Was it intended to be heard ?I think we have all been there. Picture it, you are at a family Brunch / Tea and everything is hunky dory. Laughter can be heard among the separate conversation bubbles. Even with all the noise, you can pick up individual chatting. As with most family occasions, everyone is having a good time.
Until a family member ( in books it is always the old aunt ), leans close to your ear and comments supposedly softly, yet negatively about what " such and such " is wearing, doing or saying ! If you are fortunate enough, this " Stage Whisper " can only be heard in your immediate surroundings, yet luck mostly favours the whisperer and the comments are heard by most, especially the person concerned.
There were occasions where I have been on the receiving end of those and it's not fun ! As I am writing this, I think and hope that I have not done the " Stage Whisper " myself, yet most likely will do some " loud " whispering as I get older ( hopefully not the hurtful kind ).
It's one of those situations, that you can either pretend that it did not happen ( diving under the table, to pick up an errant napkin is one way to escape the awkwardness ) or you cover it up with hysterical laughter. But regardless, the cat is out the bag, and someone's feelings were intruded upon. One theory of mine is, that the slightly older crowd is a tad bit hard of hearing and thus underestimate their voice...or the other is that, they meant it to be heard all along !
Of course it is sometimes extremely tricky, if you know that a certain family member is prone to these " Stage Whispers ". It becomes a game of cat and mouse. When you see the person leaning towards your ear, or when the hand comes up in front of the mouth ( as if that would make it less obvious ), you instantly try to shift the conversation towards something totally unrelated. Personally I have pointed out birds flying past, or the wonderful look of food on a plate or as a last resort rudely interrupted !
What have you done to avert an oncoming " Stage Whisper " ?
" The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all "
Carl Jung The Portable Jung (Portable Library)