Remember how fascinated you were the last time someone told you a detailed plot of their favorite movie?

Didn’t think so.

Detailing a movie plot is just one of “Seven Topics to Avoid if You Don’t Want to Risk Being a Bore” according to Gretchen Rubin, an author, lawyer, and former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Rubin is the author of a book entitled “The Happiness Project” in which she spends a year testing theories and tips on how to be happier.

According to Rubin, the seven topics to avoid are:

  • A dream.
  • The recent changes in your child’s nap schedule.
  • The route you took to get here.
  • An excellent meal you once had at a restaurant.
  • The latest additions to your wine cellar.
  • An account of your last golf game.
  • The plot of a movie or play—in particular, the funny parts.

The problem with these topics, Rubin notes, is that your listener usually has nothing to add. All they can really do is listen politely.

Rubin adds that these topics could well be fascinating depending on how well you tell a story or the avowed interest of your listener. If the person you’re speaking to is a fellow wine nut, then by all means, talk about your wine cellar.

But beware of glazed looks.

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, or on the web at

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