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Old May 18th, 2004, 04:17 AM
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Default Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

Just curious.... on most every cruise I've been on, I've had to pull my fellow tablemates out of their shells during dinner, and sometimes aggressively steer a conversation. I'm not very forward myself, but I feel I have to do it, uncomfortable as it is for me. Trust me, I would much rather play dumb and just sit there, letting others do the "work" (and conversation IS work with some people). And I'm never sure how my forwardness is percieved by my fellow tablemates. Do I seem pushy? a loudmouth? I never can know for sure. Mrs. Cynic (and her Mom, who accompanies us most times) prefers just to listen, and speak when spoken to, all the while smiling amiably. So the convo is my jobbo.......

Why do I always get the tables with the "shrinking violets"? Following these boards for an eternity now, and noting how animated other tables can get, I know this is not always the case.

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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

Sometimes it IS work! I have a little game that seems to work. The first night I take 6 or 8 little pieces of paper and, before any introductions are made, I ask everyone to write their name or sometimes their occupation and put them in the middle of the table.. Then we all guess who's who. It's usually very successful.

Another fun dinner game is to have everyone pretend they are 11 years old and tell what they want to be when they grow up.....their wildest dream. No help is allowed from spouses or friends - just them. You find out lots of things about people. Mine would be to be a major league baseball player, with an opera singer as second choice so I decided to be a very successful opera singer who owns a team.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

We have usually had very conversant tables but when people don't talk it can be painful.
Have you ever been placed at a table where everyone but you speaks a different language. This happened to us with some lovely people from China. They were all quite nice but communication was really at a bare minimum because made-up sign language only goes so far.

I so wished I could speak their language on that cruise but we learned to smile a lot when it doubt.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

Twice we've shared a table with others, twice we were alone. We were fortunate to meet really nice friendly people, but I am basicaly shy and not good at initiating conversation. My husband on the other hand, "interviews" people, by asking about themselves. He finds that people will always talk about themselves, and that gets the conversation running. On one memorable occasion, when we travelled with my son and his friend (2 teen boys) we were seated with a lovely family with 2 teen girls. The kids not only did not talk to each other, but even avoided looking at each other for the entire week. So much for matching tablemates!

donna

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Old May 18th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

OH MANNNN, Give me a captive audience and Iím in heaven. But, I detest talking on the phone, go figure. My greatest reward is to make people laugh. I will go overboard to make people smile. Sometimes the DW just walks away shaking her head. I probably won't lead the conversation but I will be a major contributor.

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Old May 18th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

I'm fairly shy and hate to lead conversations. But if there's an awkward silence, I might ask leading questions like, "Have you cruised before?" "How are you enjoying it?" "Where are you from?" "What did you do today?" Those usually lead into interesting discussions.

All in all, though, I'd much rather have a table for 2, just my hubby and me.

Cheers,
Michelle P.

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Old May 18th, 2004, 11:01 AM
cruisinKandJ.
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

I much prefer a table for two, as well. Although on the QE2, we had four wonderful table mates. Two of them left because they wanted a window table, but two nights later, they came back to ours. Doesn't usually work that successfully, though.

J.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 01:09 PM
venice
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

good question..I've been very lucky always have lucked out with great tablemates, don't know whether it's the luck of the draw or great job by the dining staff in assigning tables..my experience has shown that if your tablemates are repeat cruisers no problem..but I would suspect in todays cruising dining options..you can elect "pc" and not be worried about who sits at your assigned table, so it leads me to believe, the folks that select tradtional dining do so because of the willingness to interact with their table mates and enjoy that great experience
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Old May 18th, 2004, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

We have been on many cruises and really enjoy sharing our table with others. We have only had one cruise where our tablemates were past useless when it came to maintaining a conversation (and four of them were lawyers). Almost every subject we brought up was answered with a one line response and then the conversation died. We felt like it was a job trying to keep up a conversation with them. In retrospect, I almost wish we had changed tables.

I find the best way to start a conversation is to ask where someone is from.

