Who has not accidentally asked unwise awkward questions you immediately wished you could retract? We vocalize questions in light, rising tones, but if offensive, the answers may fly back in heavy, angry tones.
Here are danger zone examples. Unless you’re sure a pregnancy is involved, a question to avoid if you see a friend gaining weight is, “When is your baby due?”
A risky parallel is, “What did you pay for that item of clothing?” (Your voice tone indicates how poor a choice you think it is).
Hair care and appearance present other minefields. A young woman styling my hair once commented, “You’ve got a really tight perm.” (My hair is naturally curly). Another woman cutting my curly hair asked, “Have you considered having your hair straightened?”
When one student showed up sporting a new and unusual hair style, a beloved teacher asked with a smile, “Who cut your hair? People can be sued for that.” (Because of his always-present smile, his comments were well-received.)
My sister six years younger than I enhances her hair color, but I do not. At her son’s wedding, a friend greeted her and welcomed me by saying, “How nice that your mother could be here with you.” My sister enjoyed that too much.
Now that my hair is gray, someone asked, “What color did your hair used to be?”
A student from long ago who is now in renewed contact asked, “How are you enjoying retirement? (I don’t feel that old, hope I don’t look my age, usually don’t act it, and still enjoy productive fulltime work).
Safe warning reminders might be, “Curiosity killed the cat”, or “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.
I wish I could say I have never asked any of the above questions, but I’d be lying.
What war-zone question have you asked that landed you in trouble, and how did you (hopefully) recover the situation?