Seniors: Creating Worthwhile Conversations

May 4th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Casual dinner conversations are created by the mix of the group, the likelihood of similar interests and tastes, a seating arrangement based on knowledge of who is who,  an atmosphere that is low key and non intimidating.

There are some simple rules of etiquette, which is a very old fashioned term and often not observed at all.  But, volatile conversations are set off by persons who are either insensitive to or ignorant of subjects that would be best kept out of bounds.  A sure fire way to guarantee a failed dinner party is to open all the doors and windows to any discussion on any topic.  Eventually, the pyrotechnics will get out of hand.

Unless this is a group that has been together on numerous previous occasions, know each other extremely well, it isn’t good counsel to open up conversation on subjects such as politics, religion, national economics, and other such topics that are, by definition, controversial.  What does this leave?  To be sure, this eliminates many topical subjects which likely should not be introduced.  But, unless this group has been together so much in the past, it may be like throwing a stick of dynamite in the middle of the room. 

Good behavior is expected when in the home of a friend or someone who has honored you with an invitation to their home.  Subjects of business and personal affairs should be avoided.  Questions regarding family members, how they are doing and where they are now, are, of course, suitable.  Sports activities in which there is common interest, hobbies or favorite past times are perfectly acceptable.  However, long and detailed discussion on Friday night’s game may need to be reined in. Hosting an occasion does not give permission for the host or hostess to control or dominate or choose all or most subjects discussed.

A conversation that flows, allows others to be a part of it, encourages humor, in good taste, certain stories, not told before are quite appropriate.  Discussing others, not present, is not in good taste, unless it is to express concern about their welfare, but not gossipy.

Conversations that exclude persons around the table can be quite embarassing to them and totally out of the rule of being sure everyone is appropriately a part of the evening.  Discussing details of one’s own relatives or children when a minority at the table know them or anything about them is quite out of bounds.

Making light of others or telling tales that does so should be quickly nipped in the bud.  Poor taste of this kind can leave others at the table offended. 

Remembering that conversation is an art, not a hodge podge of “by the ways,” will assist keeping the evening or occasion on track as a perfectly appropriate and memorable experience.



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