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  #61  
Old May 1st, 2012, 01:52 PM
can1052 can1052 is offline
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To the OP, it's clear you like to discuss these topics for curiosity or education's sake, but some people can either misinterpret your intentions, get defensive of their views, or just be easliy offended. Like another poster said, it's best to get a feel for the other people at your table before discussing certain topics. Sometimes something can start off innocently enough and then turn into a heated debate. I prefer to avoid these topics, but if someone wants to discuss them in a way that is not too preachy or judgemental, I think it can be very interesting to learn about other people's cultures and beliefs.
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  #62  
Old May 1st, 2012, 02:12 PM
sail7seas sail7seas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisemom42 View Post
No one is suggesting that you ask someone's religion. But religion as a topic of conversation should not (in my book) be out of the realm of a great discussion. Let's say you'd been to Haifa that day to visit the B'hai Temple and that you hadn't known much about their faith before. Might make a good conversation, no? Yet, it is religion. Or perhaps, after a visit to a mosque one might find oneself thinking about and discussing the differences among the world's great religions....



Who says it has to be a heated discussion? In my experience, discussions tend to get heated most quickly when one of the parties really doesn't have much factual info to back up their position and then resorts to emotion. But I don't think anyone really likes THOSE kinds of discussions, save perhaps a few TV personalities.

I was on a cruise last year on a small ship called the Aegean Odyssey. There is no fixed seating, but because it is a small ship, you tend to get to know others. On the first night, the head waiter seated a group of solo women travelers together at an eight-top and (with one substitution), we all chose to sit together every night thereafter. We ranged in age from 40s to 90 (!), hailed from 4 different countries, and had very different political opinions and life experiences. Yet we enjoyed fantastic and broad-ranging conversations every night that included anything and everything from politics to religion to the prostitution of young girls in Thailand.......along with history, home remodeling, and great personal and travel stories.

I would never have gotten to know this wonderful group of women so well if we had limited our conversation to what we did in port that day and what we planned to do the next.

Just speaking for myself,

I would not welcome that conversation with strangers at a dinner table on a cruise ship.

We have managed to have very pleasant conversations through a great many years of a great many cruises without discussing anyone's religion.

And yes, even the day we visited B'Hai Temple in Haifa, we still felt no need to discuss religion.

Were that subject to arise directed at me, I would skirt it and divert the conversation elsewhere.

If others at the table wished to have that conversation, I would not interrupt.

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  #63  
Old May 1st, 2012, 02:40 PM
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Hey Big Keith, come sit with us, we will talk about anything!

  #64  
Old May 1st, 2012, 02:42 PM
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Default The Art of Conversation

I think it is more of a challenge these days to hold a conversation which will not have the potential to offend. However, some good manners and common sense will likely avoid or solve most problems.

A couple of years ago I joined a couple for breakfast. To start the conversation, I asked where they were from, and what they did for a living. I could quickly tell that the latter question was not welcome, so we switched topics and had a really nice conversation about their cruising experiences, and places they had visited.

  #65  
Old May 1st, 2012, 02:46 PM
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After reading through everyone's comments, there's one topic I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned, but could lead to some very funny comments. I think most husbands will agree with me on this. A wife should not mention that her husband's snoring sounds like a lumberjack clearing a forest! And if she does, it's only fair that the husband gets to say that she is not allowed to put her ice-cold feet on him!
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  #66  
Old May 1st, 2012, 04:43 PM
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Being from Canada, I quite often get asked about politics, it is always interesting comparing our two versions of democracy. I also always get grilled about our medical system.

  #67  
Old May 1st, 2012, 05:08 PM
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As a slight side-road to this topic, I like to have a few stock replies to use if the conversation gets into an area I'd rather not follow. I have no problem discussing virtually anything, until my companion starts trying to convert me to his/her way of thinking. This is whether it's religion, politics or any of the other topics mentioned.

I'm going to be on a cruise in New Zealand in November, shortly after the US Presidential election. I'm already sick of it and really will not want to answer about how I feel about the result. I'll be relieved or disappointed but I won't want to talk about it.

Anyway, some of my favorites:

"What an interesting question." Then I change the subject

if it's about income or what I paid for the cruise: "Not nearly enough" or "Far too much" and then I change the subject.

And there is the ever-popular "Well, bless your heart".

