Eight conversation topics to avoid in PR

I am working hard on trying to get a pay rise at the moment which means I need as many internal advocates as possible, so I am trying to avoid certain controversial discussions.

So rule number one, if you don’t want to clear a room, avoid offending people! And that means keeping outrageous prejudices to yourself.

Here are some subjects to steer clear of unless you want to be standing on your own at the next Christmas bash.

1. Your health. No one wants to hear about your varicose veins (although I am very tempted to tell you about my latest cholesterol reading as it was so stupendously high). But even worse than talking about being ill, is being ill. If you have a cold please don’t come into work, and certainly don’t attend any big bashes. If you sneeze I will say “Bless you!”, but I will be thinking “Damn you!”

2. Your kids. Fascinating to you and your partner. That’s it.

3. Your pets. May not even be of equal fascination to your partner. I’m nowhere near as keen on our cats as my darling wife is. But then their fleas never seem to bite her.

4. Your dream last night. Did you have a really weird dream? Of course you did! All dreams are weird.

5. Extreme beliefs. Whether you dislike fat people or hate men with beards, it’s best not to venture these beliefs unless you are absolutely positive the person you are talking to feels the same. Unfortunately the fat bloke with a beard I was just talking to didn’t seem to share my sympathies.

6. Rude jokes. Have you heard that one about the barman and the gorilla? I haven’t either, because I walk away, fast, from anyone who insists on telling awful jokes.

7. Your marital issues. No one cares about the argument you had with your husband or wife the night before. You are both in the wrong so shut up!

8. Complaining you're tired! Go to bed earlier and stop moaning. Or do what I do and take a long nap in the store cupboard.