

It also depends where you live. I live in The North where strangers speak to each other when out and about so wouldn't seem strange to me - I'd smile and thank you smile

I can imagine people scowling at you down South elsewhere though.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 17-Apr-17 08:09:22

I think it's quite nice old fashioned and wouldn't bother me. I find it a bit awkward if I have to do loads of sneezes and then get about 20 bless yous!
I'm an atheist and it doesn't offend.

intheknickersoftime Mon 17-Apr-17 08:11:10

It's just a sneeze though. I wouldn't say anything if someone farted in front of me. Most people who say bless you know the difference as to what bodily function to comment on.

HerOtherHalf Mon 17-Apr-17 08:12:10

Having witnessed a few uninvited "bless you"s from strangers I think it's probably best avoided. It can sometimes come across as a veiled, ironic criticism implying that the sneeze was inappropriately loud etc. A lot depends on the tone and demeanour of the blesser but if you are getting weird looks more often than not maybe it's time to take a hint that your good intentions are being misinterpreted.

Rossigigi Mon 17-Apr-17 08:14:35

I automatically always say 'bless you' and have always received a 'thank you' never thought about it to be honest?......

thethoughtfox Mon 17-Apr-17 08:15:48

It's a reflex response like saying 'excuse me' that most people grew up saying and hearing. I am and atheist so have made a concise effort to teach dd to say 'gesundheit' instead. I am always touched when someone says 'Bless you'. It's good manners.

FlowerPowerPotter Mon 17-Apr-17 08:15:56

Nothing wrong with this, I say 'bless you' to strangers all the time and they say the same to me and I thank them. Never had a funny look or reaction at all - other than a thank you.

If it matters, I live in London where people are supposedly not friendly (we are though, we just don't like chatting on the tube with a stranger's armpit an inch from our face, it's all about the right time/circumstances!).

pipsqueak25 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:16:43

personally i find this superstitious nonsense irritating, so it quietly annoys me if i over heard someone say 'bless you' when i sneeze but i do realise others feel differently to me.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Mon 17-Apr-17 08:17:25

I say bless you, and have it said to me. (South East, non-Christian.) both in GB and abroad. It's fairly universal in Europe, IME.

It's not offensive. If anything, it's the opposite: it's an acknowledgment that the sneezer had a momentary loss of bodily control, but that it's OK and they did not cause offense.

oldwife Mon 17-Apr-17 08:21:00

I say it to strangers but then again I talk to anyone.

I had never considered it to be offensive.

As pp say it's a reflex response many times - just like please and thank you. ?

nothercupoftea Mon 17-Apr-17 08:30:25

by saying "bless you", you are telling the sneezer that s/he wasn't quiet enough so it comes out as a mild criticism. It's not offensive as such, it's just not really polite.

muffintopsausage Mon 17-Apr-17 08:54:25

I do this, you're just polite. The ones giving you dirty looks are dicks.

Dustanddebris Mon 17-Apr-17 08:59:29

I quite like it when someone says "bless you" when I sneeze in public,

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