We Need to Talk – The Art of Conversation

Abbie 3I read last week that the art of conversation is dead. This is the era of the text and the tweet where we give and receive information in small doses. We communicate more but we talk less. Digital communication also lets you plan what you want to say whereas in real time we don’t know where a conversation is going to lead, and that makes us nervous.

Such claims are nothing new. Technology has often been blamed for having a detrimental effect on face-to-face communication. In 1889 a newspaper article suggested that telephones should not be allowed in private houses for fear of the damage they could do to “real” conversations. Way back in the 4th century BC Socrates was complaining that writing ideas down was not as good as talking about them one to one because the way to learn was through debate.

A conversation is usually defined as two or more people talking together. That said, it doesn’t include something as simple as just saying hello, or someone giving another person orders or directions. We have conversations for lots of reasons. Often it is simply to exchange information, to update family or friends on what has been going on in our lives or to chat about other people. One particular element of conversation is discussion: sharing opinions on subjects that crop up during a conversation. This can often be the most stimulating type of conversation to have, sharing ideas and opinions, and it is this ability that some psychologists are claiming we have lost.

Back in the 18th century, conversation was a status symbol. Mrs Thrale, a friend of Samuel Johnson, mocked a Cit who complained: Hester_thrale_by_joshua_reynolds_1781_small “I am invited to conversations, I go to conversations, but alas! I have no conversation.” In Persuasion, Anne Elliott expresses what was probably Jane Austen’s own view: My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.” Evidently Anne Elliott was not interested in small talk. She wanted a stimulating discussion.

Naturally a lot of eminent people have an opinion on conversation. Samuel Johnson found people who were interested in learning more than talking to be the best conversationalists because they listened, remembered and asked intelligent questions. Agatha Chritie’s Hercule Poirot saw it as a means of investigation: “There is nothing so dangerous for anyone who has something to hide as conversation! A human being, Hastings, cannot resist the opportunity to reveal himself and express his personality which conversation gives him. Every time he will give himself away”. And the 18th century the writer Leigh Hunt had a top tip: If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society but perhaps we all have our favourite topics for helping to ease a sticky conversation.

Love_poem_400x400When it comes to love, conversation is vitally important. Many courtesans throughout history were renowned for their conversational prowess as much as their erotic skills. An invitation to their salons was highly prized. Conversation, it was felt, was part of their seduction technique. The same could be said to apply to the rest of us. How many of us have been attracted to someone as much – or more – by their conversation as their good looks or other attributes? We see this a lot in literature and films. There’s the Prince in Ever After, for a start, who is fascinated by the way Danielle challenges him on points of philosophy and shows her his library on one of their dates. There’s Tom Lefroy seducing Jane Austen with books in Becoming Jane. We all have our favourite scenes in romantic novels where the dialogue zings between hero and heroine.

So what is your idea of good conversation? Is it an intense discussion with the people who really matter to you or is a relaxed chat with friends over a cup of coffee? Both? And do you have a favourite passage in a romantic book or film where the conversation captures the essence of the characters’ attraction?

145 thoughts on “We Need to Talk – The Art of Conversation”

  1. I love this post, Nicola! A good conversation can be hard to find; my parents thought it an important thing to know how to do, and I try to instill the same in my children. Writers are the best company for an in depth conversation about anything and everything, I find! Hester Thrale’s journals and biography are part of my research pile for the WIP, and I find her fascinating.

    Reply
  2. I love this post, Nicola! A good conversation can be hard to find; my parents thought it an important thing to know how to do, and I try to instill the same in my children. Writers are the best company for an in depth conversation about anything and everything, I find! Hester Thrale’s journals and biography are part of my research pile for the WIP, and I find her fascinating.

    Reply
  3. I love this post, Nicola! A good conversation can be hard to find; my parents thought it an important thing to know how to do, and I try to instill the same in my children. Writers are the best company for an in depth conversation about anything and everything, I find! Hester Thrale’s journals and biography are part of my research pile for the WIP, and I find her fascinating.

    Reply
  4. I love this post, Nicola! A good conversation can be hard to find; my parents thought it an important thing to know how to do, and I try to instill the same in my children. Writers are the best company for an in depth conversation about anything and everything, I find! Hester Thrale’s journals and biography are part of my research pile for the WIP, and I find her fascinating.

    Reply
  5. I love this post, Nicola! A good conversation can be hard to find; my parents thought it an important thing to know how to do, and I try to instill the same in my children. Writers are the best company for an in depth conversation about anything and everything, I find! Hester Thrale’s journals and biography are part of my research pile for the WIP, and I find her fascinating.

    Reply
  6. Very nice post, Nicola, and very true. But terribly difficult, with all those rules of manners and precedence, knowing what you could say to whom. Didn’t Johnson crush one of Boswell’s early attempts to ingratiate himself by saying something like, ‘I have known David Garrick any time these thirty and do not know what grounds you have to speak to me upon the subject’? I’d have slunk away and never come back. Thank God, Boswell bounced.
    I love the Prince in Ever After, by the way (and his parents! and the second ugly sister and her beau; great movie).
    Shall try Leigh Hunt’s conversation tip, though I fear these days it’s more likely to turn to NOT eating.

    Reply
  7. Very nice post, Nicola, and very true. But terribly difficult, with all those rules of manners and precedence, knowing what you could say to whom. Didn’t Johnson crush one of Boswell’s early attempts to ingratiate himself by saying something like, ‘I have known David Garrick any time these thirty and do not know what grounds you have to speak to me upon the subject’? I’d have slunk away and never come back. Thank God, Boswell bounced.
    I love the Prince in Ever After, by the way (and his parents! and the second ugly sister and her beau; great movie).
    Shall try Leigh Hunt’s conversation tip, though I fear these days it’s more likely to turn to NOT eating.

    Reply
  8. Very nice post, Nicola, and very true. But terribly difficult, with all those rules of manners and precedence, knowing what you could say to whom. Didn’t Johnson crush one of Boswell’s early attempts to ingratiate himself by saying something like, ‘I have known David Garrick any time these thirty and do not know what grounds you have to speak to me upon the subject’? I’d have slunk away and never come back. Thank God, Boswell bounced.
    I love the Prince in Ever After, by the way (and his parents! and the second ugly sister and her beau; great movie).
    Shall try Leigh Hunt’s conversation tip, though I fear these days it’s more likely to turn to NOT eating.

    Reply
  9. Very nice post, Nicola, and very true. But terribly difficult, with all those rules of manners and precedence, knowing what you could say to whom. Didn’t Johnson crush one of Boswell’s early attempts to ingratiate himself by saying something like, ‘I have known David Garrick any time these thirty and do not know what grounds you have to speak to me upon the subject’? I’d have slunk away and never come back. Thank God, Boswell bounced.
    I love the Prince in Ever After, by the way (and his parents! and the second ugly sister and her beau; great movie).
    Shall try Leigh Hunt’s conversation tip, though I fear these days it’s more likely to turn to NOT eating.

