Here is part 2 of your guide to eating dinner with other adults. For the first part, please click these words.
Obstacle 2: Conversation
The truly passable among us probably practise their conversations before they have them. This avoids awkward silences and strange, under pressure outbursts of madness. A few topics of conversation off the table in any given situation; UTIs, where you can buy acid strong enough to dissolve bones, loving UKIP, pubic hair topiary, racism (unless to condemn it) and Nicholas Cage films.
Here are a few things you can talk about,
- A friend of equal passable-ness to you: Every single part of your life that is falling apart. Depending on how close you are, they may already be aware of most of it, so stick to the newest stuff that is falling apart. Balance this by listening to their disasters too.
- A successful friend: Limit your failures, and try to focus on speaking about what you are looking to achieve rather than what you have tried and failed at. You should also ask a lot of questions to gain insight into how they might possibly have managed to be successful.
- A date: This one is fairly easy, if it’s a newish date you can just stick to the basics, if it’s more than that you should be able to tell them anything. However for early days dates there will be various additional ‘no-go’ conversation topics like exes, your bowel movements, marriage, and babies.
- An employer: If you are not there to talk about work then conversation should be kept generic. Talk about the news, keep your opinion as uncontroversial as possible. Try not to get fired.
- An older family member: Conversation will be mainly centred around the latest family scandal. Scandals include shock pregnancy, divorce, and that awful throw that Auntie Sandra crocheted for Uncle Bernard.
- A more successful sibling: Having a conversation with a more successful sibling is a both easier and harder than one with your more successful friend. On one hand you can be brutally honest about how shit everything is, but on the other hand they will be brutally honest with you too and are likely to express how shit they think you are.
- A less successful sibling: Don’t discuss your life, discuss other people’s, also chances are you have gone to Nandos because I told you to, so you can mess around and be stupid all through dinner and nobody will frown at you for poor table manners.
- A friend you have never hung out with alone but they were the only person free when you addressed your group of friends wishing to hang out: You may suddenly find that the only thing you have in common is your group of friends. Depending on how long you have been in the same friendship group, this may come as a surprise to you and you may be forced to speak (bitch) about them for the entire meal. Remain aware of secret allies and don’t bitch about the wrong person.