The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About


The other day I was stuck in traffic for a little over 2.5 hours. - My actual trip was something like 22 miles, which is so crazy. That's Los Angeles. Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up on This American Life.  I actually got to listen to two, in their entirety - which is rare for me.  Ah, it was so perfect.  I listened to The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About and loved it.  It was funny, well thought out and, in the end, made me cry. 

The premise was that Sarah Koenig's mother, Maria Matthiessen, has a sacred list of topics that are never to be discussed.  And, I have to say, I really agree with her list.  She assures the viewers that no one actually cares about any of these topics, when discussed.  Unless, of course, there are extreme situations but, for the most part, the average story just isn't interesting.  Here they are: 

Never talk about how you slept. Nobody cares.

Never talk about your period. Nobody cares.

Don't talk about your health, either. Nobody cares. Nobody ever cares about other people's health. I mean, if it's something serious and it's a friend, obviously you want to hear about it. It's the common colds, the-- aches and pains, it's really tiresome. 

Your dreams. Nobody cares about your dreams.

And never talk about money.

Diet is a very big thing not to talk about. It's really boring.

Route talk. Route talk is when people tell you how they arrived, or how they came, how they got on the road, which road, how long it took. 

Each topic is broken down and producers share a story they found, from each category, that might change Mrs. Matthiessen's mind.  Some of the stories are hilarious, some gross, some interesting, and some really sad.  In the end, she stands by her list and proves she's, for the most part, right.

It made me think about personal rules I have:

I never, ever talk about my relationship. Fights. etc.  It's tacky, uncomfortable, and disrespectful to your partner.  

I never speak negatively of Maja. - I hear parents do it all the time and often in front of their kids - I hate it.

A book I'm really into - I sometimes break this, but books are often really hard to explain, especially when you're really invested in them.  I try to remind myself how awful it can be when someone's giving you all the details of a book they're reading. Simply saying how great it is, is usually enough.


You can listen to the show here.