    Reply
  10. Very nice post, Nicola, and very true. But terribly difficult, with all those rules of manners and precedence, knowing what you could say to whom. Didn’t Johnson crush one of Boswell’s early attempts to ingratiate himself by saying something like, ‘I have known David Garrick any time these thirty and do not know what grounds you have to speak to me upon the subject’? I’d have slunk away and never come back. Thank God, Boswell bounced.
    I love the Prince in Ever After, by the way (and his parents! and the second ugly sister and her beau; great movie).
    Shall try Leigh Hunt’s conversation tip, though I fear these days it’s more likely to turn to NOT eating.

    Reply
  11. Really thought-provoking post, Nicola. You raise the question of listening which is SO important. Communication isn’t A talking at B, it’s A talking at B and B hearing the same message that A intended to send. Doesn’t always happen of course. So often these days, people are on Send only and don’t seem to do Receive mode. So conversation suffers and so, sadly, does communication more generally.
    On a lighter note, as a romance writer, one of the bits of the job that I love is when I have a chance to write that “wallow” at the end of a story. That’s where hero/heroine finally know they love each other and can trust each other enough to be open, to tell truths, to tease, to laugh, basically to engage with each other in the wonderfully intimate way that lovers have. Conversation with a difference you might say (as they often have no clothes on at the time!) And great fun to write.

    Reply
  12. Really thought-provoking post, Nicola. You raise the question of listening which is SO important. Communication isn’t A talking at B, it’s A talking at B and B hearing the same message that A intended to send. Doesn’t always happen of course. So often these days, people are on Send only and don’t seem to do Receive mode. So conversation suffers and so, sadly, does communication more generally.
    On a lighter note, as a romance writer, one of the bits of the job that I love is when I have a chance to write that “wallow” at the end of a story. That’s where hero/heroine finally know they love each other and can trust each other enough to be open, to tell truths, to tease, to laugh, basically to engage with each other in the wonderfully intimate way that lovers have. Conversation with a difference you might say (as they often have no clothes on at the time!) And great fun to write.

    Reply
  13. Really thought-provoking post, Nicola. You raise the question of listening which is SO important. Communication isn’t A talking at B, it’s A talking at B and B hearing the same message that A intended to send. Doesn’t always happen of course. So often these days, people are on Send only and don’t seem to do Receive mode. So conversation suffers and so, sadly, does communication more generally.
    On a lighter note, as a romance writer, one of the bits of the job that I love is when I have a chance to write that “wallow” at the end of a story. That’s where hero/heroine finally know they love each other and can trust each other enough to be open, to tell truths, to tease, to laugh, basically to engage with each other in the wonderfully intimate way that lovers have. Conversation with a difference you might say (as they often have no clothes on at the time!) And great fun to write.

    Reply
  14. Really thought-provoking post, Nicola. You raise the question of listening which is SO important. Communication isn’t A talking at B, it’s A talking at B and B hearing the same message that A intended to send. Doesn’t always happen of course. So often these days, people are on Send only and don’t seem to do Receive mode. So conversation suffers and so, sadly, does communication more generally.
    On a lighter note, as a romance writer, one of the bits of the job that I love is when I have a chance to write that “wallow” at the end of a story. That’s where hero/heroine finally know they love each other and can trust each other enough to be open, to tell truths, to tease, to laugh, basically to engage with each other in the wonderfully intimate way that lovers have. Conversation with a difference you might say (as they often have no clothes on at the time!) And great fun to write.

    Reply
  15. Really thought-provoking post, Nicola. You raise the question of listening which is SO important. Communication isn’t A talking at B, it’s A talking at B and B hearing the same message that A intended to send. Doesn’t always happen of course. So often these days, people are on Send only and don’t seem to do Receive mode. So conversation suffers and so, sadly, does communication more generally.
    On a lighter note, as a romance writer, one of the bits of the job that I love is when I have a chance to write that “wallow” at the end of a story. That’s where hero/heroine finally know they love each other and can trust each other enough to be open, to tell truths, to tease, to laugh, basically to engage with each other in the wonderfully intimate way that lovers have. Conversation with a difference you might say (as they often have no clothes on at the time!) And great fun to write.

    Reply
  16. I agree, Sophie. I think eating might be a very tricky conversational subject these days. Difficult topics do come and go.
    Poor Boswell! I think I would have been very reluctant to converse with Dr Johnson at all.

    Reply
  17. I agree, Sophie. I think eating might be a very tricky conversational subject these days. Difficult topics do come and go.
    Poor Boswell! I think I would have been very reluctant to converse with Dr Johnson at all.

    Reply
  18. I agree, Sophie. I think eating might be a very tricky conversational subject these days. Difficult topics do come and go.
    Poor Boswell! I think I would have been very reluctant to converse with Dr Johnson at all.

    Reply
  19. I agree, Sophie. I think eating might be a very tricky conversational subject these days. Difficult topics do come and go.
    Poor Boswell! I think I would have been very reluctant to converse with Dr Johnson at all.

    Reply
  20. I agree, Sophie. I think eating might be a very tricky conversational subject these days. Difficult topics do come and go.
    Poor Boswell! I think I would have been very reluctant to converse with Dr Johnson at all.

    Reply
  21. Spot on, Joanna. Listening is a really important skill and those people who hog the conversation or don’t wait for someone to finish before they jump in aren’t adding much IMO!
    Yes, THOSE conversations are a lot of fun – for author and reader (and h/h!)

    Reply
  22. Spot on, Joanna. Listening is a really important skill and those people who hog the conversation or don’t wait for someone to finish before they jump in aren’t adding much IMO!
    Yes, THOSE conversations are a lot of fun – for author and reader (and h/h!)

    Reply
  23. Spot on, Joanna. Listening is a really important skill and those people who hog the conversation or don’t wait for someone to finish before they jump in aren’t adding much IMO!
    Yes, THOSE conversations are a lot of fun – for author and reader (and h/h!)

    Reply
  24. Spot on, Joanna. Listening is a really important skill and those people who hog the conversation or don’t wait for someone to finish before they jump in aren’t adding much IMO!
    Yes, THOSE conversations are a lot of fun – for author and reader (and h/h!)

    Reply
  25. Spot on, Joanna. Listening is a really important skill and those people who hog the conversation or don’t wait for someone to finish before they jump in aren’t adding much IMO!
    Yes, THOSE conversations are a lot of fun – for author and reader (and h/h!)

    Reply
  26. Conversation is such an important part of a good book, i.e. dialogue. That’s when you really find out what the characters are like; it should reveal much more than the description of them. And the same is true in real life, once you can get someone talking.
    I don’t agree that the art of conversation is dead. Some of it its replaced by digital communication, but most people still talk to each other day to day. As you say, each generation has feared the demise of conversation. I remember expecting to have learned discussions with my fellow students when I went to university, and being disappointed, initially, at the shallow nature of most of our communications. But it’s a matter of the right time and place; one can’t maintain the top pitch of conversation all the time.

