Monday, November 11, 2013

The 7 Levels of Conversational Hell

Some of you may listen to This American Life on NPR, in which case you will have heard last week's show about the 7 most boring conversation topics. One of the producers' mother is french and has staunch ideas on what one should not bring up at a dinner party, including, 1) how you slept, 2) your dreams, 3) your general health, 4) your period, 5) routes (how you arrived at the place you are now), 6) your diet, and 7) money (not boring, but inappropriate), because, as she so delicately puts it, "nobody cares". 

I must say, I am in agreement with most of that.  Apparently these guidelines are somewhat standard in France. They even have a common habit of asking themselves before speaking, "will anyone else find this interesting?" The French have really figured some things out, I tell you. 

The premise of the TAL show was to disprove the producer's mother and find interesting stories on each of the aforementioned topics, but I still found the majority of their best efforts less than riveting, honestly! It got me thinking about frequent conversations in my own life. I think commiserating about one's period with other women for a few moments every once and a while can be somewhat bonding, but I did realize a while back that bringing it up - even with my husband - every month, just isn't that worthwhile. It's more about me wanting sympathy or having an excuse to be crabby than being something actually worth talking about. What is there to say, other than, "bummer..."? 

I love my husband, but he can really drag out a retelling of his dreams.  Being the incredible spouse that I am, I just nod and "mhm" and don't put a timer on it, but I can't help but zone out at regular intervals. I'm sure many of you can relate.

Dreams happen to something that just about everyone is ready to chime in on when it comes up in a group. Another thing I noticed that seems widely relatable is teeth. Trust me, start telling a story about dental work you've had or some anomaly in your mouth, and a floodgate of stories will unleash itself upon you. Yet another observation I heard someone else make was about the topic of yoga - if you like it in any regard, you tend to LOVE it, and go on and on about it, should the opportunity present itself (guilty). 

What topics do you drown out when they come up in conversation?
What are your favorite topics to discuss?


  1. The "how everyone got here" convo drives me NUTS! Who freaking cares?

    Then there's the sports. When people keep going on about their teams, I play a game with myself where I pretend they're talking about hopscotch or Red Rover or something. It amuses me.

    1. Oh yes, I definitely drown out the sports conversations too. I'll have to try the Red Rover trick...

  2. Omg, my brother is the same way, he drags on and on about his dreams! It's so hard when you can't relate at ALL.

    I didn't hear the show on NPR, but the list sounds funny, and quite accurate. Who on EARTH would talk about their period at a party? What an awkward nightmare, lol.

    lovely post, and great food for thought.
    xox, amber


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