Top Ten Things Not to Talk About When Others Can Hear

Photo by Papaioannou Kostas on Unsplash

 

This list was first published on February 16th, 2016. I still this it is good advice today.

* * *

This list is inspired by a weekend out-of-town and overhearing some of the darnedest things said by others.

Top Ten Things Not to Talk About When Others Can Hear

10. When others can hear you, do not ask your partner if they brought the money. If you do, at best, we all know you’re okay to spend. At worst, the mugger behind you will love the confirmation you should be ripped off. (Could have whispered that one, right?)

9 When others can hear you, do not ask a server if the food is good. If you do, at best, they’ll walk away to get water, and you have no more information than when you arrived. At worst, they will lie and say it is all good, and you now have a choice to order or leave. (Gotta wonder why you came here in the first place)

8 When others can hear you, do not negatively comment on the neighborhood decline. If you do, at best, everyone will ignore you. At worst, you will have offended Little Bubba, who just happens to be the new POA president and local gang lord. (I guess that answers the question about your missing tires when you return to your car, which is now on cement blocks)

7 When others can hear you, do not ask the butcher if he has any better cuts of meat. If you do, at best, he will say that all his cuts are on display. At worst, he will be offended at the implication of poor quality and explain to everyone in line you are obviously not a judge of good meat. (Better than being chased around the store by a half-crazed man with a butcher knife)

6 When others can hear you, do not discuss your plans for the evening. If you do, at best, you’ll sound like an idiot. At worst, the local cat burglar who followed you here will make a note of the hours of your absence from your house. (The rooms do look bigger now that you have no furniture.)

5 When others can hear you, do not complain about your neighbors. If you do, at best, those that hear have no idea who you or your neighbors are. At Worst, those that hear are relatives of your neighbors and are now approaching you with malice in their eyes. (As a side note, they are all members of the Dingle Brothers kickboxing team.)

4 When others can hear you, do not answer “how are you doing?” with anything but “fine.” If you do, at best, your story will sound a notch south of pathetic. At worst, you will come home to a ringing phone, and it will be your mother calling to find out the problem. (If it was that bad, you should have told her. Right?)

3 When others can hear, do not try to impress them with your knowledge of anything. If you do, at best, you will sound pompous. At worst, the person hearing you will be an expert in the area on which you are pontificating and be quick to point out how wrong you are. (Man, who was to know that guy was an oenophile?)

2 When others can hear you, do not try to get a better price on a car. If you do, at best, the salesperson will try to direct you to an office. At worst, the salesperson will announce loudly that the car is below cost now and can’t take one more penny off. (Imagine that. The price is written in sharpie black)

1 When others can hear you, do not try to talk the police officer out of a ticket. If you do, at best, you have guaranteed the officer will write one up. At worst, you might be the cause of a call for backup and a charge of trying to bribe an officer. (Your “Ten Bucks” offer for the Policeman’s Ball ticket was a little out of line.)

90 comments

  1. I did #10 in New York City, John, at one of those eerie moments when things go silent. Great list!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha ha. Always an oops. Thanks, Dan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Must have been hard to narrow this down to 10.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great list, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You should teach a high school class on this stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha ha. Maybe the lessons would set in when they all turn 26

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’d also need to include in the curriculum what not to post on social media.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah that would be a biggie.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I am always telling people something similar to Number 6. When writing on-line, don’t tell people you’ll be out of town for a few weeks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t understand why people do that. Especially on Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad I’m not a FB person!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not either and I’m glad as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I must admit to #2 and maybe #3, neither of which had a good result! If only I had read your list beforehand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would probably happen anyway, Maggie. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are probably right.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember this list and thought it was as humorous then as I do now. Some bits of wisdom are timeless. πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gwen. I think you have read every list so it is good when one stands out. 😁

      Like

  8. Good ones, John. Had to chuckle about the butcher with a knife.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Beware of big knives. Thanks, Joan. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You can answer the question How are you doing? when you are not feeling ‘fine’ with ‘mezza, mezza’. No one knows what that is and they just smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a good solution

      Like

  10. #3 reminded me of Norm Peterson on Cheers.
    I actually know someone like that πŸ˜€
    Fun stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t thought of Norm for a while. I think we all know someone like that. 😁

      Like

  11. I love this one. I’m someone who hears well enough to overhear conversations and it sometimes surprises me what people talk about aloud in public. It’s always interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also like those folks who walk around talking on the phone when it is on speaker. Makes ypu want to cover your ears. Thanks, Phil

