How to Graciously Handle an Embarrassing Burp!

By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor

How to Graciously Handle an Embarrassing Burp!

I know it’s embarrassing as all get-out at the time, but everyone burps — and worse. So don’t let it make you feel too bad! In the United States we look upon it as rude, but, of course, in some cultures, it’s actually considered a compliment to the cook when you burp.

So if it helps you at those moments, pretend you’re living somewhere else! And no, that someplace else can’t be that you wish you were living under a rock — a really large one.

If you feel a burp about to erupt, ball your left hand into a fist, turn your head to your left shoulder, and burp with your mouth closed “into” your fist where your thumb and first (pointing) finger overlap. (If you’re left-handed, reverse what I just wrote!) Keep your lips closed to mute the sound as much as possible. 

Why use your left hand? You want to use your left hand because if you’re right-handed (85% of us are), then you’re burping into your non-dominant hand. It’s the hand you won’t be using to shake hands with, pass something to someone, or the like.

Why use your left shoulder? Left hand and left shoulder, it’s just easier to remember. That’s the full reason. However, let’s say there’s no one on your right side, but someone is on your left side. Then you’re going to want to turn to your right shoulder instead of your left shoulder. Also, if the person on your right is a family member, dear friend, or coworker, and the person on your left is a stranger, client, potential client, new acquaintance, or such, you’re going to want to burp closer to the person who you know best. It’s one of the gifts of being family or just like family. They get you at your best and your worst. 🙂

Should you say anything? Simply, and rather quietly, say “Excuse me” or “Please excuse me” to those around you, but no one in particular.

What if you’re not the burper, but the person standing near the burper? If you’re the person on the receiving end of the burp, don’t make the person feel worse. There’s no need to reply to the burper’s “Excuse me.” Either remain silent, or if you feel you must say something, try “Certainly!” or “I’ve been there!” 

Then everyone should as quickly as possible go on about their business as if it never happened. Remember that forgetting is one-up on forgiving!

Until next time, keep doing what you were born to do….bless the world by being you at your authentic best!

Hugs and blessings,

Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! Maralee is a native and life-long resident of Orlando. Before entering the etiquette arena, she worked in management and ministry. She's proud to be Kent's wife and Marc and Corbet's mom. She hates laundry, and loves quality tea, London, and Savannah, Southern cooking, dressing up and dressing down, and Miss Lilly the Wonder Sheltie. You can find her picture if you scroll to the footer of this page. Isn't she the cutest dog ever?!!! PS: Because everyone always asks her, "What's your etiquette pet peeve?" It's people who talk on their phones in public restrooms. The person on the other end of the phone must wonder, "What's that noise. It sounds like....no, it couldn't be." Plus, everyone else in the bathroom is held hostage to a one-sided conversation usually shouted to try and cover up the noises. It would be comical if it weren't so...so....just plain wrong on many levels. ;)

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