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Show ALL Forums  > Dating and Love Advice  > Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?      Home login  
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 flaneur001
Joined: 7/31/2011
Msg: 1
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?Page 1 of 1    
I had a discussion with a friend this weekend about dating. She's British and said that asking someone what they did for a living was rude! I've never head of this. I'm European and travel to Europe annually, I've never encountered this. She said that in Britian and France it would be considered inappropriate, rude and declasse to ask anyone what they did for a living. Really? Is this true? I'm ....well ...gobsmacked!
 flaneur001
Joined: 7/31/2011
Msg: 2
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 2:00:56 PM
Yes Ffrin, I agree, it's rude to ask about how much someon earns. Our conversation was very clear...it was about asking what they do not how much they earn. I've never heard of this 'social rule'. It's not the first question I ask, but at some point I can't see how it wouldn't come up - our education, career, time is so hooked into work how/why would you not bring it up?
 Blah_User_Name
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 3
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 2:05:24 PM
Not rude to ask what someone does for a living in my opinion either. In fact, most Brits I know, including close friends and family, would normally ask someone that as a perfect opening question to get conversation going. It certainly would be considered really rude to ask how much someone earns but that's completely different.

Asking what someone does for a living isn't about being nosy it's about finding common ground in someway to make conversation. It's an ice-breaker. I've never known someone to consider it rude.

I wonder, does she work in a very specialist area which therefore it could be presumed her income was a certain level? Perhaps that's why she feels it's the same.
 flaneur001
Joined: 7/31/2011
Msg: 4
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 2:20:19 PM
We both work in a 'specialist area' and I've never encountered this. I think it's more of a class issue. The drift is more like, conversations should be about current events, culture etc and that asking what people do for a living is declasse. She said, you don't ask, if people bring it up then fine integrate it in the conversation, but you DON'T bring it up.

Really, this is news to me.
 ABritInBurnaby
Joined: 8/31/2012
Msg: 5
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 2:31:02 PM
Never heard of such a thing. Next asking about somebodies hobbies and interests will be classed as rude and intrusive. She is definitely in the minority.
 _TALL_IQ2_
Joined: 2/10/2010
Msg: 6
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 3:49:14 PM

She's British and said that asking someone what they did for a living was rude! I've never head of this. I'm European and travel to Europe annually, I've never encountered this.


Depends on the total context of that communication AND much depends on the vocal tone and facial expressions of the inquirer..

In America many people can ask that question possibly intending it to be an innocuous way to start a conversation, but

if the vocal tone, body language and facial expression may possibly be interpreted as "prove your worth by your job title" before I deign to interact much with you,
THEN the questioner may be perceived as being rude and declasse.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 7
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 3:56:14 PM
I'm not immediately European either. But I suggest another slight consideration, which is that for some ways of making a living, the income is immediately known if the job is mentioned. That would mean that asking what someone does for a living IS all but identical to asking them how much they make.

This is true here in the U.S. as well.

Watch out when you read profiles, for the phrase "professional man/woman." Saying that you want a "Professional " mate in the U.S. directly means that you want someone making six figures, left of the little dot.

Just an example.
 Blah_User_Name
Joined: 8/27/2011
Msg: 8
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 8:13:05 PM

The drift is more like, conversations should be about current events, culture etc and that asking what people do for a living is declasse. She said, you don't ask, if people bring it up then fine integrate it in the conversation, but you DON'T bring it up.


False class, maybe. Don't get me wrong, there is a class system in England and although it's not as prevalent as it once was, there is still a class divide. But my grandfather was Lord of the Justices at the Old Bailey, a man who would be over 100 years old if still alive and very much born and bred into an upper class family and yet this was the first question he asked everybody after knowing their name. In fact, the true upper class tend to use this as a default question in beginning to learn about the person with whom they are speaking.

Fair or not but the only time I've ever heard someone categorize a given action as declasse is when they are busy pretending to fit into a class level they aspire to without really belonging. Just my observation.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 9
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 8:19:04 PM


She said that in Britian and France it would be considered inappropriate, rude and declasse to ask anyone what they did for a living.


I can state with absolute certainty that is not the case in France. It is as common a topic of conversation as it is here in the U.S and considered just as normal as well.

I cannot imagine where or how your friend got that idea.
 greenfield101
Joined: 8/5/2012
Msg: 10
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/2/2012 9:32:26 PM

We both work in a 'specialist area' and I've never encountered this. I think it's more of a class issue. The drift is more like, conversations should be about current events, culture etc and that asking what people do for a living is declasse. She said, you don't ask, if people bring it up then fine integrate it in the conversation, but you DON'T bring it up.

Really, this is news to me.

When my family migrated to Australia in the mid 80's, my parents attended English class for new migrants. The class also taught how to make "polite" conversation when meeting new people. One of the "supposed" rule of etiquette was not to ask what one does for a living, how old they are, how many children they have (or if they are married or not). At the time it was definitely a culture shock because those questions were normal topics for "us Asians" and wouldn't be considered impolite. To this day, I still don't ask what someone does for a living when I just meet them. Usually they asked me first, then I would ask them.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 11
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/3/2012 1:03:47 AM
Another possible explanation for the friend's "explanation:"

lots of people who want to flat out tell you something THEY want, but which they don't think you will like, claim to have definite knowledge that "Everyone already thinks as I am about to pretend I am forced to."

