The Art of Conversation


I am traveling with a friend of mine all over Europe in a big bus.

Yes, I left the husband at home with the kids. Can’t really have fun if either of them is around, you know?

So we have been on one of the many tours of Europe that you can do with a group and a tour guide. This helps you get from point A to point B and lets you cut in line at the Eiffel Tower and the Vatican which leaves more time for sightseeing and photography.

However, when you are touring Europe with a group and are forced to sit at tables with a new group of strangers at each meal, having someone with you that is good at making conversation is essential.

Personally, I am not good at conversation at all unless I am in the office playing the role of doctor. I love talking to people in that setting. They generally welcome me prying into their lives. Outside of that box, however, I don’t know how much people want me nosing around in their business and I am not really sure that I want them nosing around in mine.

One of the particularly difficult questions for me on these types of tours is “What do you do?”

I try the “I am in healthcare line,” but no one is OK with that answer. If I say that I am a physician, suddenly everyone is either self conscious because they feel I am judging them, or they start asking me about what I think about the Affordable Care Act or if I agree with dear old Aunt Editha’s treatment for stroke last year.

So, my friend has done a marvelous job of deflecting the attention away from me, even if she is not aware of what she is doing. For this, I am very, very grateful.

At the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy.


15 thoughts on “The Art of Conversation

  1. Maybe you’re an introvert by nature? Last year I read “The Introvert Advantage” — it dispels the innacurate belief that being shy and being introverted are the same thing. I prefer one on one conversation that has depth, but can also keep conversation going in a group setting by taking leadership role. I believe, and this sounds a little cynical, that people in general like talking about themselves. The big group conversations, hmm, they just leave me tired at the end of an evening – it feels like work.
    Thanks for listening ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so totally hear you! People are either intimidated (usually guys), or they want to tell you about all their medical problems. I even had someone who thought I was lying so started to interrogate me about who I knew and which hospital I worked in!! When people ask, I usually tell them I don’t work, I am a lady of leisure because I have a rich husband. (I wish)! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think we women still have difficult being assertive and saying No. Perhaps the appropriate response is to say “I’m a doctor, but I’m on vacation right now, and it is so wonderful not to have to answer one single medical question!”

    Then, if they persist, you can remind them: “I’m sorry, but I’m on vacation/out for the evening/enjoying the opera/out with my husband right now/(fill in the blank). Here’s my card, if you wish to call and make an appointment when I’m at work.”

    Liked by 1 person

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