5 Phrases You Should NEVER Say at Work, According to an Etiquette Expert

Kelsey Clark

Despite improving your performance and making your workdays decidedly less bleak, friendships with co-workers can also blur the line between personal and professional to an inappropriate extent. And, as etiquette expert Rosalinda Oropeza Randall pointed out to Business Insider, there will always be certain questions and phrases that are off-limits at work, no matter how close your friendships are with your co-workers or boss.

"In conversation, use a little common sense and discretion, especially when there are others present," said Randall, who is also the author of Don't Burp in the Boardroom. "The general guideline is that if you wouldn't say it in front of your boss, don't say it." More specifically, Randall recommends avoiding the following questions and phrases at the office, even if you are friends with your colleagues:

  • "How much do you make?"
  • "Can I borrow some cash?"
  • "Are you pregnant?"
  • "Ugh! My S.O. did [XYZ] again!"
  • "Did you hear about [insert co-worker's personal business]?"

From the overly personal to the downright socially tone-deaf, these phrases blur the line between work and play into non-existence. Rather than run the risk of upsetting your boss or, worse, jeopardizing your employment, avoid topics such as age, personal finance, family planning, intimate relationships, and office gossip.

What inappropriate phrases would you add to this list? Share your opinion below!

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