In other words, the FRIEND found that revealing the source of their income to be uncomfortable, but not wanting to arouse further suspicion, made up the notion that "Europeans are all offended if you ask their profession."
 HappySingleSpirit
Joined: 9/10/2011
Msg: 12
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/3/2012 12:46:09 PM
I live in California and it is considered rude to ask someone what they do for a living and where they are from. It is seen as one question away from asking what car they drive. A lot of people here appreciate being recognized for their interests and personality when getting to know one another before those questions are popped. If the conversation content leads to such questions naturally it can be asked but usually people avoid it.

I lived in Europe when I was a teenager and don't remember if this was an issue there but I don't think it was.
 pomolive
Joined: 4/8/2007
Msg: 13
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 11/10/2012 10:53:58 AM
If its in text and it is just the beginning of a conversation and the second or third question that is asked ,is What do you do for a living .is RUDE.......
 Rythmn
Joined: 1/21/2006
Msg: 14
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/13/2015 5:46:45 PM
My friend from Portugal said it was rude for Americans to serve on paper plates for parties. A year later, guess who was serving on paper plates?!* Where she travelled, there was also much more of a "class" thing which she tried to explain to me. So, I do think this is a class or snob thing, or it could be if someone does not feel their job is important or if they represent the "idle rich".

I have read that it is often a good thing, to not ask from a dating point of view. I guess there are a lot of gold diggers around, who only want to date certain kinds of people and surmise an income from the job. So, it is usually not my first question. But, being a New Yorker, I also need a forthright conversation and not just talking about the weather. So, I usually ask what the person would like to know about me first. I tend to give an earful and open up the opportunity to do the same. If their questions lead to work, then I feel free to ask the same. If someone has a boring job, I ask what else do they do in their spare time, etc. In essence, what "floats their boat":)

They say also not to ask about politics. Well, for me, that has to be answered at some point!
 south_city
Joined: 10/12/2013
Msg: 15
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 7:11:34 AM

What IS considered rude is asking someone how much they earn, so maybe that's where her confusion arose. But asking them what they "do" is standard conversation fodder.


I agree. It doesn't bother me when a person asks what I do for work.. It can be an icebreaker along with where you live or what are your interests / hobbies etc.
 i8pineapple
Joined: 6/20/2014
Msg: 16
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 7:23:14 AM
It depends. If you're drilling them at the time they may take it the wrong way or something.
 CuriousInDB
Joined: 7/12/2014
Msg: 17
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 7:27:13 AM
This has always been rude and I'm American. Some folks never learn etiquette. Just sayin'. This is not a question that should be asked in any social circle unless you're on your sixth beer with your next-door neighbor at a block cookout. America continues to seek rock bottom.
 Eternityboresme
Joined: 8/20/2014
Msg: 18
Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 7:35:51 AM
I've spoken to a couple of Brits, in here, none of which complained when I asked them to describe their present career, after _they_ asked me to describe mine. I normally don't go out of my way what they do, unless their description in their profile is vague or very interesting.

I don't recall going out of my way asking any of them in the public and at random.

 wolftxusa66
Joined: 12/17/2014
Msg: 19
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 8:09:18 AM
It's only rude if it turns out she's a hooker AND you ask for free samples.
 ohenryx
Joined: 3/12/2010
Msg: 20
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Brits/Europeans? Is it rude to ask people what they do for a living?
Posted: 1/14/2015 8:28:32 PM

i8pineapple
It depends. If you're drilling them at the time they may take it the wrong way or something.

Is this another sock puppet for awesome50man? His posts remind me a little bit of UncleZeus, except for being entirely one dimensional. Thus boring.


CuriousInDB
This has always been rude and I'm American. Some folks never learn etiquette. Just sayin'. This is not a question that should be asked in any social circle unless you're on your sixth beer with your next-door neighbor at a block cookout. America continues to seek rock bottom.

I disagree, completely. I don’t think asking someone what they do is rude, and (to the best of my knowledge) I’ve never met anyone who was offended by my asking. Now asking how much they make, yes, that would be rude.


IgonFrankensteen
Watch out when you read profiles, for the phrase "professional man/woman." Saying that you want a "Professional " mate in the U.S. directly means that you want someone making six figures, left of the little dot.

Very, very true.

I was recently playing over on Match. They let you specify the income that you’re seeking in a mate. I was quite surprised by the number of women who chose “$150,000+”.


wolftxusa
It's only rude if it turns out she's a hooker AND you ask for free samples.

Funny you should mention that. Back about 2 or 3 years ago, I met a very pretty young woman. About 45 years old, half American / half Japanese, the longest, most beautiful black hair you have ever seen. I got her phone number before we met, as I always do. We met for dinner down at the Empire Café in Montrose. Wolf, being from Houston, will probably know the spot, or at least the location.

Over dinner, she asked me if I had googled her phone number, which I had not. Actually, it had never occurred to me to google a phone number. Turns out that a google search of her phone number revealed an ad on a site for call girls. She admitted it, told me all about it. At the time, she was out of work, and had two boys in high school to take care of, so …

By the time I met her, she had gone back to work, was no longer “in the life”. I told her that I was not judgmental, and we went on from there. We had a very free flowing conversation, talking about life experiences , etc. At the end of the evening, I jokingly asked about a “free sample”. The rest is history, as they say.

You know, I really liked her. She was a true free spirit, the kind you don’t often encounter these days. I lost her to religion, but that’s another story entirely.
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