Last week I was at an event with someone we’ll call Pandemic Pete.
Pete was angry and wanted everyone to know. He had opinions to share. Masks, vaccines, travel restrictions. The “scamdemic” had cost him bigtime and it was time someone paid.
Unfortunately, the only people paying for Pete’s misfortune were the people he was ranting at, who just wanted to have a good time and get to know each other.
As the monologue droned on, something had to be done.
I remembered talking to my friend Rob a few years ago and realising that, although a big election was taking place, we weren’t discussing it. I realised I had no idea how he voted or what he thought about any of the so-called current affairs dominating news sites. We had never talked about politics in our ten years of friendship.
I asked Rob why he hadn’t mentioned the election. His response?
I think there’s always something better to talk about.
This was the line I needed to turn Pandemic Pete into Party Pete. After complaining about something else covid-related, he asked the group what they thought. I flashed my biggest smile and said gently:
Well Pete, I think there’s always something better to talk about.
He got it. He knew. There is always something better to talk about. After staring at me for a few seconds he softened. You’re right. Pete changed the subject to something that mattered and everyone went on to have a good time.
Conversations carry an opportunity cost. If we talk about this, we can’t talk about that. There is always something better to talk about.