Many years ago, I read this quote
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt
It changed my perspective. What happens when we stop talking about politics, or religion, and especially gossip?
The short answer: enlightenment (of sorts) begins.
So bear with me. My wife and I love hosting small dinners. We both love to cook, so having friends for dinner is something we love to do. One house rule for the table: No phones, no gossip talk, no political discussions and, no religious preaching. Let us talk about great events and ideas. Whilst they may seem really clichéd we did improvise on it.
Now when we host small dinners, we make it a point to let our guests know, that they would be having a 5-course meal, and the next course only comes when a person on the dinner table tells a short story and then we move on to the next course.
Cheesy you say? Meh you say? Ummm awkward moment you say?
Au contraire, the idea has been extremely welcoming and successful. Dinner conversations are much more enlightening and not to mention memorable. We all walk away from dinner that day, feeling happy. Humans, as far as we can go back, are storytellers, and this is what we do best. Eliminate the gossip or petty talk from your dinner table and you will find yourself pleasantly surprised.
If the idea seems alien or off, don’t let that discourage you. If you can have Pictionary nights, or one-dish parties, or baby showers, etc. you can also very well have an engaging conversation and story-telling time at the dinner table.
Try it out. We certainly did.