21st Jan, 2018

Awkward questions - what's the worst?

Shaun Reynolds 15th Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

WHAT’S THE most awkward question you’ve been asked?

Would you like to go out with me, can you pay me back the money you owe me and what’s your phone number have ranked amongst the top list of most awkward questions people from the West Midlands are likely to face.

A survey of more than 1,500 people revealed the top 16 questions the nation is embarrassed to ask.

Almost half of those surveyed agreed that asking for things is “not the British way” while over half of people claimed they don’t ask questions to avoid upsetting someone.

A further 46 per cent of people said they would be too embarrassed with 29 per cent confessing they would only must up the courage to ask such ‘awkward’ questions if they had a drink beforehand.

The study also found that people in the West Midlands refrain from asking an awkward question an average of three times each day.

Jeremy Fennell, managing director at Carphone Warehouse – who conducted the survey – said: “Asking for what we really want in life is fast becoming something that’s seen as ‘rude’ or ‘Un-British’, which it really shouldn’t be.

“We’re challenging the Nation to embark on a mission to ‘just ask’ – at the end of the day what’s the worst that’s going to happen?”

Rob Temple, author of Very British Problems, said: “We all suffer from ‘Very British Problems’ to some degree, and according to this study our Britishness seems to be doing us harm by making us out of pocket.

“It also shows that half of us will only ask an awkward question when we don’t have a choice, which suggests the other half would simply lock themselves in the wardrobe for the rest of their lives rather than be a bother.”


1. Please can you control your child? – 12%

2. Would you like to go out with me? – 9%

3. Can I have your phone number? – 9%

4. Could you give me a further discount? – 7%

5. Can you pay me back please? – 8%

6. Can I have a pay-rise? – 6%

7. Could I please get a new meal? – 6%

8. Can I have a promotion? – 5%

9. Can I have my money back? – 4%

10. Can I sit down? (In train / bus station) – 3%

11. Could you please move your bag so I can sit down? (on a train / bus) – 3%

12. Do you have that in a bigger size? (in a clothes shop) – 2%

13. Will you marry me? – 2%

14. Can you explain what this word means please? (In a posh restaurant) – 2%

15. Can you walk faster please? – 1%

16. Please could you repeat that? (in a business meeting) – 1%

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