Conversation Topic: Dealing With Foul Language

How should conversation be handled in public? Painting by Norman Rockwell (… found on Pinterest)


Lucy had been planning this day for a month. Sally, her best friend, was turning 21, and they had decided to have a girls day out. First stop: obviously, coffee and doughnuts. Next stop: an all-morning, interactive demonstration and class on a favorite topic.


Lucy and Sally – early twenties, ladylike

Classmates – men and women, primarily in their 40’s and 50’s

Instructor – knowledgable man in his 50’s


The instructor, along with several classmates, is using foul language. 


Despite there being ladies present, the men (and possibly some of the women) continue to swear. There is no gentleman in these ladies’ company to request that the language be checked. The instructor and the majority of the classmates are all old enough to be Lucy’s and Sally’s parents.

So, the question is, how would you deal with this situation?

  1. Request publicly (and politely) that the language be cleaned up?
  2. Privately, politely ask the instructor to address the situation?
  3. Leave the class (discreetly, politely) and the money you paid for it?

What would you see as an appropriate way to handle this?


4 thoughts on “Conversation Topic: Dealing With Foul Language

  1. Rachel says:

    Having been in this position before, we went with #2 and said something privately to the instructor – he/she is the one being paid and is most likely to fix the issue without causing a scene. Our classmates continued, of course, but she was quicker to catch it and correct it. In the next session she made an announcement at the beginning asking everyone to keep the language clean. It fixed probably 90% of the problem.
    Something the instructor mentioned was that we were friendly and outgoing (not just polite), so that may have helped swing the situation in our favor. If that doesn’t fit the lady’s personality, she should probably opt in favor of #3. Option #1 really shouldn’t ever be employed unless there are children present, etc.
    Thanks for posting articles with practical application! I’m new to your blog and have really enjoyed it!

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