Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: side conversations

Picture it – an eight person dinner party at a round table.  Is one group conversation best or is it appropriate for folks to pursue side conversations among themselves? A graceful host thoughtfully initiates the conversation at a dinner party.  No matter how artfully the host opens, I know a guest who inevitably turns to a neighbor and partakes in a side conversation within seconds of the first toast.  I don’t necessarily think this behavior is unforgivably rude, but it is a subtle form of interruption.  Personally, I prefer a more inclusive conversational approach where everyone at the table participates. Lively, entertaining, crackling conversation feeds a successful gathering.  Ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter if there are one or many chats as long as everyone is having a super fun time.  I take my cue from the host, mostly listen, laugh when appropriate, and come prepared with at least one witty anecdote in the event it’s required.  I’m not claiming the prize as most well-mannered dinner guest or anything.  As a strict vegetarian, some hosts regard me as the most high-maintenance dinner guest of all, and I completely understand.