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BigKeith

Rules for conversation in the dining room!

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

 

A "serious religious discussion" need not involve proselytizing any more than a discussion about art has to involve trying to convince someone that a particular style which you like is better than the type they prefer.

 

Any topic can turn poisonous if handled badly -- and virtually any topic can be discussed rationally and objectively if personal bias is kept out.

 

What this thread seems to be developing is the notion that no topic of any significance can be handled by the average cruise passenger without bounds of civilized communication being crossed.

 

Of course, any topic should be broached carefully -- you never can tell when some unexpected reference will light someone's fuse.

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We had a nice discussion during lunch on our recent cruise about one of the "no-no" - politics.

 

The other couple was from Australia and the discussion was not about politicians but about how things were done - voting, types of representation, etc. and it turned out to be very informative.

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A discussion about the mechanics of politics usually goes fine. It is when personalities are brought into the conversation there can be some heated exchanges.

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I find it really interesting that throughout so much of history, enlightened discourse with others has been one of the most preferred ways of learning, from the ancient Greeks right through to the Enlightenment. Yet now we cannot be trusted to talk civilly to one another about anything other than the most mundane topics....

 

I wonder why this is so?

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I find it really interesting that throughout so much of history, enlightened discourse with others has been one of the most preferred ways of learning, from the ancient Greeks right through to the Enlightenment. Yet now we cannot be trusted to talk civilly to one another about anything other than the most mundane topics....

 

I wonder why this is so?

 

I suspect that the difference is partly between a social situation with strangers, and entering a place such as a university, where deeper discussions are expected.

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I suspect that the difference is partly between a social situation with strangers, and entering a place such as a university, where deeper discussions are expected.

 

Well, not necessarily. I'm thinking more of all those great symposia (which basically were Greek drinking parties with dancing girls and some philosophy on the side)? :eek: Or the dinner table conversations in the 18th century that have been recorded (on paper)?

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The art of discussion is dead and people are no longer able to distinguish between debate and argument. They allow their personal feelings to intrude and its downhill after that. They interpret a different view as an "attack" so there's no hope of a calm, rational exchange of opinion.

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Why would?

How Would?

Someone casually happen to ask what religion you are after just meeting you at a cruise ship dining table? :confused:

 

I can think of no graceful way someone would introduce that question or why they would.

 

 

 

Well lets see... Oh and here is a picture of my daughter and grandson at his Christening...My son just got married last month ,it was at this beautiful old church St whats its name...your dress is very lovely "oh thank you I bought if for my nieces first holy communion last year"

There are things people say in just regular fashion that can bring up religion. It is not always someone shoving it down your throat.

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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.

 

Thanks for your disclaimer, but I think I could have detected your lack of religious belief even without it.

 

If I am to take your last sentence at face value, then any mention of religion -- even something as innocuous as "What did I do today? Well, this morning I attended the on-board worship service" -- will bring down your scorn upon me. Apparently, your lack of religious faith has not made you particularly considerate towards those who have some, if they dare to reveal it.

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Well lets see... Oh and here is a picture of my daughter and grandson at his Christening...My son just got married last month ,it was at this beautiful old church St whats its name...your dress is very lovely "oh thank you I bought if for my nieces first holy communion last year"

There are things people say in just regular fashion that can bring up religion. It is not always someone shoving it down your throat.

 

Those scenarios state, most appropriately, what religion the people being referenced follow.

 

It most politely does not ask what religion the listener is.

 

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Well, not necessarily. I'm thinking more of all those great symposia (which basically were Greek drinking parties with dancing girls and some philosophy on the side)? :eek: Or the dinner table conversations in the 18th century that have been recorded (on paper)?

Throughout my many years behind the bar some of the most entertaining customers were drunk philosophers! (in the sense that many drunks become philosophers ...) Oh, and poets! Especially drunk cowboy poets (where are you Baxter Black?). :D

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Thanks for your disclaimer, but I think I could have detected your lack of religious belief even without it.

 

If I am to take your last sentence at face value, then any mention of religion -- even something as innocuous as "What did I do today? Well, this morning I attended the on-board worship service" -- will bring down your scorn upon me. Apparently, your lack of religious faith has not made you particularly considerate towards those who have some, if they dare to reveal it.

