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Jason Lenthe

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Tue, Feb 24, 2015 - 06:42 PM

What does a humanist say when someone sneezes?

In an English speaking country, what do you, as a humanist, say when someone sneezes and why?



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Patty T.

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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 01:24 AM
I say gesundheit. Fortunately, I live in an area with a lot of Germanic last names. It is very common here, even amongst some religious people. I once lived in a more diverse area briefly, and some people looked at me like I was from Mars - what is this word? (They also had never heard of snickerdoodles.)

On the receiving end ... that's a different story. I have some allergies that are triggered by many smells. I sneeze often. I can't begin to tell you how damn blessed I am! A few times, I have had conversations with coworkers who, sometimes on a daily basis, blessed me over & over. Sometimes I have told the person that I sneeze often and have been "blessed" so many times that I will not take offense if she doesn't stop working to say it. Other times, I have pointed out that we all know my soul is not escaping when I sneeze, so I don't need to be blessed - and since I sneeze often, it is annoying for both of us when he feels compelled to say something at all. (Success rate - pretty fair.)

I forgot the rest of your question... why?

I say it because it is socially expected where I live to say something. When I lived in that diverse area, not nearly as many people said anything at all. So I stopped saying anything. (Yay!) I would only say it if others were already saying, "Bless you." Then I would chime in with my, "Gesundheit."


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Lauren Schiebel

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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 12:12 AM
I say "zay gezunt", which is Yiddish for "be healthy" / "get well".


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Bo Bennett, PhD
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Print Tue, Feb 24, 2015 - 06:44 PM
"Bleshu" :)
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MARK WHEELER

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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 12:38 AM
I usually say "GOOD ONE"


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Stephen Sywak

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Print Thu, Mar 05, 2015 - 01:56 PM
I typically say one of three things:

1) God Bless You (out of courtesy)

2) Gesundheit ("I wish you good health")

3) Can a get you a tissue? You have something hanging there....


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Andrea Rauch

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Print Sun, Mar 22, 2015 - 02:44 AM
I live in the Southwest, where conversations are often sprinkled with Spanish, and many people who know me know that I study the language. So, I like to say "Salud!", which means "health" & is the usual response among Spanish speakers. Similar to "Gazuntheit" (sp). Makes a lot more sense than a blessing. Or I might offer a tissue instead, if I have one. On to more pressing matters...


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Bill Ellis

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Print Tue, Feb 24, 2015 - 08:01 PM
Gesundheit!


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Raul Rubio

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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 12:01 AM
I usually say...

"Salad dressing."


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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 10:28 AM
"Bless you" is short for "May God bless you" and I'm an atheist, so I say "Gesundheit".


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Jennifer Froderman

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Print Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 09:30 PM
I don't say anything, or I might politely comment on it ("Coming down with something?","Spring allergies have me sneezing, too!") like one would with a yawn or hiccup. I mean, it's just a common bodily function, not a potential soul escaping/ Black Plague symptom, either of which are the origins of saying "god bless you" after a sneeze.


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Print Thu, Feb 26, 2015 - 12:42 AM
I often say "bless you" without even thinking about it. It's used so commonly that it's a figure of speech. Saying nothing is rude, and saying something weird like "hope you don't get get any of that on me" just takes too much forethought. Relax about this kind of stuff - there are bigger things to worry about.


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Kate Vaughn

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Print Thu, Mar 05, 2015 - 02:49 PM
I say "Bless you". Just because it's traditional and polite and I'm Southern. I also use "blessed' and "lucky" rather interchangeably, so the word itself is not problematic. I also have a little bit of a pantheistic streak just for fun, so that works too...


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Jenea Hayes

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Print Mon, Mar 09, 2015 - 07:45 PM
"Gesundheit."

Although I love what someone on Twitter said about that: "I don't say anything because I don't believe in snot pixies."

I wish I had the courage to do what they recommended on the Seinfeld show and say "you are so good looking!"

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQyCkwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUeILe2dXaBE&ei=HzD-VPuROoasogStuoCQBg&usg=AFQjCNHOLjgxHt007FQ6bLv9_XC5w-fxEA&sig2=zPWFS0WpT_grvBV35fKfWQ&bvm=bv.87920726,d.cGU


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Sandi Morris

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Print Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - 08:35 AM
Nothing. There is nothing mystical about a sneeze and responding to one is like not walking under a ladder or being afraid of Friday the 13th. We don't have little ritual responses to coughs, yawns, belches or flatulence, except maybe, if appropriate, to express displeasure at them, or giggle.

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Ben Rippingale

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Print Wed, Mar 18, 2015 - 12:14 AM
Wipe that off!


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R Lee

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Print Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - 12:15 AM
I say nothing- if anything, the person sneezing should apologize for possibly infecting those nearby- I say excuse me or sorry when I sneeze and nothing when someone else sneezes.


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Charles Martin

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Print Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - 12:33 AM
Good question, having been raised to say something, the silence can be awkward. So I try to say nothing, Gesundheit come to mind though as what I want to say. My fall back if I feel compelled to say something is "There you go!" of "good for you" just to clear the air.


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Print Tue, Mar 31, 2015 - 11:21 AM
"ala ill ebusuku ingane"
which is Zulu for "forbid ill, child of night"


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Cindy Eby

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Print Thu, Apr 16, 2015 - 01:30 PM
It is not necessary to acknowledge another person's bodily functions, whether it be a burp, sneeze, cough, fart or any other involuntary noise. To do so is really to embarrass the person. If they choose to follow their burp or sneeze with an "excuse me," a nod and smile is all that is needed to acknowledge their politeness.


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Bob Gruber

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Print Thu, Apr 16, 2015 - 03:59 PM
Nothing -- I've always thought it was backwards... I feel like the sneezer should say "excuse me," or something similar, for literally spraying wet stuff out of their faces. Maybe we should start saying something like, "are you ok?" :)


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Craig Good
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 08:12:49 PM
@Andrea Rauch: I like the variant I learned in Mexico: "Salud, dinero, y amor" (Health, money, and love) Nice things to wish someone on any occasion, I suppose.

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