Can you pay me back the money you owe me?, Would you like to go out with me? and Can I have your phone number? have been revealed among the questions Brits feel the most uncomfortable asking.
In a pointer to our renowned national self-reserve, “Can I have a pay rise?”, “Can I get a further discount?” and “Can you offer me a better deal” come top of the list.
Elements of British travel etiquette made the list, as asking someone to move their bag on a busy train or bus emerged as a request we find prickly. Those of us who may be body conscious find it embarrassing to ask a shop assistant for “the next size up”, and our love for ketchup feels like a foodie faux pas when it comes to asking for a jar of Heinz 57 in a posh restaurant.
Rob Temple, author of Very British Problems, said the findings by Carphone Warehouse indicated that the stiff upper-lipped British reserve meant we were depriving ourselves of the best deals when out shopping.
He said: “While there’s little difference between Southerners and Northerners, it’s Londoners who seem to be the most reticent to ask potentially awkward questions. It’s also a relief to see that this reticence, across the whole of the UK, fades away as we get older… just in time for retirement.”
THE LIST IN FULL: LIFE’S MOST CRINGE-WORTHY QUESTIONS
Would you like to go out with me? – 11%
Can you pay me back please? – 10%
Please can you control your child? – 9%
Can I have your phone number? – 7%
Can I have a pay-rise? – 6%
Can I have my money back? – 5%
Can I have a promotion? – 5%
Could you please move your bag so I can sit down? (on a train / bus) – 4%
Will you marry me? – 4%
Could you give me a further discount? – 3%
Do you have that in a bigger size? (in a clothes shop) – 3%
Could I please get a new meal? – 3%
Can you offer me a better discount / deal? – 3%
Would you mind moving your car back so I can get into this parking space? – 2%
Please can you repeat that? (In a business environment) – 2%
Can you explain what this word means please? (In a posh restaurant) – 2%
How much does this item cost? – 2%
Could my parents come on holiday with us this year? 1%
Do you have any ketchup? (in a posh restaurant) – 1%
Can you walk faster please? – 1%