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Posts on Jan 1970

Christmas Conversations

It’s Christmas, does your heart sink at the thought of interminable small talk with distant cousins and great aunts? If so, “Let us,” as Mark Twain suggested, “Make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” By conversation I mean an interaction between two or more people, in which thoughts, opinions, ideas and feelings are exchanged, within the informal boundaries of polite give and take.

If you’re struggling to get answer, treat the conversation as a journey, go from place to place, but
not necessarily with any particular destination in mind. Use open ended questions like: what did you get for Christmas? What did you think of the Queen’s Speech? What was pudding like? How did you knit those wonderful socks? Why did you do it that way, are there alternative sock designs… or perhaps colours?

Alternatively if you are battling to get a word in edge ways, try raising your hand. It worked in school after all. But if Great Aunt Jemima refuses to desist and continues to lack the power of conversation, but not the power of speech, console yourself with the words of the great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero that “Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.”

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