Etiquette Wednesday: Dinner Party Debates


Q: At a friend’s dinner party last month, I got into an intense political debate with a few other guests I barely knew. Our exchange did not derail the party, but the hostess seemed uncomfortable, and later I wondered if we’d all been rude to have come out swinging.

A: Intelligent discussion of an important, interesting topic can be terrific at a dinner party – assuming no one uses offensive language or descends into full-scale arguing. Most subjects – world events, sports, the stock market, even politics – should be fair game, as long as you express yourself in a rational way, listen with an open mind, and don’t insist too vehemently on your own views. Before introducing a possibly controversial subject, first gather some information about your dinner partners. If anyone’s family members are overseas on dangerous assignments, asking what people think about the war on terror might be upsetting. Confronted by someone else’s emotionalism, you may avoid a blowup by calmly saying, “I’ve heard that situation explained differently,” instead of “You’re wrong!” or “That’s not so!” You might move on from an awkward moment by saying something like, “Poor Catherine – I bet she didn’t expect all these fireworks when she invited us over for casserole.”

via Emily Post.

Pugs & Kisses,

Dawn

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