Conversation: the need of Reciprocity

Ideal conversation should be a matter of equal give and take, but too often is all a “take”.

Once in a while – a very long while – one meets a brilliant person whose talk is a delight; or still more rarely a wit that manipulates every ordinary topic with the agility of a sleight-of-hand performer, to the ever increasing rapture of his listeners.

But as a rule the man who has been led to believe that he is a brilliant and interesting talker has been led to make himself a rapacious pest.

There is a simple rule, by which if one is a voluble chatter ( to be a good talker necessitates a good mind ) one can at least refrain from being a pest or a bore.

And the rule is merely to stop and think.

Emily Post’s Etiquette

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