I’ve never been a proponent of small talk. Despite being reasonably good at it, it has always felt so forced and scripted to me. Most people don’t like when you break from the script either, it makes them uncomfortable. You’re not supposed to tell a total stranger the sordid details of your bachelorette party or how you cannot stop thinking about the odd desire to touch the corpse at the funeral you just attended. Most people are not mentally equipped to deal with that out of the context of who you are as a person. They want to get to know you and feel like they can trust you first before you cram something like that down their ear hole and into their mind.
Honestly, I’d rather just skip it and go straight into the heavier discussions and bizarre stories but societal norms dictate otherwise. We’re supposed to engage in a series of semi-trivial chats that reveal things like our profession, relationship status and hometown. Then we are supposed to act like these details have given us enough insight to pass judgement on a person’s worth when they really haven’t. If you try to avoid small talk, it is considered rude. If you try to circumvent it and have conversations that require some mental or emotional involvement, you’ll be deemed abnormal.
I love interacting with people and I don’t want to waste time putting forth a false version of myself when I meet them. However, small talk remains useful so that we can ease into communication with those who are not quite so exuberant about discourse. Then again, there are those times where you find yourself wondering why you’re even speaking to a person you will never see again about a topic you care nothing about. My friend, this is your time to shine. The next time a person starts a conversation with you that you can tell neither of you really wants to have, this is your opportunity to communicate experimentally. Get weird and see what happens or be so blunt and honest that they’ll have to commit to a real conversation. I’ve actually made some really interesting friends this way.
Here are a few examples of what I am talking about:
As obvious as it should be, we often forget that all we really have is each other. Make the time you spend talking count and enjoy it whenever possible.