General Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

Does small talk come naturally to you?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4349 points ) September 8th, 2012

I thought Mariah gave a pretty swell answer to this question

And I got to thinking about her portion where she mentions, “small talk”

My question is do you enjoy small talk? Is it necessary in your life? Is it possible to be successful and avoid small talk? Or perhaps small talk is just something we all do to get us through the day?

Sorry I’m getting carried away here, what are your overall thoughts on small talk? Awkward memories? Memories where small talk got you into a good job? Or just pointed you in the right direction?

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14 Answers

imgr8's avatar

I work at a coffee shop so small talk is part of my job, and when I first started I hated it. Small talk does NOT come naturally to me at all and I find it so awkward to force it but its more awkward not too. Ive worked there for long enough that I actually know a lot of the customers and its easy to ask about how they’re doing and such but there are still a lot of awkward silences.

seekingwolf's avatar

I secretly hate small talk. But I’ve learned to be better with it and now can do it with relative ease. I still don’t like it but whatever. It’s socially acceptable. That’s why I do it.

The only small talk I like is sometimes at work, I get into small talk convos with delirious patients who sometimes babble. I know it’s totally nonsensical and they won’t remember it later, but it’s always about random things and I enjoy keeping it light and playing along.

god I’m weird

woodcutter's avatar

It depends. Sometimes it seems awkward. Why is this in general? trying to small talk, get it? the font size?

rooeytoo's avatar

I have never been sure if it is an acquired skill or it does indeed come naturally to some people.
It never has been easy for me. I usually only talk if it is a subject that interests me or I feel strongly about or I feel I can add something to the discussion.

Adagio's avatar

I loathe small talk. Sometimes I surprise myself but for the most part I am absolutely appalling at it.

augustlan's avatar

It’s a social lubricant and can be quite useful in life. It’s very easy for me, even though I’m a major introvert. That said, small talk doesn’t usually last long for me… I want to get to a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Small talk is just the way I get there.

downtide's avatar

Smalltalk is something I find totally impossible to do.

lookingglassx3's avatar

I’m really shy, so I literally use smalltalk every day to show people that I’m not deliberately being awkward or anything. Over the years it’s actually come very naturally to me. Eventually the smalltalk develops and soon I’m relaxed and can actually properly converse with whoever I’m talking to.

Mariah's avatar

Hey, thanks. :)

Now, I still wouldn’t say it comes naturally to me. During silences in conversation, I still get antsy and start racking my brain for what to say next. But I used to just positively hate it, and that much has changed at least.

The biggest change I made in making this transition was to worry less if what I’m considering saying might sound weird/stupid/whatever. I used to just be so self-conscious, I only wanted to talk if I had something very interesting to say. That’s a surefire way to end up having the conversation peter out fast.

Ron_C's avatar

Sure but it isn’t really small talk. When I ask a person about his family and children I am really interested I like to know the people I meet and work with. I have had some very interesting conversations on airplanes with the person sitting next to me. Besides, I have a lot of stories I like to tell.

SuperMouse's avatar

I don’t mind small talk. I sometimes find it is refreshing to talk about things that have absolutely no consequence in my life whatsoever. It tends to keep me from taking everything super seriously and getting wrapped up living in my own mind. It probably helps that I am really good at small talk. It comes naturally to me and I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. It is very easy for me to talk to people and I can usually help someone feel comfortable enough to talk to me. I guess when it comes down to it I rather enjoy small talk. It doesn’t come as a surprise that I am in the minority because I think small talk tends to be unfairly maligned.

Bellatrix's avatar

In most settings I’m very good at small talk. I like people and if you take an interest and are genuinely interested in what people have to say, most have interesting stories to tell. I don’t like forced work situations where I have to network. That is one of my least favourite things to do.

Jeruba's avatar

Not at all. I had to teach myself how to do it, and it took some work. Even after years of practice, I’m anything but easy and fluent at it and feel that my awkwardness shows. I sometimes say such inane things that I astonish myself.

On the whole I tend to avoid situations where it seems necessary. On an airplane, waiting in a long line, and in other situations where I’m trapped for a period of time, I’d rather read or think my own thoughts quietly and wish the person next to me would just leave me alone.

I do have a small knack for striking up a conversation with a stranger, but it is seldom small talk. It usually gets to something a little more substantial very quickly. I don’t mind that as long as it doesn’t drag on or devolve into a dumb exchange of stories about kids and pets.

Crumpet's avatar

Last week I went to the hospital to get my eye examined. There was a junior ophthalmetrist taking notes in the corner of the room, and she was very pretty. When the doctor left the room to get a second opinion of my results we were just left there in an awkward silence.
I had to initiate small talk, just to make the atmosphere not as uncomfortable.

I think small talk is essential for encounters like that.
On the other hand, I can be sat in a bar with one of my mates and not say a word for 5 mins.

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