Know Your Audience: A Guide For Conversing In Modern Times

Know Your Audience: A Guide For Conversing In Modern Times

Some things are just better left unsaid.

Over the past few months, I, as well as a few of my closest friends have come to a major conclusion. If you are involved in Greek Life, you may have heard of the commonly discussed topic of the “Five B’s” all pertaining to the five categories that one should not mention with someone in a conversation.

It is important that we, as humans, realize our social boundaries on topics that should not be discussed within a conversation with someone you just met, someone you may not be very close with, and general discussions within groups of people. This idea of the “Five B’s” include Barack (politics), Bible (religion), Bucks (financial state), Boys (relationships), and Booze (alcohol.) By avoiding these five simple, yet distinct topics of conversation one can be sure not to offend anyone, even unintentionally.


Living in the 21st century and surviving under the current presidency means that the topic of politics can get very heated in a matter of seconds. This can be fixed by simply avoiding the topic of politics, including but not limited to politicians, political offices, political issues, etc. The politics of the United States of America receive enough attention from the media on a daily basis.

In a normal conversation with someone, there is no need to mention your hatred for Trump nor your personal beliefs on National Healthcare.


The United States of America is considered to be “One Nation Under God,” according to our pledge of allegiance. As our country has rapidly grown there have been many different religious groups and church denominations that have made their new home in our land. Freedom of Religion is also stated in the Amendments of our country.

Therefore, no matter what the person you may be conversing with believes there is absolutely no reason to bring that up in the topic of conversation. Your beliefs are your personal beliefs, and you should not impose them on someone else, nor is it necessary to bring it up as a topic of conversation.

Financial State

Alright, this is a HUGE one. With the population of our world reaching nearly 7.5 billion people there are a number of different social classes, lifestyles, difference in incomes and such within each and every city and state, just in the United States. One should never bring up the financial state of that person regardless of prior knowledge.

There is absolutely no reason to label someone as “wealthy,” “unfortunate,” or “fair to middling.” It is absurd to label anyone as anything related to their financial stability. It is important to keep in mind that the type of person each individual may be is NOT a reflection of their financial state. One should never, ever, ever bring up the topic of money in a conversation. It is incredibly overstepping and even considered rude in most cases.


Again, we live in the 21st century. One cannot expect everyone to be in a perfect relationship, or to even be interested in someone else no matter their gender. To stay on the safe side, it is best not to mention relationships with other people. When in a conversation, one should genuinely be engaged in strictly that person, or group of people, not thinking about the lives they live outside of the setting.


When meeting new people, or even conversing with those you may have recognized from a previous engagement, the topic of alcohol is not socially acceptable to bring up. Whether or not this person or group of people may be of drinking age it is never acceptable to talk about one’s drinking habits. There are a few exceptions to this rule; depending on the setting of the conversation, and the social atmosphere, this topic may or may not be acceptable. Use good judgment, and KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE before speaking about this matter!

As stated above, all of these rules have exceptions. If any of these topics have been discussed before with these folks you may be conversing with, THEN you are in the safe zone for considering these sensitive topics. By avoiding these delicate topics, one is sure to be known as considerate and will be able to appreciate individuals for who they truly are!

Cover Image Credit: Alper Cugun on Flickr

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.

College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.

There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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The Top 3 Lifestyle Changes I Made In College

The mistakes I corrected which stood between me and satisfaction.


2019 has been a year of unparalleled growth for me. In 2018 I could have said the same. I spent extended periods of time analyzing the factors of my life which left me, in some ways, feeling unfulfilled. Here are the top 3 lifestyle changes that I made in college which left me feeling happier than ever.

1. Cut out the toxic people. 

A house is worthless without a solid foundation. The people which you call your friends are largely the foundation for your confidence and social life. Sometimes, we recognize that these people are overall anchors on our psyche; condescending narcissists whose confidence rests on making others feel inadequate. The first step to building self-confidence is to get these people out of your life immediately. Once you solidify this foundation, you will soon realize how pitiful these people are, and growth you had been capable of without them.

2. Do you even lift?

Not only has my physical condition improved from going to the gym, so has my mental strength. As my physical form has improved, my confidence has risen. We have spent millions of years evolving to physically exert ourselves. Our modern lifestyle has left many of us without this crucial key to endorphins and proper brain chemistry; a factor which has promoted never before seen rates of depression and anxiety. Lifting weights have left me feeling better than I can remember, with endorphins and testosterone at an all-time high.

For years, I either avoided the gym or found excuses to stop. The reason I never committed to fitness was largely a lack of interest in self-betterment, but also a feeling of cluelessness in the subject. I recommend utilizing the "Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide" linked here. This guide breaks down fitness in an incredibly easy to understand way. This information is not published by someone trying to sell you something. It was written by input from numerous online fitness enthusiasts and refined for accuracy as well as simplicity. This guide has helped me and many others in online communities start down the road to improved physical and mental health through fitness.

3. Do as much as possible, even when you don't feel like it. 

I squandered years of my short life secluding myself to a comfort bubble. While in college, I have realized that happiness largely rests on occupying yourself with new and real experiences as frequently as possible. Time which would have previously been wasted on my phone, the television, or playing online games was shifted to trying new things. As often as possible, I have pushed myself to undertake activities such as learning to snowboard, grabbing food with people from college whom I had just met, going hiking with strangers and our mutual friend, traveling solo, etc. Pushing myself further from my comfort bubble every day has been exceptionally conducive to not only living life to a greater degree but also decreasing the anxieties which we all experience.

What can you fix in your current life to build the lifestyle you dream of?

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