This American Life podcast featured this topic some time ago yet I’ve got to say, it is classic advice for all polite society.
The list originating from a French woman whose French mother told it to her, the host’s very proper British mother is steadfast in her belief on these seven unspeakable topics. The podcast does do its best to disprove her on all counts to mixed results.
You’re here for the seven things so let’s get to it.
1. Your dreams. Haven’t we all tried to explain, or even fully remembered a magic carpet ride with our third-grade teacher than landed us on a lavender field sprinkled with chocolate candies in Finland? No one wants to hear about your dream unless it’s playing out on the big screen and Jimmy Fallon is interviewing you about the inspiration for the film you’re promoting.
2. Your health. Talk of your aches and pains, colds and flu, etc. to anyone other than an inquiring blood relative isn’t polite conversation. Or even remotely interesting.
3. Your diet. Unless you’re ordering food do not mention your gluten intolerance, veganism, peanut allergy, etc. It’s not worthy of discussion. People care what they are eating, not what you’re eating.
4. Your monthly cycle. It happens to every woman for decades of her life. No one wants to hear about your cramps, your flow, your mood and your period paraphernalia. It is okay to discreetly ask another woman for period paraphernalia though.
5. Your sleep. It’s a waste of your precious breath to detail how poorly you slept the night before, the weeks before or during your entire pregnancy. It’s not the foundation for a civil conversation.
Are they talking about dreams and periods?
6. Money. I am guilty of price dropping to give a frame of reference for a restaurant, neighborhood/home price average, country cost of living and purebred cats.
And the worst offender:
7. Your route. The specific road, path, highway, and turns, including the degree of traffic taken to arrive at your destination. In this instance, it is indeed about the destination and not the journey.
A good rule of thumb from me: If “this too shall pass” will fit what you’re about to go on about, don’t voice it. I had a personal chef business for many years, mainly doing dinner parties. I could make another list of dinner conversation topics overheard in these dining rooms but it's not my place to reveal what happened at these parties.