 

In my 80+ years of being around people, the one consistent aspect about religion is how strongly people feel their's is the "true" religion, and any others are misguided. I have had to endure too many supposed friendly conversations where the main focus was that belief in the "wrong" religion must be corrected. Rarely have people who brought up the subject acted in a balanced, nonjudgmental manner to strongly opposite views.

 

Take my beliefs for instance. If the subject were brought up and I admitted my lack of religious faith, how many of you "faithful" would resist the opportunity to try to straighten me out. Few, is my experience. You all seem to consider it a personal challenge to steer me to the right path. It is quite apparent that the lack of consideration for opposite views certainly works both ways - I am not the only one guilty of that charge.

 

Suffice it to say that I am too old to be told what I must do to be saved. It is simply too late to change me now. Besides, I don't believe in such fantasy stories anyway.

Edited by swsfrail

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Suffice it to say that I am too old to be told what I must do to be saved. It is simply too late to change me now. Besides, I don't believe in such fantasy stories anyway.

 

Precisely. As an athiest I often have to put up with the strongly devout trying to "save" me. I don't need saving, thank you very much. I don't try to convince them that their religious beliefs are wrong, why do they try to convince me that I'm wrong? And why is it that I have to be respectful of other's religious beliefs, when they're not respectful of mine? I don't believe in religion, that's my belief. Please don't try to shove yours down my throat. And yes, that's what very often ends up happening because invariably someone will decide that I'm obviously just not educated enough about religion or haven't heard enough about it or that it's their mission to "save" me, and from then on every single interaction with them includes "friendly" lectures on why I simply must see the light and embrace their religion.

 

One of these days I'm going to make up religion centered around my cats, and when people try to "save" me I'm going to give them literature about the Great Cat. Maybe then they'll just decide that I'm nuts and leave me alone.

 

I'm perfectly fine having a debate on the merits of and differences between religions - but honestly I'd rather not have an intensive debate about *anything* at the dinner table.

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This has been a very interesting thread. I think that given the folks I may meet and enjoy talking to on a cruise (about where they are from, what kind of work they do, hobbies, etc.) they are new acquaintances, and I think it's best to avoid the hot topics mentioned in the posts above.

 

I am a university professor and, in that setting, all topics are game for discussion and debate provided the engagement is civil.

 

I don't want to get into it on vacation. Nor, do I want to feel angry, intimidated, insulted or stuck at a table with people who make feel that way. I want to have fun!:)

But, that's me. If two people want to engage in serious controversial topic discussions , have at it. But, leave me out.

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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.

With our country becoming more and more "pansified" over the years, this is bound to happen. People get offended over everything these days.

I find it really interesting that throughout so much of history, enlightened discourse with others has been one of the most preferred ways of learning, from the ancient Greeks right through to the Enlightenment. Yet now we cannot be trusted to talk civilly to one another about anything other than the most mundane topics....

 

I wonder why this is so?

See above answer.

 

The art of discussion is dead and people are no longer able to distinguish between debate and argument. They allow their personal feelings to intrude and its downhill after that. They interpret a different view as an "attack" so there's no hope of a calm, rational exchange of opinion.

It amazes me how many adults today get their feelings hurt like they're in the third grade. Not too long in the future we won't be having discussions about anything anymore. People will just sit silently at the table, too afraid to talk to the person next to them for fear they might offend them by saying hello.

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I find it really interesting that throughout so much of history, enlightened discourse with others has been one of the most preferred ways of learning, from the ancient Greeks right through to the Enlightenment. Yet now we cannot be trusted to talk civilly to one another about anything other than the most mundane topics....

 

I wonder why this is so?

 

Wonder no longer - a lot of people are complete utter morons.:rolleyes:

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One of these days I'm going to make up religion centered around my cats, and when people try to "save" me I'm going to give them literature about the Great Cat.

 

I would encourage you to join my church, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

 

One of the requirements is you should be fond of beer.

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Throughout my many years behind the bar some of the most entertaining customers were drunk philosophers! (in the sense that many drunks become philosophers ...) Oh, and poets! Especially drunk cowboy poets (where are you Baxter Black?). :D

 

Exactly! I'd love to have dinner (or a few drinks) with him.

