At some time or another we all put our "foot in it". How many times do we wish we had kept our mouths shut?. Once said, words can be hard, if not impossible, to retract or clarify.
We could unwittingly, or not, cause offence by saying something which is taken out of context. Then again we could simply be overheard casting aspersions on a person or making an inappropriate comment. Private conversations should be just that but those in positions of power need to be extra careful.
It is somehow reassuring that even those in high places fall into the trap of a gaffe at times, and today it was the turn of Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Obama.
The pair were unknowingly overheard at the recent G20 summit in Cannes.
It appears that the two men's microphones were inadvertently left switched on. Mr Sarkozy was heard commentating about Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, saying: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar.". Whoops. President Obama replied, "You're fed up with him but I have to deal with him every day!" A bigger whoops here I think.
Whilst the incident has caused amusement it will of course have caused offence to some also. The conversation leading up to the gaffe was with regard to France's decision to vote in favour of the Palestinians becoming members of UNESCO. This was a move which Washington opposed.
It was decided at Cannes that the inappropriate comments would not be revealed but the beans were spilled today. The story was leaked and appeared on a French website. It has since been aired in many countries, especially Israel. As yet the Israeli leader has refused to comment.
Other notable gaffes:
In the past UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught on microphone speaking about a constituent and it caused his already poor ratings to plummet further still.
Prince Charles was caught saying how he hated journalist Nicholas Witchell. He was heard on camera saying "These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is."
Who in the UK can forget the silly conversation between George Bush and Tony Blair. It made you want to grimace with embarrassment.
These gaffes though are essentially funny and perhaps a "bloomer or out-take" type of show could be created out of the best ones.