How to Talk to Boring
Relatives at Dinner (cont.)

Stockpile Safe Topics that Aren’t the Weather

Sometimes there’s dead air and you need an uncontroversial starter. Here are a few ideas:

“Ask people how they felt about Leona Helmsley leaving her dog $12 million,” says Solomon. “You don’t need a PhD to comment intelligently on newly endowed canines.” In fact, pets are always a popular subject.

Instead of mentioning old high school friends you may have run into (too risky, as they might be more successful or more pregnant than you), try reminiscing about shops and restaurants that used to be in the old ’hood. “Ah yeah, the bagel store. Remember when they used to be 35 cents?” demonstrates Solomon.

Movies. Everybody likes movies. However, “If I’m going to be around a bunch of people who have kids, they’re going to be talking about The Little Mermaid, not Sean Penn’s latest film he wrote and directed,” says Murphy. “So I get online before I go and do a little research” about what the kids are watching these days. Like most things in life, it’s better to come prepared.

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