Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Do you generally care what people say when participating in small talk?

Asked by Blackberry (31011points) May 7th, 2011

I don’t know if this makes me an asshat, but I usually tend to care, or pay more attention to someone when it’s a deeper conversation. Small talk seems to be (more than other types of talk) cyclic and predictable. Sometimes it seems we only do it out of obligation and to give the appearance that we care.

Most wouldn’t be comfortable with ‘deep’ conversation right off the bat, but that’s the only conversation I like. How do you feel?

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13 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Much of “small talk” is about tone rather than content. One is conveying not so much information as general conviviality and goodwill. So most of what we’re picking up in those interchanges is not memorable, actionable stuff. It just defines and affirms our social connections. It’s important in that way, but not as raw data.

Berserker's avatar

Lol asshat. XD I rarely engage in small talk, or pay attention to it, if empathy on my part isn’t present, so I do care in the times that I do participate.

marinelife's avatar

I do not engage in deep conversation with people right away or in social situations.

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t mind small talk at all. I’ve met tons of people, mostly senior citizens, at the grocery store or people waiting in line at the post office, and we’ve engaged in small talk. I’ve gained a couple of new friends that way. It’s just like breaking the ice, relieving a little tension, and showing that we are human beings and not just fire plugs waiting in line. I don’t like to be in a crowd of people and just remain stone faced. I enjoy engaging people, even if it’s just about the weather, what’s for dinner tonight or how much my feet are killing me for standing in this line for so long. I’ve gotten the feeling that some of the people that I’ve struck up conversations with, especially the seniors, may have gone weeks without having a conversation with anybody. Some of the younger people who I’ve struck up conversations with, seemed like they were stuck in a rut of sour-puss-ness, but when we sarted talking, they seemed to lighten up a little bit. Our world is so rush, rush, and people text and send e-mails, but they don’t learn how to converse with each other in person. That makes me sad.

Of course, deeper conversations are wonderful, especially with people that you know well and really like and love. There’s a place and time for both kinds of conversations.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I like small talk. It’s a great way to start things off and I don’t usually like to deep-talk until I’m much more comfortable with someone.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I feel that the Sharks are gonna sweep the series this year…;)

cazzie's avatar

I will be the first person in the group to take something and turn it to a completely offensive level….. I have little or very few few friends because of this… my husband doesn’t like to take me anywhere because of this and I spend Easter in a hotel room, secreted away from his friends like a leper…. because I made a perfect asshat comment about the Germans in world war 2 in front of a Namibian German. (she was a bitch and the relationship will never last… was my last defence as I left the room)

MacBean's avatar

I do care more when it’s a deep conversation, but I don’t not care about small talk. It’s a good way to get to know people and to find out what they like to discuss.

ucme's avatar

Only if they offend the ankle biting midget community. That kind of small talk makes me mad!

augustlan's avatar

I like both forms of conversation. Small talk for the little bit of happiness it brings to people’s day. Deep conversation, though, is kind of thrilling to me. I’m definitely more engaged in the latter, but the former is often necessary to even get to that point.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I listen for what’s behind the small talk and try to respond to that.

Nobody ever participates in small talk because they’re so thoroughly interested in the subject. Small talk usually alleviates some sort of social anxiety, uncomfortableness with silence, or in being silent in the presence of a stranger, or it’s to feel out people, or to convey that they themselves are friendly and open to friendship (or more if there’s flirting involved).

wundayatta's avatar

I have come to appreciate small talk over the years. I like it in elevators because it gives you something to talk about in the elevator with people you know, but really don’t want to talk to. Talking about the weather is much better than standing on the sides, not really looking at each other feeling the silence loom larger and larger.

It also helps when you don’t know a person at all. It’s kind a of little step up to working it into a real conversation. If you know the person, it still helps to warm up the relationship. I mean, can you really imagine stepping up to a person and asking, “Why do you think the atheists are taking over the country?”

Maybe it will grow into something more interesting and maybe it won’t It just gives you a chance to search for areas of commonality. If it seems to be going nowhere after a few minutes, you move on. If you are stuck with the person and there is no moving on, well, you could be rude and just ignore them, or you just have to stick with the small talk.

Blackberry's avatar

Thanks for the answers, I never really thought about small talk that way. I just thought people really cared what I thought about how they came up with their pets names.

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