The Habits of Successful Conversationalists

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From Seton Magazine: Blessed Cardinal Newman defines the conduct of a gentleman as the good judgment of avoiding inappropriate subjects or provoking unproductive arguments: “He guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome.” The gentleman avoids confrontations in social situations and “shrinks from what are called scenes” to make the occasion pleasant and harmonious for all in attendance, and in his choice of words “he is one who never inflicts pain,” always conscious of the obligation never to “cause a jar or jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast” by some insensitive comment or reference to some embarrassment in the past. The art of living, then, recognizes the power, grace, and beauty of words to do good, to win hearts, and to civilize human life. Like music, art, and beauty, words too adorn, ennoble, and enrich human existence. . . .

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