Question of the Day

(Copied and pasted shamelessly from Shakesville)

What do you say, if anything, when someone sneezes? What do you like people to say to you when you sneeze?

I say the same thing I would have if they had coughed. Nothing. Although sometimes I want to shriek out “COVER YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH.” But I don’t. And I don’t really care what people say to me when I sneeze unless they say “COVER YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH.”


  1. When people bless me I want to reply that I’m not so superstitious that I believe I just sneezed my soul out.
    But I just keep quiet and mind my own business.

  2. Depends. If it’s a really loud sneeze, I might say, “Now pick up your nose!” Otherwise, I might say, “Do you need a kleenex?”

  3. During my time in Japan, I noticed that no one said anything after a sneeze. If I coughed or sneezed, no one wanted anything to do with it (or gave me the stink eye for forgetting a face mask). I rather like this not saying anything business, since “Bless you!” is such an empty phrase anyway (as outeast mentioned).

  4. I usually say ‘gesundheit’, by reflex. When someone says ‘bless you’ to me, I often reply ‘I don’t need any outside help’ – not to be mean, I remember it from an ancient comedy routine.

  5. I don’t say anything. I politely ignore it rather than draw attention to someones involuntary bodily function. I really don’t know why people feel the need to do that.
    If they tell me “God Bless You” I ignore it and say “Excuse me!” like I just farted. I’ve got really bad IBS so chances are that I did.

  6. Sneezing is one of the healthiest things one can do for their lungs. I usually say “lucky you!”
    Or I just punch them in the neck. Depends on my mood for the day.

  7. I say “bless you” or “???? ??????”. It’s a convention that shows that you care. If it’s a brother or friend of mine, however, I say “shut the fuck up and stop interrupting!”

  8. I don’t say things when people sneeze. And I hate it when people say Bless You to me, because it a) makes me feel obligated to thank them (for engaging in what is essentially their own weird superstitious tic), and b) forces me to suppress my second sneeze because I hate to inconvenience them after they’ve already gone out of their way to bless me for the first one. I hate everything.

  9. Depending on where or who I’ll Say
    Nostrovia! or Salud

    BUT one person in particular I totally ignore (a coworker)–
    who sits sortof behind me at his computer station– who at least 4-5x a week lets ripp a HUGE freaking AHHHHHHHrrrFFOOOoo– totally not even tryin to cover it up — or like cough into the crook of the arm.
    Takes all my patience to not call him a muther*ucker whenever it happens– Well we have issues i guess.

    Nostrovia comes from me Dad — Straight from Poland via UK as a D P after ww2.

  10. since “god bless you” came about by superstitious people fearing evil spirits were invading the soul, I always found that particular expression meaningless.
    As mentioned earlier, “gesundheit” means “to your health” i stick to that, and have actually gotten into heated discussions with friends that as an atheist the god blessing part might actually be considered rude to me (or others), yet I do still want to be polite…

    it’s like saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas”. Keep your jesus out of it, I celebrate the solstice (something real). A sneeze could be bigger health issues, not ghosts…

  11. Like Chris said, I say the same thing I say when someone coughs, hiccups, or burps – not a damn thing.

    The tradition is born of outdated superstition, and in modern times is used as an opportunity to proselytise. So when people say “God bless you”, and it’s obvious they do so to convey such a message, I always correct them.

  12. “Gesundheit” or “Bless You.” I think most people don’t take the “bless” part literally. It’s like the expression “knock on wood”. That came, I hear, from pagan times when people believed friendly tree spirits would help them out. Yet nobody says “knock on wood” and means Gee, I hope the tree gods help me out here.

  13. Since I don’t feel that another human’s body functions are occasion to proselytize, I don’t get grumpy when someone says “bless you.” They don’t really think that I need a deity’s blessing, they are just being polite, so I see no need to start being a asshat about it. I don’t believe in god(s), but the thought of being a total ass to someone who obviously cares/notices enough to say something seems childish and it is just plain rude.

    However, I do think that we, as humans, need to choose our words carefully, so as not to pass about the wrong impression, so when someone around me sneezes, I go with “vos souhaits.” I don’t know why, probably because that’s what we say in my family.

  14. “Prosit!”
    Which means “may it do good” or something like that. Had to look it up actually even though it’s the most common form of sneeze-reply here in Sweden.

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