    Reply
  27. Conversation is such an important part of a good book, i.e. dialogue. That’s when you really find out what the characters are like; it should reveal much more than the description of them. And the same is true in real life, once you can get someone talking.
    I don’t agree that the art of conversation is dead. Some of it its replaced by digital communication, but most people still talk to each other day to day. As you say, each generation has feared the demise of conversation. I remember expecting to have learned discussions with my fellow students when I went to university, and being disappointed, initially, at the shallow nature of most of our communications. But it’s a matter of the right time and place; one can’t maintain the top pitch of conversation all the time.

    Reply
  28. Conversation is such an important part of a good book, i.e. dialogue. That’s when you really find out what the characters are like; it should reveal much more than the description of them. And the same is true in real life, once you can get someone talking.
    I don’t agree that the art of conversation is dead. Some of it its replaced by digital communication, but most people still talk to each other day to day. As you say, each generation has feared the demise of conversation. I remember expecting to have learned discussions with my fellow students when I went to university, and being disappointed, initially, at the shallow nature of most of our communications. But it’s a matter of the right time and place; one can’t maintain the top pitch of conversation all the time.

    Reply
  29. Conversation is such an important part of a good book, i.e. dialogue. That’s when you really find out what the characters are like; it should reveal much more than the description of them. And the same is true in real life, once you can get someone talking.
    I don’t agree that the art of conversation is dead. Some of it its replaced by digital communication, but most people still talk to each other day to day. As you say, each generation has feared the demise of conversation. I remember expecting to have learned discussions with my fellow students when I went to university, and being disappointed, initially, at the shallow nature of most of our communications. But it’s a matter of the right time and place; one can’t maintain the top pitch of conversation all the time.

    Reply
  30. Conversation is such an important part of a good book, i.e. dialogue. That’s when you really find out what the characters are like; it should reveal much more than the description of them. And the same is true in real life, once you can get someone talking.
    I don’t agree that the art of conversation is dead. Some of it its replaced by digital communication, but most people still talk to each other day to day. As you say, each generation has feared the demise of conversation. I remember expecting to have learned discussions with my fellow students when I went to university, and being disappointed, initially, at the shallow nature of most of our communications. But it’s a matter of the right time and place; one can’t maintain the top pitch of conversation all the time.

    Reply
  31. I do wonder why book message boards have all disappeared, because there’s almost nowhere online to discuss books anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s now all about Twitter, but I think that’s horrible. What sort of in-depth conversation can you get out of sites like that?! And it’s also VERY cliquey…
    I think that if contemporary romance writers were to write realistic books at the moment, both hero and heroine would spend the whole book ignoring each other and texting their friends and Googling things instead!
    However, I’m not a fan of people planning conversations or sitting down to *seriously* discuss an issue. I think I’m lucky in that when my family goes out to a café or restaurant it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t pull out your phones and Google or text during that time. Conversation just happens.
    The funny thing is that everyone I know in my mother’s generation (in their 60s) is obsessed with texting and Facebook etc., and I (at thirty-three) have sent ONE text message in 2015, and hate Facebook! But I think I’m not normal!

    Reply
  32. I do wonder why book message boards have all disappeared, because there’s almost nowhere online to discuss books anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s now all about Twitter, but I think that’s horrible. What sort of in-depth conversation can you get out of sites like that?! And it’s also VERY cliquey…
    I think that if contemporary romance writers were to write realistic books at the moment, both hero and heroine would spend the whole book ignoring each other and texting their friends and Googling things instead!
    However, I’m not a fan of people planning conversations or sitting down to *seriously* discuss an issue. I think I’m lucky in that when my family goes out to a café or restaurant it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t pull out your phones and Google or text during that time. Conversation just happens.
    The funny thing is that everyone I know in my mother’s generation (in their 60s) is obsessed with texting and Facebook etc., and I (at thirty-three) have sent ONE text message in 2015, and hate Facebook! But I think I’m not normal!

    Reply
  33. I do wonder why book message boards have all disappeared, because there’s almost nowhere online to discuss books anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s now all about Twitter, but I think that’s horrible. What sort of in-depth conversation can you get out of sites like that?! And it’s also VERY cliquey…
    I think that if contemporary romance writers were to write realistic books at the moment, both hero and heroine would spend the whole book ignoring each other and texting their friends and Googling things instead!
    However, I’m not a fan of people planning conversations or sitting down to *seriously* discuss an issue. I think I’m lucky in that when my family goes out to a café or restaurant it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t pull out your phones and Google or text during that time. Conversation just happens.
    The funny thing is that everyone I know in my mother’s generation (in their 60s) is obsessed with texting and Facebook etc., and I (at thirty-three) have sent ONE text message in 2015, and hate Facebook! But I think I’m not normal!

    Reply
  34. I do wonder why book message boards have all disappeared, because there’s almost nowhere online to discuss books anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s now all about Twitter, but I think that’s horrible. What sort of in-depth conversation can you get out of sites like that?! And it’s also VERY cliquey…
    I think that if contemporary romance writers were to write realistic books at the moment, both hero and heroine would spend the whole book ignoring each other and texting their friends and Googling things instead!
    However, I’m not a fan of people planning conversations or sitting down to *seriously* discuss an issue. I think I’m lucky in that when my family goes out to a café or restaurant it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t pull out your phones and Google or text during that time. Conversation just happens.
    The funny thing is that everyone I know in my mother’s generation (in their 60s) is obsessed with texting and Facebook etc., and I (at thirty-three) have sent ONE text message in 2015, and hate Facebook! But I think I’m not normal!

    Reply
  35. I do wonder why book message boards have all disappeared, because there’s almost nowhere online to discuss books anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s now all about Twitter, but I think that’s horrible. What sort of in-depth conversation can you get out of sites like that?! And it’s also VERY cliquey…
    I think that if contemporary romance writers were to write realistic books at the moment, both hero and heroine would spend the whole book ignoring each other and texting their friends and Googling things instead!
    However, I’m not a fan of people planning conversations or sitting down to *seriously* discuss an issue. I think I’m lucky in that when my family goes out to a café or restaurant it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t pull out your phones and Google or text during that time. Conversation just happens.
    The funny thing is that everyone I know in my mother’s generation (in their 60s) is obsessed with texting and Facebook etc., and I (at thirty-three) have sent ONE text message in 2015, and hate Facebook! But I think I’m not normal!

    Reply
  36. Nicola, what a wonderful topic of–conversation. *G* I just reread Heyer’s SYLVESTER, and was once more dazzled by the dialogue.
    And I’m totally with Joanna Maitland on the “wallow” at the end of a good romance. My characters say things to each other that they’ve never spoken aloud, and may never say again because exposing hearts isn’t easy. But lovely to write and read.

