Silence is not associated with good conversations. In social situations, we value those with the knack to keep on talking, the friends who can parry every awkward pause and slip-up with wit, erudition and a smile. “Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing, ” counseled Oscar Wilde—a man who was himself so blessed with the gift of the gab that even his adversaries (and he had many) would admit to being relieved to see him across the This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Signal Boost How status anxiety drives culture. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Memes of Communication A conversation about digital folklore. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Designated Drudgery How to take a load off. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Known Unknowns How to make no news good news. Arts & Culture Issue 30 Knowing Me, Knowing You Think twice before seeking out your doppelgänger. Arts & Culture Issue 29 Mime Culture On lip-syncing and the allure of mouthing along.