Anne smiled and said, “My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”
“You are mistaken,” said he gently, “that is not good company, that is the best.”
– Persuasion, Chapter 16, by Jane Austen
Mr. Elliot gets a lot of things wrong in Persuasion, but this is one thing he gets right.
Sometimes I think I am too much like Anne Elliot. Yes, in being too reserved, quiet, and worst of all, far too passive – but also in what I think is ‘fun.’ A evening in a quiet coffee shop with interesting people can be more exciting than the wildest party – not that I ever would draw away from a party, especially one filled with “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.” I love people who have opinions and who can tell me stuff I never knew, even if I disagree with them. If I’ve never heard it before, it’s highly exciting to listen to it. If I am at all like Anne Elliot, I am not ashamed of looking for stimulating and thought-provoking people to hang out with, at the very least.
What is good company to you?