Home » (Criticisms and Critiques) » Advice. A Quote. Of Conversation.

Advice. A Quote. Of Conversation.

One thing that makes it difficult to find people who seem reasonable and pleasant in conversation is that almost all think first about what they want to say and not about how to respond precisely to what has been said. The cleverest and most indulgent see fit to put an attentive look on their face—yet all the while anyone can see in their eyes and in their mind a distraction from what is being said and an impatience to return to what they want to say. They do this instead of considering that seeking their own pleasure so insistently is an ineffective way to please or persuade others, and that listening well and responding well are among the best practices in the art of conversation.

—La Rochefoucauld, Maxim 139


2 thoughts on “Advice. A Quote. Of Conversation.

    • Well, I’ve had three snow days. What else is there to do besides translating cranky French moralists?

      In seriousness, though, I have a larger project in my imagination. Translating La Rochefoucauld is just part of the beginning. I plan on using some of this work in a series of essays on the variety of presentations of the gospel. (Maybe it is a lost cause to hope for a redemptive use of modern cynicism.) My sentence after the preceding maxim might give a hint about my thoughts.

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