    Reply
  37. Nicola, what a wonderful topic of–conversation. *G* I just reread Heyer’s SYLVESTER, and was once more dazzled by the dialogue.
    And I’m totally with Joanna Maitland on the “wallow” at the end of a good romance. My characters say things to each other that they’ve never spoken aloud, and may never say again because exposing hearts isn’t easy. But lovely to write and read.

    Reply
  38. Nicola, what a wonderful topic of–conversation. *G* I just reread Heyer’s SYLVESTER, and was once more dazzled by the dialogue.
    And I’m totally with Joanna Maitland on the “wallow” at the end of a good romance. My characters say things to each other that they’ve never spoken aloud, and may never say again because exposing hearts isn’t easy. But lovely to write and read.

    Reply
  39. Nicola, what a wonderful topic of–conversation. *G* I just reread Heyer’s SYLVESTER, and was once more dazzled by the dialogue.
    And I’m totally with Joanna Maitland on the “wallow” at the end of a good romance. My characters say things to each other that they’ve never spoken aloud, and may never say again because exposing hearts isn’t easy. But lovely to write and read.

    Reply
  40. Nicola, what a wonderful topic of–conversation. *G* I just reread Heyer’s SYLVESTER, and was once more dazzled by the dialogue.
    And I’m totally with Joanna Maitland on the “wallow” at the end of a good romance. My characters say things to each other that they’ve never spoken aloud, and may never say again because exposing hearts isn’t easy. But lovely to write and read.

    Reply
  41. LOL, HJ, that’s so true about being a student. Sometimes we did have highfalutin conversations but I suspect many of them were just pretentious! I love some rarefied debate in the right time and place but to be forever discussing ideas intensely would be exhausting!

    Reply
  42. LOL, HJ, that’s so true about being a student. Sometimes we did have highfalutin conversations but I suspect many of them were just pretentious! I love some rarefied debate in the right time and place but to be forever discussing ideas intensely would be exhausting!

    Reply
  43. LOL, HJ, that’s so true about being a student. Sometimes we did have highfalutin conversations but I suspect many of them were just pretentious! I love some rarefied debate in the right time and place but to be forever discussing ideas intensely would be exhausting!

    Reply
  44. LOL, HJ, that’s so true about being a student. Sometimes we did have highfalutin conversations but I suspect many of them were just pretentious! I love some rarefied debate in the right time and place but to be forever discussing ideas intensely would be exhausting!

    Reply
  45. LOL, HJ, that’s so true about being a student. Sometimes we did have highfalutin conversations but I suspect many of them were just pretentious! I love some rarefied debate in the right time and place but to be forever discussing ideas intensely would be exhausting!

    Reply
  46. LOL< that is very funny about your mother's generation being glued to their social media, Sonya! I agree with you that the best conversations just happen organically and I also think it's a good rule NOT to have phones out at meals! It's interesting that book message boards have all but disappeared. That seems a pity.

    Reply
  47. LOL< that is very funny about your mother's generation being glued to their social media, Sonya! I agree with you that the best conversations just happen organically and I also think it's a good rule NOT to have phones out at meals! It's interesting that book message boards have all but disappeared. That seems a pity.

    Reply
  48. LOL< that is very funny about your mother's generation being glued to their social media, Sonya! I agree with you that the best conversations just happen organically and I also think it's a good rule NOT to have phones out at meals! It's interesting that book message boards have all but disappeared. That seems a pity.

    Reply
  49. LOL< that is very funny about your mother's generation being glued to their social media, Sonya! I agree with you that the best conversations just happen organically and I also think it's a good rule NOT to have phones out at meals! It's interesting that book message boards have all but disappeared. That seems a pity.

    Reply
  50. LOL< that is very funny about your mother's generation being glued to their social media, Sonya! I agree with you that the best conversations just happen organically and I also think it's a good rule NOT to have phones out at meals! It's interesting that book message boards have all but disappeared. That seems a pity.

    Reply
  51. Before I even read this post, I thought of a situation in “Moonraker’s Bride” by “Madeleine Brent.” The heroine has grown up in a mission in China. The head of the mission, aware that the heroine comes of a reasonably high-level middle class family tries to teach her the art of conversation. The heroine who has learned to live in and with the Chinese culture, is utterly bewildered.
    I remember a conversation my husband and I had more than 42 years ago — but not everyone between. I also remember a conversation between me, a woman in Montreal, and a man in Paris. The conversation was in English, but we were discussing French usage. And of course this conversation was online.
    This 2nd conversation was held at one of these book discussion places IDBoF (Internet Database of Fiction) which is still on line. I don’t go there much anymore, as most of my friends there have moved on. But i believe it’s still a good place for conversation.
    And BTW, so are these responses to the posts at Word Wenches. We have very, very good conversations here! And not limited to books. I don’t know if it was here or at Putney’s Peerage that Mary Jo got me interested in the Phrynee Fisher

    Reply
  52. Before I even read this post, I thought of a situation in “Moonraker’s Bride” by “Madeleine Brent.” The heroine has grown up in a mission in China. The head of the mission, aware that the heroine comes of a reasonably high-level middle class family tries to teach her the art of conversation. The heroine who has learned to live in and with the Chinese culture, is utterly bewildered.
    I remember a conversation my husband and I had more than 42 years ago — but not everyone between. I also remember a conversation between me, a woman in Montreal, and a man in Paris. The conversation was in English, but we were discussing French usage. And of course this conversation was online.
    This 2nd conversation was held at one of these book discussion places IDBoF (Internet Database of Fiction) which is still on line. I don’t go there much anymore, as most of my friends there have moved on. But i believe it’s still a good place for conversation.
    And BTW, so are these responses to the posts at Word Wenches. We have very, very good conversations here! And not limited to books. I don’t know if it was here or at Putney’s Peerage that Mary Jo got me interested in the Phrynee Fisher

    Reply
  53. Before I even read this post, I thought of a situation in “Moonraker’s Bride” by “Madeleine Brent.” The heroine has grown up in a mission in China. The head of the mission, aware that the heroine comes of a reasonably high-level middle class family tries to teach her the art of conversation. The heroine who has learned to live in and with the Chinese culture, is utterly bewildered.
    I remember a conversation my husband and I had more than 42 years ago — but not everyone between. I also remember a conversation between me, a woman in Montreal, and a man in Paris. The conversation was in English, but we were discussing French usage. And of course this conversation was online.
    This 2nd conversation was held at one of these book discussion places IDBoF (Internet Database of Fiction) which is still on line. I don’t go there much anymore, as most of my friends there have moved on. But i believe it’s still a good place for conversation.
    And BTW, so are these responses to the posts at Word Wenches. We have very, very good conversations here! And not limited to books. I don’t know if it was here or at Putney’s Peerage that Mary Jo got me interested in the Phrynee Fisher

    Reply
  54. Before I even read this post, I thought of a situation in “Moonraker’s Bride” by “Madeleine Brent.” The heroine has grown up in a mission in China. The head of the mission, aware that the heroine comes of a reasonably high-level middle class family tries to teach her the art of conversation. The heroine who has learned to live in and with the Chinese culture, is utterly bewildered.
    I remember a conversation my husband and I had more than 42 years ago — but not everyone between. I also remember a conversation between me, a woman in Montreal, and a man in Paris. The conversation was in English, but we were discussing French usage. And of course this conversation was online.
    This 2nd conversation was held at one of these book discussion places IDBoF (Internet Database of Fiction) which is still on line. I don’t go there much anymore, as most of my friends there have moved on. But i believe it’s still a good place for conversation.
    And BTW, so are these responses to the posts at Word Wenches. We have very, very good conversations here! And not limited to books. I don’t know if it was here or at Putney’s Peerage that Mary Jo got me interested in the Phrynee Fisher

    Reply
  55. Before I even read this post, I thought of a situation in “Moonraker’s Bride” by “Madeleine Brent.” The heroine has grown up in a mission in China. The head of the mission, aware that the heroine comes of a reasonably high-level middle class family tries to teach her the art of conversation. The heroine who has learned to live in and with the Chinese culture, is utterly bewildered.
    I remember a conversation my husband and I had more than 42 years ago — but not everyone between. I also remember a conversation between me, a woman in Montreal, and a man in Paris. The conversation was in English, but we were discussing French usage. And of course this conversation was online.
    This 2nd conversation was held at one of these book discussion places IDBoF (Internet Database of Fiction) which is still on line. I don’t go there much anymore, as most of my friends there have moved on. But i believe it’s still a good place for conversation.
    And BTW, so are these responses to the posts at Word Wenches. We have very, very good conversations here! And not limited to books. I don’t know if it was here or at Putney’s Peerage that Mary Jo got me interested in the Phrynee Fisher

    Reply
  56. I recently travelled overseas from Australia to the UK and stayed in lots of bed and breakfast places. I had some absolutely wonderful conversations over the breakfast table. So many different people also travelling from different countries. It was a great way to get different opinions on different topics from different cultures. Breakfast, not my favourite meal, became quite memorable.

    Reply
  57. I recently travelled overseas from Australia to the UK and stayed in lots of bed and breakfast places. I had some absolutely wonderful conversations over the breakfast table. So many different people also travelling from different countries. It was a great way to get different opinions on different topics from different cultures. Breakfast, not my favourite meal, became quite memorable.

    Reply
  58. I recently travelled overseas from Australia to the UK and stayed in lots of bed and breakfast places. I had some absolutely wonderful conversations over the breakfast table. So many different people also travelling from different countries. It was a great way to get different opinions on different topics from different cultures. Breakfast, not my favourite meal, became quite memorable.

    Reply
  59. I recently travelled overseas from Australia to the UK and stayed in lots of bed and breakfast places. I had some absolutely wonderful conversations over the breakfast table. So many different people also travelling from different countries. It was a great way to get different opinions on different topics from different cultures. Breakfast, not my favourite meal, became quite memorable.

    Reply
  60. I recently travelled overseas from Australia to the UK and stayed in lots of bed and breakfast places. I had some absolutely wonderful conversations over the breakfast table. So many different people also travelling from different countries. It was a great way to get different opinions on different topics from different cultures. Breakfast, not my favourite meal, became quite memorable.

    Reply
  61. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful tour we once did around Iceland, Jenny, where we met so many interesting people to talk to. Absolutely true what you say, that talking to people when you are travelling can lead to some wonderful conversations.

    Reply
  62. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful tour we once did around Iceland, Jenny, where we met so many interesting people to talk to. Absolutely true what you say, that talking to people when you are travelling can lead to some wonderful conversations.

    Reply
  63. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful tour we once did around Iceland, Jenny, where we met so many interesting people to talk to. Absolutely true what you say, that talking to people when you are travelling can lead to some wonderful conversations.

    Reply
  64. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful tour we once did around Iceland, Jenny, where we met so many interesting people to talk to. Absolutely true what you say, that talking to people when you are travelling can lead to some wonderful conversations.

    Reply
  65. You’ve reminded me of a wonderful tour we once did around Iceland, Jenny, where we met so many interesting people to talk to. Absolutely true what you say, that talking to people when you are travelling can lead to some wonderful conversations.

    Reply
  66. Thank you, Sue! Yes, I do think that the Wench blog tackles all sorts of interesting topics and the comments we get and the conversations we share can be stimulating and very interesting. Thanks to our readers for their interaction – and for being such interesting people!

    Reply
  67. Thank you, Sue! Yes, I do think that the Wench blog tackles all sorts of interesting topics and the comments we get and the conversations we share can be stimulating and very interesting. Thanks to our readers for their interaction – and for being such interesting people!

    Reply
  68. Thank you, Sue! Yes, I do think that the Wench blog tackles all sorts of interesting topics and the comments we get and the conversations we share can be stimulating and very interesting. Thanks to our readers for their interaction – and for being such interesting people!

    Reply
  69. Thank you, Sue! Yes, I do think that the Wench blog tackles all sorts of interesting topics and the comments we get and the conversations we share can be stimulating and very interesting. Thanks to our readers for their interaction – and for being such interesting people!

    Reply
  70. Thank you, Sue! Yes, I do think that the Wench blog tackles all sorts of interesting topics and the comments we get and the conversations we share can be stimulating and very interesting. Thanks to our readers for their interaction – and for being such interesting people!

    Reply
  71. Sonya, you’ve put your finger on one of the reasons why Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) and I set up http://LibertaBooks.com. We really do want to bring real readers into contact with each other and with writers. In the UK, at least, “real readers” tend to be quite shy about saying what they think or like or want from writers and from websites like ours. It’s early days yet — formal launch of Liberta isn’t till Monday 7th December — but we’re really hoping that readers like you will talk about books with us. Anyone who is passionate about books will be welcome!

    Reply
  72. Sonya, you’ve put your finger on one of the reasons why Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) and I set up http://LibertaBooks.com. We really do want to bring real readers into contact with each other and with writers. In the UK, at least, “real readers” tend to be quite shy about saying what they think or like or want from writers and from websites like ours. It’s early days yet — formal launch of Liberta isn’t till Monday 7th December — but we’re really hoping that readers like you will talk about books with us. Anyone who is passionate about books will be welcome!

    Reply
  73. Sonya, you’ve put your finger on one of the reasons why Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) and I set up http://LibertaBooks.com. We really do want to bring real readers into contact with each other and with writers. In the UK, at least, “real readers” tend to be quite shy about saying what they think or like or want from writers and from websites like ours. It’s early days yet — formal launch of Liberta isn’t till Monday 7th December — but we’re really hoping that readers like you will talk about books with us. Anyone who is passionate about books will be welcome!

