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What should I do?


Guest nosey

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Guest nosey

Hi all,

OK, I've become increasingly uncomfortable around workplace sneezing. I've also become more and more unwilling to bless people, which I feel makes me seem rude but I just can't get the words out most of the time. (Quick background: I'm one of those who loves to daydream about sneezing (mine and others) but I only like to experience it in limited situations. I'm very shy about the whole thing in real life.)

So here's the problem: There is this man at work (late 50s, very nice) who has started using a spare desk near mine three days a week. He's a sneezy person, and generally produces a half dozen of these annoying, explosive sneezes during a given day. Often there's no one else in the vicinity, so I feel like this awkward silence hangs in the air after he sneezes. Or when others are at their desks, I feel like they're all thinking I'm a loser for not saying "bless you." After all, people bless each other in my office all the time. The situation is such that I cannot stand being at work on the days when he's sitting near me. I dread his sneezing and the whole darn thing. I'd really rather be focusing my energies on something more important, but I'm stuck on this. What can I do to feel less awkward about the situation? Thanks.

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Honestly? I wish I had some really good advice for you. My only thought after reading this is to try to tune out his sneezes during the day. I know there are a few people on this forum who live with people and are bothered by their sneezes constantly. Hopefully, one of them will pipe in and tell you some of their tricks for doing this.

Also, I feel no one should have to feel guilty about not blessing someone. Especially in this sort of situtation. Honestly, I don't see where people would really care whether you did or didn't bless this person. I mean, not everyone believes in God, and if you don't you certainly wouldn't say something like that, right?

I sneezed once in front of someone at work (which as you guys know, rarely happens, he he he), and she didn't bless me. Honestly, I didn't care, but I also stopped blessing her! :bawl: But, I never thought it was rude, I just figured she probably didn't notice it, or just wasn't a blesser. Either way, it's not something I think people should expect from others. And I see even people not getting blessed by their SO's, which you would think if you loved that person, you would. I don't know. Anyway, I hope that someone else has good advice for you, as I feel like I just wasted a whole post and didn't get anywhere. :cry:

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Guest nosey

Waste a post? Not at all! Your raised an interesting side point: Why bless if you don't believe in god (which I don't).

Also, we know the origin of blessing someone after sneezing, but it's not relevant anymore. We no longer bless people to protect their spirits. We bless as a social grace. Well, what about coughing? I remember being at work a few years ago with a terrible cough that went unnoticed for hours. Then, the girl sitting across from me sneezed ONCE and everyone went nuts.

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i can totally relate to what youre saying- i feel awkward at work because i work with two constant coldy people, two of whom have the most gorgeous sneezes, (grr) and it makes me feel awkward. but two people INSIST on remarking "oh dear, oohh, excuse me, i'm all sneezy today, i always come down with a cold at this time of year, i was in bed sneezing all last christmas you know...."

"hmm. yeah?"

"yeah oh my god, i'm always so sick around this time of year, look- my nose is soo itchy...!"

" i see."

*cringe* i have no advice, because i feel the same- but i can sympathise- i know what you mean- its the awkward silences after too that make it worse.

i have it with customers too- last week was a case in point- a woman came up to the counter of my quiet shop going

" can i have.... ATISHHOOO! HEH- TISHHHHOOOO! - oh dear excuse me!!! my hayfever!!!!"

i raised a half smile "yeah. so what was it you wanted...?" *cringe*

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I virtually never bless anyone because it was just something no-one in my family ever did. The silence probably only seems awkward to you because you are so aware of the effect the sneezing has on you. Probably no-one else has even noticed. If you just concentrate on your computer (or whatever) and pretend not to notice - and try not to worry, as I said not everyone says bless you when someone sneezes so it's not as if it's completely abnormal.

You could of course alternatively make careful notes of the spellings of all his sneezes and then come back here and write some brilliant observations! :cry:

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You have a sneezing fetish, right? :P

Hells bells, you lucky girl!!:bawl: There is no 'blessing' law, (that Im aware of :unsure: ) so dont worry about what others may think about you. :nohappy: Sit back, relax, and ENJOY them!! :cry:

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Guest nosey

Thanks, everyone. I know there's no blessing "law," but the silence still feels awkward. Often I choose that moment to pretend something is wrong on my screen, generally muttering "Oh shit" instead of "bless you." :proud:

But this has happened in other situations: Someone near me will sneeze, I won't say anything, and then someone farther away will call over "BLESS YOU." I HATE THAT. A good friend of mine at work does it. I swear, there's a tone in her voice like, "Why didn't YOU say it?" And I remember in high school being on this retreat, and this girl sneezed and no one said anything for a minute, and then someone gave her a delayed blessing. This led to a whole conversation among them about how they absolutely hate when they sneeze and no one says anything. People seem to take it really seriously. Frankly I think it's pretty far down on the rudeness scale.

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People seem to take it really seriously. Frankly I think it's pretty far down on the rudeness scale.

I'll admit that I like being blessed. It makes me feel good. But I don't consider it rude if someone doesn't. There have been many times I've been at work and sneezed. No one will say anything. However, when I feel coming one on I take off my headphones quicky incase someone does happen to bless me. I don't want to miss it and I want to be able to say thank you. :lol:

But I don't think of it as rude if they don't. I hear people around me too and I don't usually say anything. It really depends on the person sneezing & the situation we're in, if I'm gonna bless or not.

