The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Counsel on conversation

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From Samuel Miller, though I cannot recall where I first came across it. It is offered in the hopes of prompting us toward a more Biblical standard: “Let your speech be always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col 4.6).

  1. Don’t talk too much – you will burden your listeners.
  2. On the other hand, don’t remain excessively silent; especially when you have good matter to add to the conversation.
  3. Avoid all tale-bearing as a hazardous and unholy habit. Follow Corinthians 13: “thinketh no evil”. Therefore, always attempt to put the best and most charitable construction upon the actions of another.
  4. Avoid prying into the secrets of others. Endeavor to remain ignorant of such matters.
  5. Keep your conversation, as much as is possible, upon things and ideas – not persons.
  6. Aim to edify in all you say.
  7. Be not ashamed to prepare in advance.
  8. Pay attention at all times to what the other person is saying. It is quite simply bad manners not to!
  9. When someone is speaking in a group, don’t start a different conversation with the person next to you.
  10. At all times show respect. (Consider your body-language as well as the words you use to reply.)
  11. While avoiding starring, keep your eyes fixed on the person with whom you speak.
  12. Try to learn to oppose erroneous statements without giving offence (or unnecessary offence).
  13. “Avoid a haughty and authoritative manner in conversation”. Don’t speak as if you spoke ex cathedra.
  14. Steer clear of controversy, as much as you can (though sometimes it is needful).
  15. Be careful not to lose your temper when you are drawn into a controversy.
  16. “Cultivate an easy, attractive manner in conversation…I mean that frank, courteous, unaffected, benign manner…”
  17. Don’t promise what you can’t, or are unlikely to, fulfil.
  18. Be not ready to easily take offence yourself.
  19. “Avoid becoming suddenly and excessively intimate with strangers.”
  20. Be very reserved when it comes to confiding in others.
  21. Be not too ready to offer your opinion, particularly in mixed company.
  22. Maintain your personal dignity.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 4 February 2012 at 15:00

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