      Like

  12. And that is why it is called polite conversation. And polite conversation never mentions that it is also called survival conversation. Kinda like walking up to a floating poker game in a shady place and asking if you can buy enough bullets to reload your piece before the game starts… yes you have just restarted the game in a different direction… hold on tight and be ready to duck !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one , John

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Good ones, John. Gotta stay aware of who is listening. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Good ones, John. I agree with you and GP about not advertising on-line that you’ll be out of your residence, and it will be available for a break-in. So many people do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was good advice for sure. Thanks, Tim

      Liked by 1 person

  15. HI John, this is a great list. I’ve also heard people speaking about the most incredible things when they are out. Some even discuss confidential business deals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that do. I always hate to hear some of the stuff I’ve heard. Thanks, Robbie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too, it makes me cringe.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. John, I’ve had a lifelong case of foot-in-mouth disease. Terrific list. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. Thanks, Teagan. Hugs

      Like

  17. Hah, these are all really really good advice! The only one where I might disagree is asking the server about the food–I would just tweak and ask what they recommend or what they like best. When you see them hesitate you know they don’t like any of it!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. People do say the darndest things in public. But they are great for story ideas and blog posts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So true, Darlene 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Great list, John! Now I know why I speak so softly in public πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great idea, Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I once overheard two people talking about a murder. I followed them. DUH! Turns out one had murdered the other’s plant. First degree?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Still a crime. Thanks, Pam

      Liked by 1 person

    2. An easy mistake to make, particularly if the plant in question is a rose or a violet.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    All good advice, John πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise.

      Like

  22. I find it amazing the things people will yak into their cell phones, completely oblivious to who’s listening. Of course, we writers would be remiss in our duties if we didn’t listen in!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s as if they think the cell phone emits a force field or a bubble that blocks the sound.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Isn’t that the truth? I guess it’s easy to get lulled into your privacy when you’re on the phone, but that disappeared with land lines.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess if people expose the most intimate details of their lives on social media, they have no need to keep their phone conversations private.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Good point!!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Good idea, Debbie. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  23. 7. Or get a cleaver between the eyes…

    Like

  24. Tom mistook Norm for Cliff – Cliff is the one who “knows everything” (I know ‘coz I’ve been re-watching the series lately!
    As for this list; always good to read, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  25. #5 for us. We’ve got this strange neighbor who apparently watches out the window for us to go out on our patio. It never fails – he comes out ot mow the lawn or gets out his blower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have one of those next door. He loves to use his blower on Sunday, the Asshat

      Liked by 1 person

  26. That #5 caught me. Perhaps I should stop referring to one of my neighbors as ‘the crazy cat lady.’ After all, what’s crazy about taking your two cats out four times a day for a little fresh air — in a baby buggy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I have to tell you that Twiggy had a torn ACL and in order for her to go on a walk she had to either be carried or in a stroller. Since she is 25 pounds we went for the stroller option. Twiggy is the kind who loves her walks twice a day so to leave her home was not an option. It worked well and she is now completely healed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that makes sense; in Twiggy’s case, a stroller was a perfect solution. My neighbor’s critters don’t seem to need the stroller, since they’re constantly escaping its confines to chase squirrels up trees!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That must look like an old two reel comedy.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Though it’s not a verbal announcement, I’m always surprised by the number of people who will post on Social Media about an upcoming trip (dates included) or while they are on the trip. Maybe that’s just my post law enforcement paranoia kicking in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. Seems to make it easy for the pros to strike.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. What if I try to bore the officer with a story about my day? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Another winner of a list, Boss.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll make sure to at least have my seat belt fastened.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. #7 – Couldn’t agree more, John. I am not going to hiss off a person who is not only providing me food, but has a giant butcher knife in their possession lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the more important fact is the knife. Thanks, Bruce.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Timeless advice, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Yep! That’s the nice one! πŸ‘Œ

    Like

    1. Thank you, Zuko.

      Like

  32. Wonderful set, dear John, reminding us of silence as one of our treasures. Keep your mouth shut & think more.😁😁😁🍀🍀🍀🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Silence is a treasure. Thank you, Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All for you, dear John! Another thought: our pets are smarter than us.😁😁😁

        Like

      2. Yes they are.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Okay, #9 is obvious. Whatcha think they’re gonna say? And #3 … well … I’ve been guilty of that right here on this site on more than one occasion. But I’m not pompous. I’m just trying to elevate you lesser mortals to my realm of being.

    Like

    1. I know you have our benefit in mind when offering beneficial news.

      Like

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