 

Wonder no longer - a lot of people are complete utter morons.:rolleyes:

 

Thanks for giving me my first good laugh of the day.

 

Given the responses on this thread, perhaps cruise lines should institute a "matching" program for dining partners. If you want to share a table with others, you have to check off what level of conversation you're comfortable with, ranging from Moribund ("Please pass the rolls.") to in-depth discussions (without heat or rancor, in my perfect world....:rolleyes:).

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Exactly! I'd love to have dinner (or a few drinks) with him.

It's an experience! :D

 

Just imagine "A Vegetarian's Nightmare" recited, quite dramatically, about three inches from your nose (after a fair amount of tequila). And that was about five minutes after meeting him.

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I don't want to get into it on vacation. Nor, do I want to feel angry, intimidated, insulted or stuck at a table with people who make feel that way. I want to have fun!:)

But, that's me. If two people want to engage in serious controversial topic discussions , have at it. But, leave me out.

 

Exactly! We go on vacation to relax and unwind. Neither DH or I have any interest in getting into a heavy duty philosophical discussions with perfect strangers over dinner! We have friends and family to serve that roll at home! This is especially true at a larger table where one or two people might be thoroughly enjoying their spirited discussion, but the rest of their tablemates might be very uncomfortable. This is why we now choose tables sized for the group of us travelling - whether that be just DH and I or with another couple. We have plenty of chances to talk to strangers when we are out and about the ship throughout the day, no need to bring that to the dinner table where we are for all intensive purposes a captive market!

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This is especially true at a larger table where one or two people might be thoroughly enjoying their spirited discussion, but the rest of their tablemates might be very uncomfortable.

This is not directed towards you, but to anyone who's made similar comments. We are not children. We are adults who are in control over our thoughts. Why are you letting something like words coming out of someone's mouth make you uncomfortable? Every child had heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yet we get older and some people feel the need to be insulted, offended, or made uncomfortable by someone else's words. It's baffling that your comfort level can be affected by conversation. Now if someone is getting verbally berated, yelled at, or any other aggressive or mean comments directed to them I suppose that could be a different story. But to be bothered by conversation? I don't get it.

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Hypothetical opening comments at dinner:

 

"Hi everyone, I'm on the sex offenders list. I hate having to tell the authorities every time we change ports. anyone else in my boat?"

 

"Hi everyone, I just got a text message from my unmarried eighteen year old daughter asking me if I thought $1,000 for a late term abortion was a lot of money. I told her I'd ask at dinner tonight and get back to her."

 

Lighten up folks......find safe enjoyable subjects to put you in the right frame of mind for dinner. It won't be a reflection on your intellectual capabilities and no one will think less of you.

 

This is not directed towards you, but to anyone who's made similar comments. We are not children. We are adults who are in control over our thoughts. Why are you letting something like words coming out of someone's mouth make you uncomfortable? Every child had heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yet we get older and some people feel the need to be insulted, offended, or made uncomfortable by someone else's words. It's baffling that your comfort level can be affected by conversation. Now if someone is getting verbally berated, yelled at, or any other aggressive or mean comments directed to them I suppose that could be a different story. But to be bothered by conversation? I don't get it.
Edited by Don P

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I hope that communion consists of a glass of red wine with a plate of nice linguini with marinara sauce. :D

 

I'd prefer some fava beans and nice chianti. :D

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This is not directed towards you, but to anyone who's made similar comments. We are not children. We are adults who are in control over our thoughts. Why are you letting something like words coming out of someone's mouth make you uncomfortable? Every child had heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yet we get older and some people feel the need to be insulted, offended, or made uncomfortable by someone else's words. It's baffling that your comfort level can be affected by conversation. Now if someone is getting verbally berated, yelled at, or any other aggressive or mean comments directed to them I suppose that could be a different story. But to be bothered by conversation? I don't get it.

 

And conversely, I find some people entirely oblivious to what constitutes polite dinner conversation among strangers. How hard is it to understand that MANY people on vacation do not want to get into political, religious or any other philosophical discussion with strangers? For example, the party we were seated with a few years ago spent most of our dinners together demanding that I defend U.S. policies around the world. I was insulted, offended AND made to feel uncomfortable, because I was brought up to have better manners than to argue those points with strangers.

