Emily Post’s Rules of Conversation (Part Two)

In Emily Post’s Rules of Conversation (Part One) we covered acceptable topics of conversation, which include the weather, flowers and NOT SMOKING POT. Now that we have conquered those rules, let’s move on to Part Two: How to Have a Conversation.

1. Remember, a Conversation is like a Game of Catch!

You say something. Your conversating partner says something. You say something. Your conversating partner says something. Keep the ball in the air until one of you no longer wants to play.

2. Remember, in a Game of Catch, you are Partners, not Adversaries!

We all know that woman who is constantly trying to out-do other women when they talk.

Me: Cousin It is so cute when she says Ma Ma Ma.

Out-do-er: That’s so sweet. My baby could say mama in four languages at nine months old! It’s really amazing how they’re just intellectual sponges, isn’t it?

Me: Sponges harbor tons of bacteria.

Out-do-er: Pardon?

Me: They’re also dark, wet and disgusting. 

3. Remember, take turns!

The other form of trying to out-do is to take another woman’s story about something, and turn it into your story.

Me: Well, I love my weight-loss surgery, but I was hospitalized a few years ago for severe dehydration and–

Out-of-turn-er: Oh! I know just what you mean! When I got a paper cut while opening up the mail I had to be hospitalized for WEEKS! The paper cut eventually got staph and MRSA infection and it was just awful! My doctor said he’d never seen such a terrible case — I nearly had to have my finger amputated!

4. Remember, if you need to extricate yourself from a “conversation,” think **CRICKETS**

Thankfully, I think most people employ this tactic when one person is derailing the conversation into a one way wreck. Just smile and nod.

Don’t worry about being rude. The monopolizer is actually the rude one, and the only polite thing to do is not to encourage her by furthering the conversation.

5. Remember, Laugh Later

Catch is a complicated game. They even have books written about it. Just remember, don’t be rude — you can always roll your eyes later. And perhaps even re-enact the situation!


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