Dear Urban Diplomat: How do you start a conversation without asking “What do you do?”
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m a graphic designer, and my husband is a lawyer. He recently made partner at his firm, and we’ve been invited to a slew of parties with his new work friends. The trouble is, I’m tongue-tied when it comes to starting conversations with their spouses, because, as I’ve discovered, they’re mostly stay-at-home husbands and wives. Any advice for getting the ball rolling?
—Partner of a partner, Don Mills
Consider your conundrum a blessing from the conversation gods—i.e., a directive to come up with icebreakers other than the grievously overused “What do you do?” (which is also a passive-aggressive way of establishing socioeconomic hierarchy in new settings, but let’s not get into that). Try current events, recently read books or, in a pinch, “How about those Jays?” If the endless talk of overpriced landscapers and peanut allergies is a snooze, politely excuse yourself and go chat with the lawyers.
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