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And conversely, I find some people entirely oblivious to what constitutes polite dinner conversation among strangers. How hard is it to understand that MANY people on vacation do not want to get into political, religious or any other philosophical discussion with strangers? For example, the party we were seated with a few years ago spent most of our dinners together demanding that I defend U.S. policies around the world. I was insulted, offended AND made to feel uncomfortable, because I was brought up to have better manners than to argue those points with strangers.

 

Demanding? Arguing? Well of course that would make anyone uncomfortable. I think, though, that we are talking about discussing.

 

I suppose one person's discussion may be another's argument, however...

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Demanding? Arguing? Well of course that would make anyone uncomfortable. I think, though, that we are talking about discussing.

 

I suppose one person's discussion may be another's argument, however...

 

Yes, they certainly seemed to be enjoying their "discussion" with us.

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Hypothetical opening comments at dinner:

 

"Hi everyone, I'm on the sex offenders list. I hate having to tell the authorities every time we change ports. anyone else in my boat?"

 

"Hi everyone, I just got a text message from my unmarried eighteen year old daughter asking me if I thought $1,000 for a late term abortion was a lot of money. I told her I'd ask at dinner tonight and get back to her."

 

Lighten up folks......find safe enjoyable subjects to put you in the right frame of mind for dinner. It won't be a reflection on your intellectual capabilities and no one will think less of you.

 

 

Sure......as if this is what is under discussion here. :rolleyes: You can't seriously think this is what's being advocated.

 

"Safe" subjects put me to sleep. A lively discussion where I can hopefully learn something new is what puts me in the right frame of mind for dinner. Not everyone is the same.

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If the subject were brought up and I admitted my lack of religious faith, how many of you "faithful" would resist the opportunity to try to straighten me out.

I would. But then again, my faith does not advocate prostelytising.

 

Lighten up folks......find safe enjoyable subjects to put you in the right frame of mind for dinner.

And those are?

 

We've already been told on this thread that where you're from, what you do for a living, your kids, your grandchildren, your pets are off-limits.

 

I'm sure people can argue about whether the entertainment is any good - that could divisive at the dinner table.

 

Are we left only with the weather?

 

And people wonder why folks seem much less "friendly" nowadays - perhaps because it's easier to say nothing than to remember all these "rules."

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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

 

And for that matter, please don't assume I have children at home and when I tell you I don't, please don't look at me like I have a genetic defect.

I chose not to have children.

 

OP-great topic! Thanks

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... For example, the party we were seated with a few years ago spent most of our dinners together demanding that I defend U.S. policies around the world.

 

OOOH! Would I have had a good time with them, responding with:

 

"As the most powerful nation on planet earth I have always been an advocate of totally annihilating every country on the planet. Then we would not have to justify anything, especially this ridiculous conversation."

They would have loved me.:eek:

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Demanding? Arguing? Well of course that would make anyone uncomfortable. I think, though, that we are talking about discussing.

 

 

 

I suppose one person's discussion may be another's argument, however...

 

 

And, THAT is the point.

 

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I would. But then again, my faith does not advocate prostelytising.

 

 

And those are?

 

We've already been told on this thread that where you're from, what you do for a living, your kids, your grandchildren, your pets are off-limits.

 

I'm sure people can argue about whether the entertainment is any good - that could divisive at the dinner table.

 

Are we left only with the weather?

 

And people wonder why folks seem much less "friendly" nowadays - perhaps because it's easier to say nothing than to remember all these "rules."

 

 

You might consider raising subjects about which you have things in common:

 

The ship you are sailing

The ports you are visiting

The entertainment on the ship

The good or bad weather you've enjoyed or not during the trip

The menu/dinner you are at that moment eating

My fish is delicious, how is your prime rib - probably will bring you to conversation about foods you/they like or not

Ships and travel in general

 

Those topics are bound to bring you to 'safe ports' to continue the conversation in a comfortable direction.

If your table 'clicks', it's great and your conversation will evolve. If the table does not 'click', you have offended no one.

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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Hypothetical opening comments at dinner:

 

"Hi everyone, I'm on the sex offenders list. I hate having to tell the authorities every time we change ports. anyone else in my boat?"