Oh, and when someone tries to hand me a tract trying to convert me to their religion, I use something I heard a friend once say "Let's save us both a lot of time and YOU throw it away."
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  #68  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:09 PM
juanarcin juanarcin is offline
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What I find interesting from this topic is that in a way OP's question as to why these questions cant be asked, is being answered by peoples reactions. Ive seen that more than one person has been offended by OP just asking and/or talked down on him as if he was actually discussing these topics. His topic was about him disagreeing with what can and cant be said, or the way I take it : "why should we limit what we discuss?" he never said anything like, "Do any of you know where I can get a coupon for an abortion?" Yet a lot of people on here are treating him as if those are the discussions he is having at every table conversation. I fell that his statement/question is there in plain English. In a way trying to find out why people can get so sensitive about certain topics. he isnt saying he wants badly to discuss these topics and no one lets him! So IMO its funny how peoples reactions on this thread is actually answering his question. the reason certain topics shouldnt be brought up isnt because they are offensive or wrong, but more likely because not every one is mature enough or in the right state of mind to discuss them without conflict. I personally wouldnt bring up many topics for this very exact reason, however some of the best discussions Ive had IN MY LIFE are in regards to at least three of these subjects. Its a shame that people let their emotions interfere with what could be a very interesting and insightful conversation.

  #69  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euro cruiser View Post
Yes, but some people seem to have an extremely narrow set of comfortable topics. Must everyone at the table accept the constraints of the least flexible among them?
Sort of. If a hot topic starts & somebody deflects the conversation with one of those it's-clear-I-don't-want-to-talk-about-this conversation changers, it's best to let it drop. I'm all for a healthy debate with some one as engaged in the subject as I am, especially on opposing sides, but I will always respect someone else's decision to not talk about it.

Several years ago on a cruise we were having dinner with some CC friends. There were about 16 of us. At one end of the table we were engaged in a robust political debate about all the "no no" subjects. We weren't loud but we were intense. The wife of one of the guys I was having the discussion with came over & told him to stop talking about politics. She thought she was "protecting me". I asked if the discussion was bothering her or if we were getting loud. She said no. I told her we were having fun going back & forth. She rolled her eyes, said "more power to you" & happily walked back to the other side of the table.
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  #70  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:31 PM
sail7seas sail7seas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachbum53 View Post
After reading through everyone's comments, there's one topic I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned, but could lead to some very funny comments. I think most husbands will agree with me on this. A wife should not mention that her husband's snoring sounds like a lumberjack clearing a forest! And if she does, it's only fair that the husband gets to say that she is not allowed to put her ice-cold feet on him!


Not every wife has ice-cold feet.



Quote:
Originally Posted by magandab View Post
As a slight side-road to this topic, I like to have a few stock replies to use if the conversation gets into an area I'd rather not follow. I have no problem discussing virtually anything, until my companion starts trying to convert me to his/her way of thinking. This is whether it's religion, politics or any of the other topics mentioned.

I'm going to be on a cruise in New Zealand in November, shortly after the US Presidential election. I'm already sick of it and really will not want to answer about how I feel about the result. I'll be relieved or disappointed but I won't want to talk about it.

Anyway, some of my favorites:

"What an interesting question." Then I change the subject

if it's about income or what I paid for the cruise: "Not nearly enough" or "Far too much" and then I change the subject.

And there is the ever-popular "Well, bless your heart".

Oh, and when someone tries to hand me a tract trying to convert me to their religion, I use something I heard a friend once say "Let's save us both a lot of time and YOU throw it away."

Yes !

I love the one about YOU throw it away.



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  #71  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:48 PM
swsfrail swsfrail is offline
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Full disclaimer: I am not a religious person.

Having lived as long as I have, I have come to believe that religion is the cause of more evil than good. The most biased, prejudiced, intolerant and unforgiving people who I have had the misfortune of crossing paths with in my many years have been deeply religious people. Throughout history more wars, killings, subjugation, and ethnic cleansing have been done in the name of religion than all else combined.

These are some of the main reasons I have no interest in talking to you about religion, have no interest in hearing about your religious beliefs, have no interest in being "saved" by you, and especially have no interest in being expected to act in a way that meets with your particular religious mores.

Keep the topic at our shared table safe, non-controversial, and we can be good friends. Bring religion up, and you have earned my scorn and you will know it.

  #72  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:53 PM
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beachbum53 beachbum53 is offline
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[quote=sail7seas;33595105] Not every wife has ice-cold feet. [/quote]

