While no topic is ever off the table during a counseling or life coaching session, there are some topics to avoid when talking with friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, or random neighbors. Below are “Seven Things Not to Talk about in Normal, non-therapy, Conversation.” Or seven areas to avoid during small talk.

This topic was the focus of a recent (and hilarious) episode of This American Life. If you’re looking to improve the content of your small talk conversations, consider these guidelines.

1. Never Talk about How You Slept

Reason: Nobody cares.

2. Never Talk about Your Health

Reason: Nobody cares.

Caveat: If you’re talking to a friend, and it’s something serious, then of course talk about your health. If it’s normal aches and pains, or the run-of-the-mill flu…nobody cares.

3. Never Talk about Your Period

Reason: Nobody cares.

Elaboration: Sarah’s mother, in the This American Life episode, discusses a weekend house guest had this issue, and it became the focus of the entire weekend. She describes that it was all anyone would talk about and ‘people had to run to the store to get the necessary equipment,’ etc.

4. Never Talk about your Dreams

Explanation: Your ambitions and hopes are fine to talk about. This refers to literally what you dreamt while sleeping.

Reason: Dreams make for really bad story telling.

5. Never Talk about Money

Reason: In some circles it’s generally thought of as crass or vulgar. However, this is one topic that when discussed can still be interesting conversation.

6. Never Talk about your Diet

Reason: Nobody cares.

7. Never engage in “Route Talk” (telling how your travel from point A to point B went)

Reason: Nobody cares.

Question and Answer

Question: Can I talk about these 7 things with my family?
Answer: I suppose, if you want to bore your family.

General Conversation Guideline: Before you open your mouth, first ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say interesting to anyone?”

On a positive note, here is Ira Glass talking about how to tell a great story: