There’s a fantastic short story in David Sedaris’ book When you are Engulfed in Flames that discusses the art of the perfect conversation starter. He has a friend, don’t we all, who is able to work the most amazing points into regular conversations. Like the rest of us, however, he has been using the same random one for the past four years that, while interesting, is just about as strange enough to never quite arise in polite conversation. Then he finds a story about a house burning down in Vermont due to a mouse infestation and he’s set. Or so it seems.
How was that for starting this conversation?
After reading the story, I’ve become slightly obsessed with the idea of conversation starters. That brilliant little tidbit of information you heard — there’s a fruit that can make a sour lemons taste like lemonade! — can open up a brilliant and fascinating chat. Not to mention, working a good point into a conversation becomes a fun game, perfect for livening up boring Christmas time small talk with family and acquantainces.
While I wouldn’t describe myself a brilliant conversationalist, I do appreciate a good chat. Having a wicked entry way into an interesting topic — did you know that Joe Pro once sold Drop Coffee beans for $35 a bag? — can make the difference between an exchange that is exciting and one that is exhaustion inducing.
Because I can’t keep a secret, I’m giving away my 5 best conversation starters for the holiday season. What’s yours? I’d love to chat about it!
- If Manhattan had the same population density as Greenland, the island would have a population of two – from Frozen in Time
- On commercial flights, the pilot and the copilot must eat different meals to ensure that, if one meal is contaminated, they both don’t get sick. Do you think it’s true? (I don’t) – Huffington Post
- You could live in Barcelona and commute to a job in London and still spend less than if you lived in central London. – Monocle Magazine
- Black Friday has become a thing in the UK. How is this possible without Thanksgiving?
- Italian McDonald’s have introduced a limited edition hamburger that is supposedly from the finest cut of Piedmontese beef. See the ad here.
What’s your go-to conversation starter?