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Topics to Avoid When Talking to a Person You Barely Know During a Formal Event

Written by Jimmy Rustling

It’s inevitable for you to find random people at a formal event. You might know the person who invited you, but the rest are strangers. You need to socialise, though. It’s your opportunity to expand your social network. Besides, the world runs in circles. You might have the chance to meet these people again, so you need to win them over. Apart from looking good in your suit made by a bespoke tailor, you also have to make sense. You need to have substance when talking.

The difficult part is going through the introductory phase. After introducing your name and a few details about yourself, it could be the end of the conversation. If you’re well-read, you might keep the conversation going, and it’s a good thing. However, you might end up being too eager to say your thoughts, and you forget that you’re talking to someone you barely know. These are the topics to avoid when talking to a stranger in a formal event.


You might want to discuss politics, especially given these interesting times. The news cycle is so quick, and a lot of things are happening on an hourly basis. Despite that, you have to keep things to yourself. Yes, there’s a chance that the other person shares your views, but there’s also a huge chance that the person doesn’t. To be safe, you have to leave this topic out of the list. If it’s awkward to discuss politics with family at Thanksgiving, it’s even worse if you do it with a stranger.


Not everyone adheres to a religious belief, and those who do still belong to different religious denominations. Therefore, you can’t include this topic in the conversation unless you’re at a religious event like a church fundraiser. You might offend the other person or take the discussion through an awkward phase once you bring anything related to religion in to it.


Celebrity gossip is interesting. Even office gossip is fun. The problem is that if this is the first thing you bring up with a person you don’t even know, it shows how shallow you are. You need to talk about things that make sense and have depth. If you can’t, there are other fun topics to talk about like your hobbies and interests. If you want to discuss your job, it’s also a good point of discussion. Gossip is cheap and has no purpose at a formal gathering.

Other people in the room

Perhaps, you know someone else in the room. At least, you know the person celebrating the event. You can talk about that person positively or how you know each other. You can’t go beyond that. Talking trash about that person is inappropriate considering that you already got invited to the event.

There are so many things you could talk about. These are not the only topics available, so there’s no need to go there.


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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.