No - no topics are politics and religion and there is not much interest in conversations about people's jobs - past or present. I think everyone wants to put that topic on hold during vacation.

Conversations about the port just visited and tours taken also seem to work well.

It also helps if you are not seated with a group that is related to each other in some way - conversations will flow between them but you will probably feel left out.

I have also found that some cruise lines do a better job of coordinating guests for table seating - particulary Carnival. We are generally seated with people with something in common (age, marital status, geographic location, nationality, etc.)
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Old May 18th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

OH MAnnnnn...me and Jason have got to share a table sometime..they would hire us to go on stage..I just know it...besides..I hate it when people talk while I am trying to interrupt......

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Old May 18th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

I am a pushy loudmouth (although I try to be polite). My SO is also very gregarious. We both have jobs that involve some degree of sales & attend a lot of networking events. Over the years between the 2 of us we've "learned" to pull people out of their shells & taking the "laboring oar" in any conversation is not really work for us -- wresting control from others can be -- j/k. I could just see the sparks fly & the laughter tears roll w/ us, bigjohn461& Jason. By the same token, I think we're savvy enough to tell when people just want to be left alone.

We do ask a lot of Qs at first & are prepared to share too, so we don't seem like we're intervewing our table mates. (Interviewing / prying in a bad sense, not the way rollerdonna's DH does it nicely) Ehogan mentioned some good topics & some ones to avoid. Dinner conversation is not a debate; the problems arise when you try to change someone's mind.

On our last cruise which was freestyle -- opportunity for new people every night -- we sat at a "shared" table & nobody wanted to talk no matter what we did: where are you from? are you having fun? what did you do today? nothing. I found out one couple's son was getting married this summer; I could barely get the mother of the groom enaged in conversation about the wedding -- nothing too personal just color of the bridesmaids' dresses, what she was wearing etc. The next day one woman for whom English was a 2nd language actually came up to us at the pool to thank us for keeping some conversation alive. I wondered why that group (4 seperate couples, plus us) chose to sit w/ strangers if they didn't want to talk.

Same cruise different night we had a marvelous debate about some of the "taboo" subjects b/c everyone was open minded & noone was shouting or resorting to name calling.

Yet another night we had an over the top table mate. He pontificated (& simultaneously belittled his wife). It was awful. He insulted the English couple at our table. We all stared at our food. Fortunately, he & his wife (poor thing) left right after they finished their main courses. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when they were gone. We all also enjoyed our coffee & dessert.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

Great topic! I am an extrovert and love being at a large table and getting to know others. I've never been with a group yet which didn't converse easily and enjoy each other's' company at dinner. Jose is much more quiet, and throw in the fact that he isn't completely fluent in English, and he tends to be more of an observer at dinner, even though he says he enjoys the conversation happening around him.

We asked for a large table on our recent 16-day cruise on the Carnival Spirit, but were assigned to a table for 4. We don't know if the other couple just didn't exist, or if they just never showed up, but we ended up having a table for 2 for the entire cruise. It was wonderful! We really enjoyed each other's company at dinner each night and didn't really miss having table mates.

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Old May 19th, 2004, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Question: Do you lead the conversation at Dinner?

I am basically shy, but if I feel comfortable with people, I open up. I would love to share a table with Jason and Big John on a cruise....once I get started, I keep going! Otherwise, I have depended on others to set the tone for the table....but since most of the time I cruise with a group. it is not that difficult.

Once, when I was cruising single on the Sea Princess, myself and an English couple were placed at tables on first seating within a large group traveling from Japan. We showed up for dinner the first night - looking at our sign and sail cards to make sure we were at the right places....when this woman (I guess she was the coordinator of the Japanese group) came up and started yelling at us that we could not sit there...these were THEIR tables. A Head waiter observed the berating we received at the hand of this "woman" and escorted us to the maitre'd who was more than accomodating. I ended up having to give up first seating and ended up at late seating with the MOST MARVELOUS group of people!!!! From that point on, for some reason, I have always requested late seating. I have met many interesting people during dinner on a cruise.

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