Via kottke.org, a post on topics to avoid if you don't want to bore your conversation partner.
I'm guilty of my own versions of many of these.
*Dreams... I try to avoid this one because I've had friends tell me their dream stories and they always end in the same reponse: "Wow... dreams are so weird!" I think there is a time and a place for telling people about your dreams, but it is all about context and brevity. And usually leaving out the details. Like, you can say an old friend popped up in a dream and that can lead to an interesting conversation about that old friend. But it isn't necessary to describe in vivid details what everyone was wearing, how people morphed into other people, and how all these other random things were happening at the same time. Randomness is the nature of dreams, afterall. There's also the universal question, "Do you ever dream about falling/teeth-falling-out/that-you-can-fly/getting-chased?" Everyone can answer this quickly, and then move on.
*I don't have kids, but even when I spend a morning with Ollie, I find myself recapping his walk/sleep/poop cycle to my Mom on the phone. Of course, I'm convinced he's the coolest/cutest dog I've ever met - and everyone must find stories about him fascinating, even if they haven't met him.
*I'm totally guilty about talking about routes. Driving, walking, flying, biking. I ask people about their routes all the time. I must say, I find them interesting. There are so many different ways, for example, to get to Queen Anne. I'd almost rather someone just tell me the way they get onto the hill before attempting to give them directions to my house. This morning, with streets closed all throughout South Lake Union because of the marathon - we all talked about our routes. And, I have to admit - it was fun to hear about everyone's unique driving experience! I went up by REI and they let me through up by the playfield. Someone else had to get back on the freeway. Was Westlake really closed? Etc.
*Meal. Again, guilty! But I try to keep it to describing just one good dish - not every course in vivid detail. And, isn't it funny how often people recap their turkey-day dinners? I have had that conversation several times in the last few days! For the record, we had cheese and crackers, yummy mashed potatoes that JNK mashed with cream cheese, green bean caserole, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and topped it off with pumpkin pie and peach cobbler. Because you care, right?
*I don't have a wine cellar, but I often will talk about things I've bought at Whole Foods. Like a cheese or beverage that I'm excited about. I'm especially guilty of talking about new foods I've discovered at Trader Joe's. And giving a cost comparison analysis.
*I don't really play golf, but I often recap my latest league night - bowling, putt putt or kickball. Some people ask because they know I participate in Underdog leagues and they're really just letting me know they're paying attention to my life. They might not actually care that I caught a fly at short stop and then threw it to 2nd and got a double play. Or that I bowled a 120 in 9-pin no tap, but didn't actually get any no taps. What? You don't care?
*Movie/Play/etc. I think this is one area I'm not too guilty of. Mostly because I don't like spoilers, so I try not to spoil shows for other people. I also try to limit my TV references. It's one thing to ask if someone remembers the Friends episode when Ross yells, "PIVOT!" - and you laugh as you try to move a piece of furniture or something. It's entirely a different thing to recap an entire show, while trying to make it parallel to something else. I know I've done it - and it is one of those conversations that goes no where... quickly. It's different if you're talking about a show you both saw - like, "What did you think about this last episode of LOST?" - but even that question should be kept to a minimum. Are our conversations really just about rehashing what we saw on the tube the night before? Is that what we've come to?
And now, I ask the inevitable question. Was this a boring post? :-)
(For the record, please feel free to talk to me about any and all of these topics at any time!)
Beyond posturing, placebos or belief - Statistics, well done, are astounding. They tell us, clearly and completely, what is actually happening. Ignaz Semmelweis saved a million lives (eventually...
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