The only time I'll get bumbed out if someone doesn't bless me is usually dependent on who the person is. B)

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I feel your pain. That's a really unfortunate situation and I can see why it would be uncomfortable for you. Is he going to be there indefinitely or is he in that area temporarily?

Like other people have said, no one should have to feel guilty for not blessing people. It is highly unlikely that he will bring it up or ask you about it. But if you really want to bless him, my suggestion (which may sound a little silly) is to practice it on the way to and from work in your car. Say "bless you" out loud to yourself and try different tones to see which one is most comfortable for you. You may eventually be able to do it without feeling so...icck. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but that's because I haven't tried.

Good luck with everything and I hope I was able to help out at least a little.

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If someone does have a problem with your not blessing, that's their problem. But you can't know that they do, and you can't be expected to. If they really have a problem with it, they can either live with it and say nothing, or tell you - in which case, you can respond however you like - I would suggest astonishment, as in "You really mean you're upset because I don't say 'Bless You'? So how do you feel about world poverty?"

Rhino

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  • 2 weeks later...

I never "bless". I don't see the point of bringing The Big Guy into it. That's why I always "gesundheit" a sneeze.

My whole family "gesundheits". In fact, I used to call up my husband at work to tell him "I just snozed", and he'd tell me gesundheit. And that would be the end of the conversation.

Sometimes I'll come home and tell him that I snozed three times while I was out shopping, and he'll tell me "gesundheit, gesundheit, gesundheit".

I really love that.

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Why not try saying gesundheit? Or tell the gut bless you at the start of the day before he sneezes, and ask him to consider himself blessed for every time he does eventually sneeze? OR you could say it's against your religion to bless.

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I know that this is a bit older of a thread, nosey, and you're probably feeling better about the situation now.

But that's not going to stop me from writing down my reply :yes:

Anyway, I used to worry about exactly what you're describing, but after being on this forum and coming to my senses about how my fetish is not obvious to anyone, AND by reading random non fetish views of blessing on the internet (yes, I waste too much time doing google searches sometimes), I've come to the conclusion that among people without the fetish, there is in no way a universal opinion in favor of saying "bless you." In other words, I think that a good number of people without the fetish simply don't give a rat's ass if someone responds with "bless you" to their sneeze, and some people find it downright annoying. Therefore, I never worry whether I am offending someone by not saying bless you, and I figure that most people without the fetish don't analyze sneezing enough to ponder too much if their sneeze goes unacknowledged.

That being said, I have posted several times about a girl named Becky with whom I worked back in 1995-6. It was me, Becky, and Joyce in the office. When Becky sneezed, I, Joyce, and people across the hallway jumped out of our skin; it was beyond loud and beyond obnoxious and beyond scary. Back in those days, I hadn't "learned" to say bless you, which I later forced myself to do so that I would have the option in emergency cases. Joyce covered all the bless yous for Becky, and I relied on her because Becky expected the bless you, and if she didn't get it, she was pissed. So one day, it was just me and Becky. Becky busted out with one of those crazy ass sounds that passed for a sneeze, and I said .. . NOTHING. And Becky started complaining about how rude I was, didn't even say bless you blahblahblah. And I just pretended not to hear her in a tiny little office while I was freaking out.

If I encountered Becky now, would I freak out? Hell no. I'd tell her, "I consider it much more polite just to overlook people's sneezing. I'm sorry that we disagree about this."

Of course, now I bless or don't bless depending on the situation. Somehow I've never incorporated the bless you as a response to how greatly I'm turned on. I used to think I needed to say it to be polite, but it's really not quite the same as saying "thank you" or "excuse me" or "please." Almost everyone agrees that "thank you" needs to be said in certain situations, but there is no such widespread agreement about "bless you" after sneezing from what I can tell.

Oh and edited to say, that the reason I replied to rhinoceros here is because I completely agree with what he wrote.

If someone does have a problem with your not blessing, that's their problem. But you can't know that they do, and you can't be expected to. If they really have a problem with it, they can either live with it and say nothing, or tell you - in which case, you can respond however you like - I would suggest astonishment, as in "You really mean you're upset because I don't say 'Bless You'? So how do you feel about world poverty?"

Rhino

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OR you could say it's against your religion to bless.
Off Topic....but I'm begging anyone to show me documentation from any relegion that says "You are prohibited from offering someone "Bless you" after he/she sneezes. If you do, you will be exhiled from such'n'such religion." That might be the, forgive the bluntness, dumbest rule ever if it existed.
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Well, while it's not RELIGIOUS, some people don't see the point because "bless you" DOES have a relgious connotation associated with phrase. There's nothing wrong with saying, "I think blessing is pointless" or "I don't believe in saying it." However, "it's against my religion" does sound pretty odd.

~Aku

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Guest nosey

Here's an intersting side note: I'm Jewish, and I have a Jewish coworker who also never blesses anyone. While it has nothing to do with our religion, I've often wondered if non-Jewish coworkers think it does, like "Geez, Jewish people must have something against blessing people." Of course it's not true, but it's funny to think about!

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