I really hate small talk. It’s usually superficial observations or comments on what is perfectly obvious. I get that it serves a purpose in social situations like conversation openers, silence
breakers and even a way to begin the process of bonding.
There are two ways to think of Small Talk. One way is to accept that you are going to be stuck with the other person for some length of time and you might as well make the best of it. You talk about unimportant safe subjects that won’t offend anyone or reveal any significant secrets.
The other way is to view small talk as a tennis game of phatic talk until a more substantial subject arises.
Them: Isn’t this great weather?
me (playing along): Yes though it’s unusually warm for this time of year.
Them: So what do you do for fun?
me (finally something fun): I run marathons and stalk real estate.
Them (ignoring my peeked interest and moving to the next topic): Do you have any vacations planned?
me: Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.
Them: Aren’t these crabcakes delightful?
And I think this is where the break down occurs. I’m from the second camp and I often encounter people from the first. I get frustrated if I find a topic I want to talk about or want to steer the conversation towards, and the other person is going through their script of safe, boring topics that they don’t care what the answers are.
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Filed under: Two for Tuesday