There are some who say that idle talk has no purpose, and should be avoided. Yet in many cases it serves valuable purposes: it enables us to test ideas or plans on our friends, and solicit their opinions; it enables us to relieve stress; and it enables us to pass the time in conversational pleasantry. Not every dialogue needs to have a definite purpose; sometimes the exchange of words themselves becomes a form of relaxation. The exchange below is taken verbatim from James Boswell’s famous Life of Samuel Johnson. In the short dialogue between himself and his biographer, Johnson, that great man of English letters, makes the point that it may be well to make idle speech, as long as one does not unduly subscribe to its banalities.
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