by Catherine Blyth is a book that I would suggest to everyone. Seriously. Blythe clearly explains the neglected pleasures of conversation and the many problems in today's social agenda. I certainly picked up many good tips and ideas. I'll have to post my notes later on the quotes I liked the most from Blythe's book. Knowing the ins and outs and the history of conversation can teach wonders. The main point to remember in any conversation: Do not embarrass the other party(ies). I have noticed that many times people decide to mock or become rude to others within a conversation and it causes much frustration and disrespect.
For now, here are some quickies to remember:
"Being deferentially friendly is the definitely maybe of getting along, and entails contradictions, since manners are asymmetrical and often what is polite for speakers to imply would be rude for listeners to say."
"Rudeness (ignoring people) X Rudeness (being too direct) = Rudeness^2
Escalation rudeness is a logical outcome, but politeness is surely wiser, and safer."
On page 62, Blythe gives a quote from Civile Conversation by Stefano Guazzo:
"Keepe the mouth more shut, and the ears more open...In companie [ye] shall get the good will and favour of others, as well by giving eare courteously, as by speaking pleasantly. For wee think, they thinke wel of us, which are attentive to our talke."
If only people would realize that you should wait until a person is finished speaking before you begin to speak or ask questions.
Furthermore, Blythe lists for practice six tasks:
And if you think that you are being polite by saying small things like, "I see," or "That's fine." Think again. Blythe tells us "here follow some false friends, which appear to hold out comfort but, like a cross wielded at a vampire, aim to drive others' woes away." And here they are:
Saying "Poor you!" could imply "Victim again - do we detect a pattern here?"
Also, if you say, "I can see why you feel that way." It could come across as, "Are you, perchance, being unreasonable."
Furthermore, saying, "That must have been hard," could imply "but note my use of the past tense: Move on."
Even saying, "That's hilarious," could invoke, "I don't get it."
Needless to say, we all need to work on our conversation tactics and reading this book could be the first step.