    Reply
  74. Sonya, you’ve put your finger on one of the reasons why Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) and I set up http://LibertaBooks.com. We really do want to bring real readers into contact with each other and with writers. In the UK, at least, “real readers” tend to be quite shy about saying what they think or like or want from writers and from websites like ours. It’s early days yet — formal launch of Liberta isn’t till Monday 7th December — but we’re really hoping that readers like you will talk about books with us. Anyone who is passionate about books will be welcome!

    Reply
  75. Sonya, you’ve put your finger on one of the reasons why Jenny Haddon (Sophie Weston) and I set up http://LibertaBooks.com. We really do want to bring real readers into contact with each other and with writers. In the UK, at least, “real readers” tend to be quite shy about saying what they think or like or want from writers and from websites like ours. It’s early days yet — formal launch of Liberta isn’t till Monday 7th December — but we’re really hoping that readers like you will talk about books with us. Anyone who is passionate about books will be welcome!

    Reply
  76. Sonya, there are some book message groups in yahoo groups.com. There’s regency@yahoogroups.com and, I think, AAR2@ (That’s a spin off from All About Romance.)
    As with conversation, it depends on someone tossing out something for discussion.
    I think this was generally true in the past. A good hostess gathered a promising group and then was ready to keep the conversation going. These days we’re more likely to gather like-minded people, and often friends, so there’s nothing new to get things going.
    Perhaps book groups have filled the gap a little? And maybe “stitch and bitch”?

    Reply
  77. Sonya, there are some book message groups in yahoo groups.com. There’s regency@yahoogroups.com and, I think, AAR2@ (That’s a spin off from All About Romance.)
    As with conversation, it depends on someone tossing out something for discussion.
    I think this was generally true in the past. A good hostess gathered a promising group and then was ready to keep the conversation going. These days we’re more likely to gather like-minded people, and often friends, so there’s nothing new to get things going.
    Perhaps book groups have filled the gap a little? And maybe “stitch and bitch”?

    Reply
  78. Sonya, there are some book message groups in yahoo groups.com. There’s regency@yahoogroups.com and, I think, AAR2@ (That’s a spin off from All About Romance.)
    As with conversation, it depends on someone tossing out something for discussion.
    I think this was generally true in the past. A good hostess gathered a promising group and then was ready to keep the conversation going. These days we’re more likely to gather like-minded people, and often friends, so there’s nothing new to get things going.
    Perhaps book groups have filled the gap a little? And maybe “stitch and bitch”?

    Reply
  79. Sonya, there are some book message groups in yahoo groups.com. There’s regency@yahoogroups.com and, I think, AAR2@ (That’s a spin off from All About Romance.)
    As with conversation, it depends on someone tossing out something for discussion.
    I think this was generally true in the past. A good hostess gathered a promising group and then was ready to keep the conversation going. These days we’re more likely to gather like-minded people, and often friends, so there’s nothing new to get things going.
    Perhaps book groups have filled the gap a little? And maybe “stitch and bitch”?

    Reply
  80. Sonya, there are some book message groups in yahoo groups.com. There’s regency@yahoogroups.com and, I think, AAR2@ (That’s a spin off from All About Romance.)
    As with conversation, it depends on someone tossing out something for discussion.
    I think this was generally true in the past. A good hostess gathered a promising group and then was ready to keep the conversation going. These days we’re more likely to gather like-minded people, and often friends, so there’s nothing new to get things going.
    Perhaps book groups have filled the gap a little? And maybe “stitch and bitch”?

    Reply
  81. Just look around any restaurant…and you’ll probably see as many people interacting with their phones as with those at their table.
    Not that long ago, I saw a boy and a man I assumed was his dad having dinner. Not only was the boy playing a game on his phone, he had headphones on.
    Why are the people/activities in the phone more interesting/important at that moment than those you chose to go out with? Having that discussion can be awkward.

    Reply
  82. Just look around any restaurant…and you’ll probably see as many people interacting with their phones as with those at their table.
    Not that long ago, I saw a boy and a man I assumed was his dad having dinner. Not only was the boy playing a game on his phone, he had headphones on.
    Why are the people/activities in the phone more interesting/important at that moment than those you chose to go out with? Having that discussion can be awkward.

    Reply
  83. Just look around any restaurant…and you’ll probably see as many people interacting with their phones as with those at their table.
    Not that long ago, I saw a boy and a man I assumed was his dad having dinner. Not only was the boy playing a game on his phone, he had headphones on.
    Why are the people/activities in the phone more interesting/important at that moment than those you chose to go out with? Having that discussion can be awkward.

    Reply
  84. Just look around any restaurant…and you’ll probably see as many people interacting with their phones as with those at their table.
    Not that long ago, I saw a boy and a man I assumed was his dad having dinner. Not only was the boy playing a game on his phone, he had headphones on.
    Why are the people/activities in the phone more interesting/important at that moment than those you chose to go out with? Having that discussion can be awkward.

    Reply
  85. Just look around any restaurant…and you’ll probably see as many people interacting with their phones as with those at their table.
    Not that long ago, I saw a boy and a man I assumed was his dad having dinner. Not only was the boy playing a game on his phone, he had headphones on.
    Why are the people/activities in the phone more interesting/important at that moment than those you chose to go out with? Having that discussion can be awkward.

    Reply
  86. Yahoo groups also has a Georgette Heyer group called almacks. I suspect it’s as busy as it is because it skews older; its members obviously can do email but few speak of facebook, twitter, pinterest or any of the more visual kinds of social media. However I note that lately several members are reading their emails on tablets and firing off shorter (if more frequent) replies. I don’t think tablets and smartphones lend themselves to in depth discussion as much as keyboards do.
    I have the impression, however, that between the unwelcome changes yahoo made to its groups structure and the migration to visual social media, traffic across the board in yahoo groups is down. The regency group is certainly not as active as it was ten years ago.

    Reply
  87. Yahoo groups also has a Georgette Heyer group called almacks. I suspect it’s as busy as it is because it skews older; its members obviously can do email but few speak of facebook, twitter, pinterest or any of the more visual kinds of social media. However I note that lately several members are reading their emails on tablets and firing off shorter (if more frequent) replies. I don’t think tablets and smartphones lend themselves to in depth discussion as much as keyboards do.
    I have the impression, however, that between the unwelcome changes yahoo made to its groups structure and the migration to visual social media, traffic across the board in yahoo groups is down. The regency group is certainly not as active as it was ten years ago.

