After a coworker sneezed in the office, it became clear that 32-year-old architect Rachel Barlomsky doesn’t actually have a hard-and-fast rule as to whether or not she says “Bless you.”
“Right after a sneeze, I either say ‘Bless you’ or stay quiet,” says Barlomsky. “I just kind of go with my gut.”
Sources confirm that sometimes Rachel acknowledges a sneeze with a “bless you,” but sometimes she opts out.
“I sneezed while we were eating our rice bowls in the kitchen, and Rachel reacted with a loud ‘Bless you,’” says coworker Norr Davidson. “Later in the week I sneezed while we were working at our desks and she didn’t say anything. It really makes no difference to me either way, the inconsistency is just weird.”
Although there is no trackable pattern as to which reaction Barlomsky will choose after any given sneeze, the data has shown that her response will always be one of those two options.
“Last week I think she couldn’t tell if I had coughed or sneezed,” says another co-worker Richard Luxemburf. “In that instance, I understood why she stayed quiet, but otherwise, it’s anybody’s guess.”
When asked about her plans going forward, Barlomsky shrugged.
“I’m not in any hurry to nail down whether I’m a “bless you” person or a silence person,” says Barlomsky. “Right now, I’m just having fun and figuring things out moment to moment.”
Despite Barlomsky’s nonchalance, our data analysis did show that, when faced with a series of several sneezes in a row, Rachel will most likely respond with a “Bless you” after their conclusion.
“Oh yeah, I would never not say something after someone sneezed multiple times,” says Barlomsky. “I’m not a monster.”
At the conclusion of this interview, Barlomsky sneezed herself. When met with silence, she was visibly shocked.
“Oh, wow that felt… I guess I have some things to think about.”