Thursday, September 17, 2015

Etiquette of Dinner Conversation

One tip – Make sure you take the cue at the serving of each course, to “turn” from the hostess; to either the guest sitting to your left or the guest sitting to your right. That way, everyone seated at the table can take equal part and enjoyment in conversing.


Gilded Age Advice for Dinner-Table Talk


The conversation at the dinner-table should be general, unless the company is large, and the table too long to admit of it. But in any case, each one is responsible first of all for keeping up a pleasant chat with his or her partner, and not allowing that one to be neglected while attention is riveted on some aggressively brilliant talker at the other end of the table. No matter how uninteresting one's partner may be, one must be thoughtful and entertaining; and such kind attention may win the life-long gratitude of a timid debutante, or the equally unsophisticated country cousin.

Dinner-table talk should be affable. The host and hostess must be alert to turn the conversation from channels that threaten to lead to antagonisms of opinion; and each guest should feel that it is more important just now to make other people happy than to gratify his impulse to " floor" them on the tariff question. In short, at dinner, as under most social conditions, the watchword ever in mind should be, "Not to myself alone." – 
From "Etiquette: An Answer to the Riddle When? Where? How??" By Agnes H. Morton



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