The art(lessness) of conversation
Dozens of books have been written on conducting the perfect conversation; they’re filled with lists of do’s and don’ts, ways to keep your cool, and methods for breaking the ice. Whether you’re at a dinner party with strangers or a birthday bash with friends and family, there will inevitably be a moment of awkward silence, a lull in the conversation, an instance when you think to yourself, “I wish I had read one of those books.”
But maybe we’re looking at it from the wrong perspective.
Like most things, conversation takes practice, and practice can be uncomfortable; that’s how you know you’re learning, stretching yourself, expanding your skills. What if we looked at conversation as an ongoing practice, rather than an exhibit of perfection? This way, those moments of anxiety, boredom, or uncertainty can be seen as an opportunity for growth. Instead of recalling a rule or trotting out a canned line, we might ask ourselves what we can do to converse more graciously, listen more attentively, and to cultivate the discourse around the table.
Think back to a favorite conversation. Was it controlled or messy? Predictable or surprising? Maybe you don’t need the perfect line, topic, or tone, but a willingness to explore, adventure, and learn.
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