In great response to the post Five Modern Dinner Party Conversation Starters, I was asked how to handle moments when you inadvertently step on toes. Here are four topics to avoid this holiday season that are seen as cringe-worthy dinner party conversations. They will leave everyone speechless and are anything but small talk. Additionally, you will find four graceful faux pas fixes.

4 Cringe-Worthy Dinner Party Conversation Topics And Graceful Fixes

  • Recommended by many as a fun and lively conversation topic; “Who is your celebrity crush”? I am not a fan as this could create an uncomfortable situation between couples and I don’t want you to be the one who, as the English say, “dropped the brick”. However, there are only two respectable ways to answer this question; a) my only crush is for my beloved, or b) Betty White. Humor will do wonders to diffuse this situation and mentioning a loved and respected older actress will save the moment.
  • During cocktails and conversation at a lovely dinner party a fellow party guest inquired about the gentleman’s ex-girlfriend. His wife, standing next to him, gracefully laughed it off; but to be polite I excused myself while this faux pas was handled without an audience. It’s never in good taste to ask about ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends at dinner parties. If you must ask this question, please save it for gentleman’s day of golf or ladies day at the spa (although, I think it is best to err on the side of good taste and stay off this topic).   
  • Who doesn’t enjoy a first-class light hearted knee-slapper? Yet rest assured you’ll offend more than one person at the dinner party if you think (after a few glasses of Pinot Noir) the table would enjoy hearing “locker room one liners”. Use caution when telling jokes, know your audience, and think twice, as it will most likely put you in a cringe-worthy light.
  • Never a proper comment to say at a dinner party; “I need to see more cleavage,” and yet one I have heard. The cocktail laden gentleman thought he was being smash-ingly smart. His wife thought it was hilarious. The dinner guest, a beautiful woman on the receiving end, did not. Darlings, even in a Cosmopolitan state of mind, this is never a splendid idea.

How do you patch a blunder if you should find yourself at the helm?

It’s natural to slip up and say something you didn’t mean. How you handle it makes all the difference in your recovery and your reputation. Apologize in a simple and genuine manner. Do not begin a long drawn out explanation (see ps. below) or justify your blunder.

Simply say:

  • I wasn’t thinking – I’m sorry
  • Please forgive me – that did not come out how I meant it
  • I completely blundered – my apologies

If your error is monumental and your verbal apology needs reinforcement:

  • A handwritten apology is recommend

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

  • Have you been on the receiving end of cringe-worthy moment
  • Have you ever said something that was better left unsaid – How did you handle it

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