I work as a software test engineer. Even when I do not sneeze, all my co-workers are saying “God bless you!” to me whenever I explain an issue to them and they all laugh, smile.

What is it that I am missing? How should I treat them? I noticed they tend to say it more when I am talking about an issue, or statistics of an issue like when I explain what issue is most important or who is resolving what issue etc…

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    The locale that phrase is said in can have a large impact on the meaning of that phrase. I would encourage you to scope your question to a particular locale.
    – user1209
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:28
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_bless_you has already been read, yes?
    – JB King
    Feb 27, 2015 at 22:15
  • It's a term of endearment, just roll with it and if you feel like it you could reply with "yes, you too".
    – JMK
    Feb 28, 2015 at 0:24
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    Did you try just asking them next time they say it. For example suppose someone said snarklefast to me and I didn't know what they meant by that. A possible response would be "Snarklefast? What do you mean by that?"
    – Brandin
    Feb 28, 2015 at 9:13
  • Late to the game, but there's a pretty good chance that your pronunciation of "issue" sounds like "atishoo" which is a British English onomatopoeia that represents the sound of sneezing.
    – Dancrumb
    Mar 9, 2017 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


If you think they seem to say it in gratitude, they are probably just appreciative of your explanation.

If it seems to be a joke of some kind, I would ask about it.

Hey, I notice people say that (bless you) a lot; there seems to be a joke I am missing?

You'll receive one of three answers:

No, no! I mean thank you, very much!

(Hopefully you can tell if that is genuine..)

Shocked or uncomfortable look on face *, "Err, no, there's no joke"

(Either a lie and the joke is about you or they feel too intimidated to explain for some reason)

Yeah!, you see... * joke explained *


Be appreciative and say thank you. Wherever you are working they are most likely giving you a compliment. If a lot of them are saying it take it as a sign that you are doing a good job!

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    Are you sure that it's a compliment? In some places, similar phrasing can be used dismissively. It could also be his coworkers poking fun. A few possibilities have been identified in the comments on the question. Without knowing more about the locale, how can you be so sure of this? Feb 27, 2015 at 20:48
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    @ThomasOwens - of course you can never be sure of these things, but I would give them the benefit of the doubt. Being paranoid about the real intentions of every co-worker's remarks towards you is not going to be good for your sanity. If they really are being snarky towards you, it will show up in other ways. Even if that is so, continuing to remain polite and appreciative may be a good way to throw them off guard.
    – user32931
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:57

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