 

"Hi everyone, I just got a text message from my unmarried eighteen year old daughter asking me if I thought $1,000 for a late term abortion was a lot of money. I told her I'd ask at dinner tonight and get back to her."

 

Lighten up folks......find safe enjoyable subjects to put you in the right frame of mind for dinner. It won't be a reflection on your intellectual capabilities and no one will think less of you.

As extreme as those examples are, I can see you not wanting to discuss them or finding them inappropriate for dinner. That would be your choice. My comment was not about what you find appropriate, but more along the lines of how as an adult, that would cause you to feel offended or uncomfortable. Those are extreme feelings that shouldn't be brought on by simple dinner conversation. Again, it's seems all part of the "panzification" of America. At times, it seems we're becoming a country of little girls.

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As extreme as those examples are, I can see you not wanting to discuss them or finding them inappropriate for dinner. That would be your choice. My comment was not about what you find appropriate, but more along the lines of how as an adult, that would cause you to feel offended or uncomfortable. Those are extreme feelings that shouldn't be brought on by simple dinner conversation. Again, it's seems all part of the "panzification" of America. At times, it seems we're becoming a country of little girls.

 

Emily Post (1922): "Talk about things you think will be agreeable to your hearer."

 

"Try to do and say those things only which will be agreeable to others."

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It seems to me a person has multiple choices if at this table. Contribute to the discussion is one choice. Another would be to ignore the question, and yet another would be to ask the Maitre dei for another table. In other words do whatever you want. A lot of these posts are trying to make fine points. They remind me of my kids. Oh waiter! Table change please.

 

UOTE=secret1122;33606484]As extreme as those examples are, I can see you not wanting to discuss them or finding them inappropriate for dinner. That would be your choice. My comment was not about what you find appropriate, but more along the lines of how as an adult, that would cause you to feel offended or uncomfortable. Those are extreme feelings that shouldn't be brought on by simple dinner conversation. Again, it's seems all part of the "panzification" of America. At times, it seems we're becoming a country of little girls.

Edited by Don P

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You might consider raising subjects about which you have things in common:

 

The ship you are sailing

The ports you are visiting

The entertainment on the ship

The good or bad weather you've enjoyed or not during the trip

The menu/dinner you are at that moment eating

My fish is delicious, how is your prime rib - probably will bring you to conversation about foods you/they like or not

Ships and travel in general

 

Those topics are bound to bring you to 'safe ports' to continue the conversation in a comfortable direction.

If your table 'clicks', it's great and your conversation will evolve. If the table does not 'click', you have offended no one.

 

 

Just as you find discussions of children and pets offensive (or at least disagreeable), I can virtually guarantee that there will be people who believe that the topics you listed above will also be disagreeable. Particularly if one of the guests at your table is the complaining type.

 

Just look at all the "hot button" topics on these boards!

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Just as you find discussions of children and pets offensive (or at least disagreeable), I can virtually guarantee that there will be people who believe that the topics you listed above will also be disagreeable. Particularly if one of the guests at your table is the complaining type.

 

Just look at all the "hot button" topics on these boards!

 

 

They may find the subjects boring but they will not find them offensive. ;)

 

And therein lies the difference.

 

 

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It seems to me that a lot of Americans, in particular, are overly sensitive to what in most other cultures would simply be considered a discussion. I keep reading over and over in this thread about folks feeling "attacked" or that others "demanded" that they "defend" positions, etc. I work with French colleagues daily and also have traveled quite a bit for business reasons and I find many times that discussions with Europeans tend to be much more direct and in-depth and range over many of these topics -- even with business associates I barely know. Same with Australians and (perhaps to a lesser extent) Canadians.

 

I've sat at many different tables on many cruises (I prefer open seating to fixed and so will sit with different folks most nights) and only once can I say that someone at one of those tables attacked or even heatedly discussed a "hot button" topic in an insensitive way.

 

Why must conversation devolve to the lowest common denominator? Can't we all get out of our comfort zone just a little for the happiness of all? I'm willing to hear how delicious your fish is or how precious your grandchildren are if you'll reciprocate by indulging in some more substantial conversation as well.

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I don't need to defend it and I don't want to discuss it. I have no problem wanting to think relaxing and beautiful thoughts for a week.

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