Voice 1: Have you ever been in a situation where there's been an elephant in the room? How did you feel? Could you do anything about it? Did anyone do anything or did everyone just carry on normally? The latter, probably.
Voice 2: The expression 'There's an elephant in the room' doesn't mean that there is really a pachyderm in the parlour. It means that there is an an awkward situation that is obvious to everyone, but which no one wants to talk about. Everyone carries on as if that situation wasn't there even though they know that it is.
Voice 1: Belinda, George and Julie tell us about being in a situation when there was an elephant in the room. What was going on?
Belinda: I went out last night with the girls I used to work with. We meet up for dinner regularly once a month. The four of us get on really well. It was great when we worked together, we all started working there the same day five years ago. but during the last couple of years we have all moved on to better jobs with higher salaries. I was the first to leave the old company. Jenny was the last. She moved last year. The boss begged her to stay and offered her the same salary as the new job she was moving to. But Jenny turned down his offer, and left. But she was only in her new job for a short while when the company suddenly closed down. She was devastated. Now she is without a job. Obviously the rest of us didn't want to upset her by going on about how great our jobs were, so all night, we didn't mention work once. Very unusual. There certainly was an elephant in the room the entire evening.
George: It was quite awkward when we went out to dinner with Peter last night. The three of us had promised to go out for a slap-up dinner when we all passed our driving test. Paul passed last month, I passed two weeks ago and Peter had his test booked for yesterday. Peter is certainly the best driver of all, so we were in no doubt that he would pass. So we booked an expensive place for dinner last night. I know we were jumping the gun a bit, but we were all confident Peter would pass with flying colours. What a shock yesterday afternoon when he called to say he had failed. A total shock! But we decided to still go out for dinner as planned. But as you can imagine, there was an elephant in the room all night even though Peter put on a brave face. We didn't enjoy the evening one bit. What a waste of time and money. He was so awkward. Urgh.
Julie: There was an elephant in the room at my mother's all night last night. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. You know she was fine when she came home from hospital, but when she went back yesterday to see the doctor who had operated on her knee and have an X-ray to check everything was okay, they said there was something wrong with the new plastic knee joint and that she would have to come back for another operation. She went white when they told her that. They had really looked after her brilliantly that first stay and the whole family was surprised the whole thing had gone so well. But Mum is terrified of hospitals, and we know she will be dreading going back in so soon after the first op. We didn't mention it at all last night. We avoided talking about knees and hospitals. Or even health and fitness! I hope they take her back in for this second operation soon and we can get the whole thing over and done with.