Catch Word #116 – To walk on eggshells

Sometimes we have to be sensitive to how other people are feeling. We might even act a certain way because we don’t want to upset them. In this episode, we talk about expressions used for this kind of situation. You might need to walk on pins and needles to keep others happy around you. Too bad everyone isn’t happy all the time!


Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Why not
  • To walk on eggshells
  • To snap
  • To be grounded
  • You know what I mean?
  • To walk on pins and needles
  • To bug someone
  • To clean up after yourself
  • To hold a grudge
  • A detention
  • To tread lightly
  • At the drop of a hat
  • IT
  • Anything and everything

Sample transcript

Maura: Right. And today, the expressions we’re going to look at are about being sensitive or careful not to disturb others that are around you. So these expressions are used to talk about acting very carefully or cautiously so that you don’t upset other people around you.

Harp: Yeah. So use these expressions when you’re being careful or you’re being sensitive to other people to not disturb them or to upset them.

Maura: Right. Now, let’s look at our first expression.

Harp: OK. Our first expression is to walk on eggshells.

Maura: Right. To walk on eggshells.

Harp: Yes. Let me say it one more time: to walk on eggshells. So an eggshell is the outside part of an egg. You crack the eggshell to get the egg out.

Maura: And if you think about walking on eggshells, you might have the image in your head that eggs are very fragile and so you don’t want to crack them, you don’t want to step on them.

Harp: Yeah. So to walk on eggshells is when you try to be sensitive or diplomatic so that you don’t disturb someone, so you don’t offend someone.

Maura: Right. And so, maybe there’s someone in your life who is having a very bad day. This is the time when you might walk on eggshells, because you wanna be sensitive to how they’re feeling and you don’t wanna disturb them.

Harp: Exactly.

Maura: It could be just that specific time or maybe there’s someone in your life who is always sensitive and always gets disturbed easily. So in that case, you might always walk on eggshells around them because you know that they get upset very easily.

Harp: Yes, exactly. If it’s someone who gets angry or upset really easily, you might walk on eggshells around them all the time.

Maura: When you’re walking on eggshells, you’re probably just making sure that you don’t say something that you know will upset them. Or if they’re the kind of person who just doesn’t like talking to people, you might walk on eggshells by not talking to them because you know that that will disturb them.

Podcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast