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8 conversations you should never have at a dinner party.

dinner party conversation

By HELEN VNUK

It used to be said that sex, politics and religion were the three topics that should never be discussed in polite company. Nowadays, it’s a little more complicated – there are now a LOT of topics that can lead to shouting matches or awkward silences. To help you keep the colourful conversation flowing at your next dinner party, here’s our handy etiquette guide to topics to avoid to keep the conversation flowing:

1. What a great job the prime minister is doing.

Nowadays, most Australians share the same view on politics: they hate every party, almost equally. So if you’re a huge fan of whoever is currently in the top job, you’d want to make sure you know the political views of everyone sitting around the table – including your friend’s new boyfriend – before you say anything. Otherwise, the evening could turn into a shouting match as vicious as question time in parliament.

2. The brilliance of your child.

I know what it’s like as a parent to want to share stories of what a genius young Atticus is, but boasting is never a good thing. Best to stick to the cute anecdote about how he wrote “I luv u, mum” with permanent marker on your white leather couch. When he wins the Nobel Prize for literature in a few years’ time, you can modestly accept all the compliments then.

dinner party conversation

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 Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Brown Brothers. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

3. The dream you had last night.

No matter how interesting it is, no one wants to hear about your dream… unless it involves them. Then they want to know every detail, so they can work out how you really feel about them. “So you were stabbing me with a pitchfork and yelling, ‘Be gone, be gone!’ Is that right?”

dinner party conversation

4. Intimate details about your sex life.

Sure, sex is mainstream. It gets discussed on the radio before you’ve even had a chance to eat your breakfast. But although it’s great to talk about in general terms, be careful about what you give away when it comes to your own sex life. For example, if your hostess serves you up cocktail frankfurts, under no circumstances should you compare them to any part of your current partner’s body.

dinner party conversation

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5. The weather.

This used to be the safest conversation topic on the planet. “How about this weather we’ve been having?” was the classic opener. But nowadays, as soon as you mention the recent cold snap, someone will start scoffing about “global warming”, and it will turn into an argument between climate change believers and climate change deniers. Then the atmosphere will get really icy.

dinner party conversation

6. Refugees.

Important topic, but about as divisive as the Berlin Wall. And even if everyone agrees on what the government should be doing about refugees – which is highly unlikely – it’s going to put a bit of a dampener on the evening. International humanitarian crises tend to do that.

dinner party conversation

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7. How much your house is worth.

Yes, it’s wonderful that your character-filled cottage increased in value by $100,000 last year without you having to lift a finger. But put yourself in the shoes of the person sitting opposite you who is currently bringing their own lunch to work in a desperate attempt to save enough money for a deposit. Makes you lose your appetite, doesn’t it? Stick to other things about your house: the impossibility of finding a parking space in the street, or the middle-aged couple next door who like to sunbathe nude.

dinner party conversation

8. Food poisoning and other gastro-intestinal problems.

Even if it you think you can make your tale of vomiting and diarrhoea sound funny, don’t do it. There’s a time and a place, people.

dinner party conversation

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So what are some great ideas for colourful conversations? Try these…

Nostalgia: Your favourite childhood junk food, the hit songs from your teenage years that never get played on the radio anymore, the old friend you looked up on Facebook and learnt something amazing about…

Celebrities:  Who’s going to be the next big thing, who’s gone too far with plastic surgery, which celebrity offspring is going to need the most therapy…

Hypotheticals: Which actor would play each of you in a movie about your life, which reality show would you have the best chance of winning, who would you want to swap lives with…

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Whether it’s out and about, or just staying in, there’s nothing like lively conversation with friends over amazing wine. We can totally relate. We’ve been having great conversations with our drinkers for years, asking the kind of questions we need to plant the right grapes, combine the right flavours and create wines you love to drink. In our 125th year, we’re taking the conversation to a new, and celebratory level. It all starts with an intriguing box of questions, designed to make any get together all the more captivating. Together with our inspiring new Colourful Conversations hub, full of sensational food, wine and styling tips, your next celebration, however big or small, is going to be your best ever. brownbrothers.com.au  #makeitcolourful

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