    Reply
  88. Yahoo groups also has a Georgette Heyer group called almacks. I suspect it’s as busy as it is because it skews older; its members obviously can do email but few speak of facebook, twitter, pinterest or any of the more visual kinds of social media. However I note that lately several members are reading their emails on tablets and firing off shorter (if more frequent) replies. I don’t think tablets and smartphones lend themselves to in depth discussion as much as keyboards do.
    I have the impression, however, that between the unwelcome changes yahoo made to its groups structure and the migration to visual social media, traffic across the board in yahoo groups is down. The regency group is certainly not as active as it was ten years ago.

    Reply
  89. Yahoo groups also has a Georgette Heyer group called almacks. I suspect it’s as busy as it is because it skews older; its members obviously can do email but few speak of facebook, twitter, pinterest or any of the more visual kinds of social media. However I note that lately several members are reading their emails on tablets and firing off shorter (if more frequent) replies. I don’t think tablets and smartphones lend themselves to in depth discussion as much as keyboards do.
    I have the impression, however, that between the unwelcome changes yahoo made to its groups structure and the migration to visual social media, traffic across the board in yahoo groups is down. The regency group is certainly not as active as it was ten years ago.

    Reply
  90. Yahoo groups also has a Georgette Heyer group called almacks. I suspect it’s as busy as it is because it skews older; its members obviously can do email but few speak of facebook, twitter, pinterest or any of the more visual kinds of social media. However I note that lately several members are reading their emails on tablets and firing off shorter (if more frequent) replies. I don’t think tablets and smartphones lend themselves to in depth discussion as much as keyboards do.
    I have the impression, however, that between the unwelcome changes yahoo made to its groups structure and the migration to visual social media, traffic across the board in yahoo groups is down. The regency group is certainly not as active as it was ten years ago.

    Reply
  91. My phone is on the table to settle trivia arguments at dinner, but I would think it rude to be using it for any purpose other than something that is going on in the conversation. I think too many parents are using devices as babysitters, a way to keep the kid quiet — while the parent, who is also firmly addicted, pursues his own electronic fix. It does have a strong pull and I do feel it when I’ve left my phone home by mistake or its battery has gone dead. It amazes me because ten years ago I wouldn’t even have thought about it one way or the other. My mornings were coffee with my laptop then — but twenty years before that my mornings were coffee with the newspaper. I can quite see that so much change so fast is hard to assimilate. I wonder that people aren’t crazier than they are 🙁

    Reply
  92. My phone is on the table to settle trivia arguments at dinner, but I would think it rude to be using it for any purpose other than something that is going on in the conversation. I think too many parents are using devices as babysitters, a way to keep the kid quiet — while the parent, who is also firmly addicted, pursues his own electronic fix. It does have a strong pull and I do feel it when I’ve left my phone home by mistake or its battery has gone dead. It amazes me because ten years ago I wouldn’t even have thought about it one way or the other. My mornings were coffee with my laptop then — but twenty years before that my mornings were coffee with the newspaper. I can quite see that so much change so fast is hard to assimilate. I wonder that people aren’t crazier than they are 🙁

    Reply
  93. My phone is on the table to settle trivia arguments at dinner, but I would think it rude to be using it for any purpose other than something that is going on in the conversation. I think too many parents are using devices as babysitters, a way to keep the kid quiet — while the parent, who is also firmly addicted, pursues his own electronic fix. It does have a strong pull and I do feel it when I’ve left my phone home by mistake or its battery has gone dead. It amazes me because ten years ago I wouldn’t even have thought about it one way or the other. My mornings were coffee with my laptop then — but twenty years before that my mornings were coffee with the newspaper. I can quite see that so much change so fast is hard to assimilate. I wonder that people aren’t crazier than they are 🙁

    Reply
  94. My phone is on the table to settle trivia arguments at dinner, but I would think it rude to be using it for any purpose other than something that is going on in the conversation. I think too many parents are using devices as babysitters, a way to keep the kid quiet — while the parent, who is also firmly addicted, pursues his own electronic fix. It does have a strong pull and I do feel it when I’ve left my phone home by mistake or its battery has gone dead. It amazes me because ten years ago I wouldn’t even have thought about it one way or the other. My mornings were coffee with my laptop then — but twenty years before that my mornings were coffee with the newspaper. I can quite see that so much change so fast is hard to assimilate. I wonder that people aren’t crazier than they are 🙁

    Reply
  95. My phone is on the table to settle trivia arguments at dinner, but I would think it rude to be using it for any purpose other than something that is going on in the conversation. I think too many parents are using devices as babysitters, a way to keep the kid quiet — while the parent, who is also firmly addicted, pursues his own electronic fix. It does have a strong pull and I do feel it when I’ve left my phone home by mistake or its battery has gone dead. It amazes me because ten years ago I wouldn’t even have thought about it one way or the other. My mornings were coffee with my laptop then — but twenty years before that my mornings were coffee with the newspaper. I can quite see that so much change so fast is hard to assimilate. I wonder that people aren’t crazier than they are 🙁

    Reply
  96. I don’t think there is anything more invigorating than an intense conversation between two experts on a subject, where they explore new directions of study. Unfortunately, I find as I age, that I spend more time mentoring and teaching than exploring new directions; my conversational partners have either died or “retired”, so now my best conversations are held online, usually on yahoogroups. (Most of the idiots and trolls have migrated to FB!) My personal solution has been to explore another area of interest with new possibilities and partners. Must keep learning!

    Reply
  97. I don’t think there is anything more invigorating than an intense conversation between two experts on a subject, where they explore new directions of study. Unfortunately, I find as I age, that I spend more time mentoring and teaching than exploring new directions; my conversational partners have either died or “retired”, so now my best conversations are held online, usually on yahoogroups. (Most of the idiots and trolls have migrated to FB!) My personal solution has been to explore another area of interest with new possibilities and partners. Must keep learning!

    Reply
  98. I don’t think there is anything more invigorating than an intense conversation between two experts on a subject, where they explore new directions of study. Unfortunately, I find as I age, that I spend more time mentoring and teaching than exploring new directions; my conversational partners have either died or “retired”, so now my best conversations are held online, usually on yahoogroups. (Most of the idiots and trolls have migrated to FB!) My personal solution has been to explore another area of interest with new possibilities and partners. Must keep learning!

    Reply
  99. I don’t think there is anything more invigorating than an intense conversation between two experts on a subject, where they explore new directions of study. Unfortunately, I find as I age, that I spend more time mentoring and teaching than exploring new directions; my conversational partners have either died or “retired”, so now my best conversations are held online, usually on yahoogroups. (Most of the idiots and trolls have migrated to FB!) My personal solution has been to explore another area of interest with new possibilities and partners. Must keep learning!

    Reply
  100. I don’t think there is anything more invigorating than an intense conversation between two experts on a subject, where they explore new directions of study. Unfortunately, I find as I age, that I spend more time mentoring and teaching than exploring new directions; my conversational partners have either died or “retired”, so now my best conversations are held online, usually on yahoogroups. (Most of the idiots and trolls have migrated to FB!) My personal solution has been to explore another area of interest with new possibilities and partners. Must keep learning!

