Random Shit, Thinking Cap

How I Just Realized That 90% Of My Convo Is Shit.

Okay, so this morning I got an email from my Dad. It’s called the “Triple Filter Test”. It is about economizing on how much you speak and what you listen to. Go Figure. Here it is:


Here is the Triple Filter Test attributed to the great Philosopher Socrates :

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really …”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”


Alright, so I must only probe into matters which are true, which have some goodness in them and which are useful to me. So that means, about 90% of my conversations are shit. Thanks, Dad.

Just two minutes after reading this mail, I got a phone-call from a friend who was just squirming to share some juicy bit of gossip with me. And how shamelessly I gave in. I thought of the Triple Filter Test but I didn’t have the heart or the courage to subject my friend to it. What would she think? She would probably assume I was being downright sassy or self-important. So how best can you tell people that you’re not interested in their shit without hurting their sentiments or coming across as a mighty snob?