Well, he should have some recourse in the event his snoring is discussed.
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  #73  
Old May 1st, 2012, 06:57 PM
BigKeith BigKeith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juanarcin View Post
What I find interesting from this topic is that in a way OP's question as to why these questions cant be asked, is being answered by peoples reactions. Ive seen that more than one person has been offended by OP just asking and/or talked down on him as if he was actually discussing these topics. His topic was about him disagreeing with what can and cant be said, or the way I take it : "why should we limit what we discuss?" he never said anything like, "Do any of you know where I can get a coupon for an abortion?" Yet a lot of people on here are treating him as if those are the discussions he is having at every table conversation. I fell that his statement/question is there in plain English. In a way trying to find out why people can get so sensitive about certain topics. he isnt saying he wants badly to discuss these topics and no one lets him! So IMO its funny how peoples reactions on this thread is actually answering his question. the reason certain topics shouldnt be brought up isnt because they are offensive or wrong, but more likely because not every one is mature enough or in the right state of mind to discuss them without conflict. I personally wouldnt bring up many topics for this very exact reason, however some of the best discussions Ive had IN MY LIFE are in regards to at least three of these subjects. Its a shame that people let their emotions interfere with what could be a very interesting and insightful conversation.
My thoughs also. What i thought would be a light hearted thread seems to have got some people quite riled. Not sure at all why though
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  #74  
Old May 1st, 2012, 07:03 PM
navybankerteacher navybankerteacher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swsfrail View Post
Full disclaimer: I am not a religious person.

Your saying this is, of course, discussing religion.

Having lived as long as I have, I have come to believe that religion is the cause of more evil than good. The most biased, prejudiced, intolerant and unforgiving people who I have had the misfortune of crossing paths with in my many years have been deeply religious people. Throughout history more wars, killings, subjugation, and ethnic cleansing have been done in the name of religion than all else combined.

This, unfortunately, is a valid point. It's a shame you feel it should not be stated.

These are some of the main reasons I have no interest in talking to you about religion, have no interest in hearing about your religious beliefs, have no interest in being "saved" by you, and especially have no interest in being expected to act in a way that meets with your particular religious mores.

Agreed: being treated to an effort to convert me is not my idea of an enjoyable conversation. However, discussing how such an approach is offensive surely makes sense.

Keep the topic at our shared table safe, non-controversial, and we can be good friends. Bring religion up, and you have earned my scorn and you will know it.
You seem to have fallen into a trap of your own making.


The point is: virtually any topic can be discussed in an intelligent fashion -- it is just the dogmatic approach (such as yours) which can turn any topic into a minefield.
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  #75  
Old May 1st, 2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navybankerteacher View Post
The point is: virtually any topic can be discussed in an intelligent fashion -- it is just the dogmatic approach (such as yours) which can turn any topic into a minefield.
I think that is exactly what swsfrail was saying - her feeling on this topic, which she has as much a right as anyone else to have, is a good example of why it's not a good idea to bring these topics up. Not everyone sits on the same side of these controversial topics. Like coming upon a dog wandering loose - it's safer to avoid it than to try to approach the "nice doggy" to pet it and end up getting bitten.

People sitting at her table who never bring up the topic of religion will never know how "dogmatic" she may be. And that would be a good thing for everyone, wouldn't it?

Last edited by fortinweb; May 1st, 2012 at 07:31 PM.

  #76  
Old May 1st, 2012, 07:54 PM
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I would also add that I do not want to hear how wonderful your grand kids or pets are and I do not want to see pictures of either.

DON

  #77  
Old May 1st, 2012, 08:03 PM
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I would also add that I do not want to hear how wonderful your grand kids or pets are and I do not want to see pictures of either.

DON
Amen !!! Oh, the irony

Last edited by room010; May 1st, 2012 at 08:04 PM.

  #78  
Old May 1st, 2012, 08:35 PM
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Default Couldn't disagree with you more.

The lady is right on.cruise ship dinner table is not the place for serious religious discussion. Period!

Quote:
Originally Posted by navybankerteacher View Post
You seem to have fallen into a trap of your own making.


The point is: virtually any topic can be discussed in an intelligent fashion -- it is just the dogmatic approach (such as yours) which can turn any topic into a minefield.

Last edited by Don P; May 1st, 2012 at 08:38 PM.

  #79  
Old May 1st, 2012, 08:41 PM
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  #80  
Old May 1st, 2012, 09:05 PM
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My husband and I enjoy the anytime dining option. It has afforded us the opportunity of meeting many people from various states and countries. I very much look forward to learning about their countries or states and ask questions. They in turn feel free then to ask questions about my country or state. Increasingly often I find that they are far more informed about my place of residence than I am of theirs. When a topic comes up that my husband or I are uncomfortable in pursuing we've found that a minimal response and simple redirection of the conversation topic towards another direction is not that hard to accompllish.

While I am open to hearing what my tablemates think about my country I do not personally want to be taken to task for the actions of our elected representatives. If, during the course of conversation you ask for my opinion, please do not be disrespectful it if it differs from yours.

We 've been fortunate that nearly all of our tablemates on past cruises have been cordial, interesting and contributed to a great cruise experience. I truly can only recall two incidents in which DH and I excused ourselves from the table the moment our entrees were completed.

Having the opportunity of meeting and talking with people from all over the world is one reason that we enjoy cruises.

Last edited by jean95404; May 1st, 2012 at 09:11 PM.

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