    Reply
  101. Sue, I adore Moonraker’s Bride. Fabulous book, isn’t it? I remember that conversation, too — she was being truthful, which was positively indelicate and scandalous. LOL.
    I agree with you, the comment stream on wordwenches often has a pretty good conversation in it.
    Young ladies in the Regency period (and other times) used to have lessons in the gentle art of conversation, as it was a valued skill, to keep a cpnversation going. Wish they still taught that.
    As for ” If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society” — these days people photograph their food and put it up on FB or twitter, and exchange recipes. And talk diets rather than food. 🙂

    Reply
  102. Sue, I adore Moonraker’s Bride. Fabulous book, isn’t it? I remember that conversation, too — she was being truthful, which was positively indelicate and scandalous. LOL.
    I agree with you, the comment stream on wordwenches often has a pretty good conversation in it.
    Young ladies in the Regency period (and other times) used to have lessons in the gentle art of conversation, as it was a valued skill, to keep a cpnversation going. Wish they still taught that.
    As for ” If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society” — these days people photograph their food and put it up on FB or twitter, and exchange recipes. And talk diets rather than food. 🙂

    Reply
  103. Sue, I adore Moonraker’s Bride. Fabulous book, isn’t it? I remember that conversation, too — she was being truthful, which was positively indelicate and scandalous. LOL.
    I agree with you, the comment stream on wordwenches often has a pretty good conversation in it.
    Young ladies in the Regency period (and other times) used to have lessons in the gentle art of conversation, as it was a valued skill, to keep a cpnversation going. Wish they still taught that.
    As for ” If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society” — these days people photograph their food and put it up on FB or twitter, and exchange recipes. And talk diets rather than food. 🙂

    Reply
  104. Sue, I adore Moonraker’s Bride. Fabulous book, isn’t it? I remember that conversation, too — she was being truthful, which was positively indelicate and scandalous. LOL.
    I agree with you, the comment stream on wordwenches often has a pretty good conversation in it.
    Young ladies in the Regency period (and other times) used to have lessons in the gentle art of conversation, as it was a valued skill, to keep a cpnversation going. Wish they still taught that.
    As for ” If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society” — these days people photograph their food and put it up on FB or twitter, and exchange recipes. And talk diets rather than food. 🙂

    Reply
  105. Sue, I adore Moonraker’s Bride. Fabulous book, isn’t it? I remember that conversation, too — she was being truthful, which was positively indelicate and scandalous. LOL.
    I agree with you, the comment stream on wordwenches often has a pretty good conversation in it.
    Young ladies in the Regency period (and other times) used to have lessons in the gentle art of conversation, as it was a valued skill, to keep a cpnversation going. Wish they still taught that.
    As for ” If you are ever stuck in a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating. I’ve no idea if that works in modern society” — these days people photograph their food and put it up on FB or twitter, and exchange recipes. And talk diets rather than food. 🙂

    Reply
  106. Very true, Ruth. Just talking about why people don’t talk can be difficult! I remember going to dinner on my birthday one year and the couple at the next table were on their first date and were texting their friends all evening! Whereas I was talking to my dh of 27 years and having a fascinating conversation. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy his company so much. He’s a very interesting conversationalist…

    Reply
  107. Very true, Ruth. Just talking about why people don’t talk can be difficult! I remember going to dinner on my birthday one year and the couple at the next table were on their first date and were texting their friends all evening! Whereas I was talking to my dh of 27 years and having a fascinating conversation. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy his company so much. He’s a very interesting conversationalist…

    Reply
  108. Very true, Ruth. Just talking about why people don’t talk can be difficult! I remember going to dinner on my birthday one year and the couple at the next table were on their first date and were texting their friends all evening! Whereas I was talking to my dh of 27 years and having a fascinating conversation. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy his company so much. He’s a very interesting conversationalist…

    Reply
  109. Very true, Ruth. Just talking about why people don’t talk can be difficult! I remember going to dinner on my birthday one year and the couple at the next table were on their first date and were texting their friends all evening! Whereas I was talking to my dh of 27 years and having a fascinating conversation. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy his company so much. He’s a very interesting conversationalist…

    Reply
  110. Very true, Ruth. Just talking about why people don’t talk can be difficult! I remember going to dinner on my birthday one year and the couple at the next table were on their first date and were texting their friends all evening! Whereas I was talking to my dh of 27 years and having a fascinating conversation. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy his company so much. He’s a very interesting conversationalist…

    Reply
  111. How interesting, Nicola. I suppose it stops them from simply barking out observations and orders. 🙂 Shades of Wellington, whose officers had to have all the social skills including dancing.

    Reply
  112. How interesting, Nicola. I suppose it stops them from simply barking out observations and orders. 🙂 Shades of Wellington, whose officers had to have all the social skills including dancing.

    Reply
  113. How interesting, Nicola. I suppose it stops them from simply barking out observations and orders. 🙂 Shades of Wellington, whose officers had to have all the social skills including dancing.

    Reply
  114. How interesting, Nicola. I suppose it stops them from simply barking out observations and orders. 🙂 Shades of Wellington, whose officers had to have all the social skills including dancing.

    Reply
  115. How interesting, Nicola. I suppose it stops them from simply barking out observations and orders. 🙂 Shades of Wellington, whose officers had to have all the social skills including dancing.

    Reply
  116. LOL, absolutely, Anne! They need to be prepared for all those Mess dinners and banquets with VIPs! When I worked in a military college the cadets were allocated members of staff to practice on. One Mess dinner was particularly memorable as a result. I love the idea that the army is still following Wellington’s strictures for officers to this day!

    Reply
  117. LOL, absolutely, Anne! They need to be prepared for all those Mess dinners and banquets with VIPs! When I worked in a military college the cadets were allocated members of staff to practice on. One Mess dinner was particularly memorable as a result. I love the idea that the army is still following Wellington’s strictures for officers to this day!

    Reply
  118. LOL, absolutely, Anne! They need to be prepared for all those Mess dinners and banquets with VIPs! When I worked in a military college the cadets were allocated members of staff to practice on. One Mess dinner was particularly memorable as a result. I love the idea that the army is still following Wellington’s strictures for officers to this day!

    Reply
  119. LOL, absolutely, Anne! They need to be prepared for all those Mess dinners and banquets with VIPs! When I worked in a military college the cadets were allocated members of staff to practice on. One Mess dinner was particularly memorable as a result. I love the idea that the army is still following Wellington’s strictures for officers to this day!

    Reply
  120. LOL, absolutely, Anne! They need to be prepared for all those Mess dinners and banquets with VIPs! When I worked in a military college the cadets were allocated members of staff to practice on. One Mess dinner was particularly memorable as a result. I love the idea that the army is still following Wellington’s strictures for officers to this day!

    Reply

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