Saturday, August 1, 2015

Etiquette in Conversation

Hospitality and good conversation at a California beach picnic, early 1900s

One Should Show a Gentle Hospitality to the Thoughts of Another

A distinguished conversationist of the past was wont to say that the secret of being agreeable in conversation was to be hospitable to the ideas of others. He affirmed that some people only half listened to you, because they were considering, even while you spoke, with what wealth of wit, with what words they should reply, and they began to speak almost before your sentence had died from your lips.

Those people, he said, might be brilliant, witty, dazzling, but they could never be agreeable. You do not love to talk to them. You feel that they are impatient for their turn to come, and that they have no hospitality toward your thoughts —none of that gentle friendliness that asks your idea in and makes much of it. –Los Angeles Herald, 1891

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