It’s a great companion piece to an earlier post of mine, 10 Things NOT to Talk About at a Cocktail Party…especially since we’re inching up on the beginning of the holiday social season (who’s taking advantage of the fact that Halloween falls on a Friday this year by hosting a killer party for grownups on Saturday? If so, check out this article for some great Halloween party ideas.).
Gretchen’s 7 topics to avoid talking about include:
1. A dream. Ever wonder why your husband sighs in resignation every time you start a conversation by saying, “I had a really weird dream last night”? He’s bored.
2. The recent changes in your child’s nap schedule. One of my rules is, “never talk about your kids excessively”, because unless you and another new mom are comparing nap schedules, this subject won’t be very interesting to anyone.
3. The route you took to get here. Yeah, boring.
4. An excellent meal you once had at a restaurant…that the people you’re talking to will probably never get to visit (i.e. it’s in another country).
5. The latest additions to your wine cellar. To quote Chris Farley as the best motivational speaker I’ve ever witnessed…La di freakin’ da.
6. An account of your last golf game. Honestly, if I’m stuck in a conversation with someone about this, I develop a strong desire to chew off the top of my beer bottle.
7. The plot of a movie or play - in particular, the funny parts. You know those guys in high school that had a favorite movie, and never ceased quoting their favorite parts of that movie? It was boring then, too.
Gretchen also makes this excellent point, all of these subjects have one thing in common…the listener has nothing to add. They’re just stuck listening to your experience, and that’s why these topics can be boring.
Now, that doesn’t mean that these topics will be boring to everyone. It’s just that the pool of people who’ll potentially find them interesting is going to be much smaller than, say, if you brought up the new coffee shop up the street. So make sure you keep an eye out for any nonverbal cues that your listeners might be giving you that indicate that they’re tiring of hearing how you got lost on your way to the party by turning left on Broad Street, but then realized that you really should have turned right, so you made a u-turn but then realized that you couldn’t turn back on Broad because…well, you get the picture.
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