The Art of Polite Conversation by Miss E

As a (self-proclaimed) expert in the area of etiquette, I’ve been appalled at the recent decline in basic good manners. After all, just because we are living in a post-civilization world, doesn’t mean we are post-civility, now does it?*

For this reason, I have created the following basic principles (“dos” and “don’ts”, if you will) of successful light conversations.


  • Do talk about the weather- This topic is safe, inoffensive and highly dull. Perfect for small talk!
  • Do make sure to look the person in the eye– but keep alert for stray Z-heads on the peripheral.
  • Do provide meaningful complements- For instance, this morning I had the following conversation with one of the women in my survival shelter, Mrs. Federlin:

Mrs. Federlin: Why, Miss E, I do love that gorgeous ring you are wearing. Is that an heirloom? Wherever did you find it?
Me: Oh, this old thing? Thank you. I ransacked it from an old apartment building a few years ago. The former lady of the house made for a truly frightening ghoul, but she had lovely taste in jewelry.
Mrs. Federlin: Now that is what I call a silver lining!

  • Do ask questions about peoples’ day-to-day work and activities – Then, try to feign interest in their responses.

Bonus Idea!

  • Do tell epic zombie killing stories – the gorier the better! For instance, everyone loves my epic tale of how I triumphed over a trove the undead using my broom and my wits. People find this type of story highly uplifting.


  • Don’t ask about people’s past –This includes questions about love ones lost, former occupations, former residencies, etc. Not only is this indelicate territory, the resulting conversation may actually result in a meaningful connection, which is not the point of small talk.
  • Don’t talk about politics –Our current survivor group is currently in the process of deciding our governmental structure. Will Mr. K continue to be the governor of our zone? Should we become democratic? If so, should women be allowed to vote? Discussing these topics is not only gauche; it is also likely to result in a shootout.
  • Don’t talk about religion I know it was trendy during the early panic to discuss whether the zombie outbreak was God’s wrath or something predicted in Revelations. But this type of discussion isn’t just depressing – it is tacky! Keep your spiritual speculations – and your elbows – off the table.

Did I forget to mention any “dos” or “don’ts”? Stay tuned for more helpful etiquette tips in forthcoming chapters of our handbook.

Remember always mind your Ps and Qs!
Miss E

*This is not a rhetorical question.

Have etiquette questions? Need hospitality advice? The Gracious Ladies can help!

For all inquiries related to the feminine arts, please submit your question in the question box attached to the barn… or email us at

4 thoughts on “The Art of Polite Conversation by Miss E

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