Social Question

Male's avatar

Anyone simply hate small talk?

Asked by Male (1353points) October 13th, 2011

Personally I think small talk is just pointless drivel people use as a tool to gauge someone’s personality, reaction, or character.

Do you really care how the stranger’s day went while waiting in line?
Do you think your cashier really cares what you feed your dog?

I know some people use it to break the silence…which I think is even worse. If you have nothing enlightening or worthwhile to say, then don’t say anything. Mindless chatter is no better than silence.

I think it’s sad that society has accepted this form of communication as the social norm. I feel as if it’s just a waste of time and resources when one could be discussing ideas or something that both parties genuinely care for discussing.

I’m sick of hearing the everyday “how are you?....good, you?” play like a broken record. Does anyone else feel this way? It makes people transparent and fake. Small talk is just so pointless to me…I can’t describe it.

Personally I honestly don’t care for others enough to wanna know what they did over the weekend, so I avoid the small talk. If I genuinely care for the person, then I’ll ask away. I’ll admit sometimes I have to discuss absolutely nothing with another because sadly that’s the only way she knows how to communicate…anyone else feel the same or similar?

Share your thoughts.

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34 Answers

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I’m a bit of a chatter box. I tend to ramble really, and I will and can talk to anyone about pretty much anything except poliitics because I don’t care I guess you could call it small talk? But I’m not one of those people who put’s any kind of social weight on it. I mean it’s really just because I need an outlet at times to empty out my very noisy and quite busy head I think.

Do I feel it means anything or is important… No. Mostly like I said, pointless rambling but in the very least I am aware of that.

janbb's avatar

How small?

DominicX's avatar

Depends. And it depends on who it’s with. Sometimes small talk is simply the gateway to “big talk”. People often start out with small talk when they first meet someone and work their way up to more advanced conversation. But that’s probably not going to happen with a cashier; in that case, it’s more just talking to fill the void. I don’t mind it, but I can understand how some people do.

LezboPirate's avatar

I don’t think small talk is bad at all. I certainly don’t hate it. I’ve had many, many great conversations that started out as just small talk. Usually with Cashiers. One of those cashiers is now my Fiance and another is now a pretty good friend. I love those two, so I think I’m a fan of small talk.

picante's avatar

Put me as a “depends,” too. I dislike small talk for the sake of making noise, and I’m not very good at it. But there have been some really nice conversations that occured on the fly while waiting in line, etc. Rarely will I initiate the conversation, but I’ll generally play along in a courteous way as long as the other party isn’t coming across as an idiot.

As to the “how are you today?”—yes, that has become rather pointless, I fear. We tend to ask the question and respond to others in drone-like fashion. And I’m as guilty as most—I’ll ask the drive-through bank teller how she’s doing, when I really don’t care. On the other hand, when I ask my coworkers or my friends how they’re doing, the question is genuine, even if it’s delivered in the same drone voice.

SpatzieLover's avatar

How do you make new friends or address people you hardly know without small talk? I’m certainly not going to begin a philosophical discussion with every clerk I run into on errands, nor am I going to ignore them.

Small talk, IMO, is the polite way to begin.

LezboPirate's avatar

@SpatzieLover Well, with my Fiance it started with buying cookies. I’m not sure how we got where we are from there, but it worked out nicely for me.

“Cookies, huh?”
“I want one..”
“Well, I have three boxes. You can have a whole box, if you’d like.”

marinelife's avatar

It is not comfortable to dive into substantive issues with someone that you have just met. Small talk is the lubricant for social intercourse.

I don’t mind it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@LezboPirate Actually, come to think of it, small talk about movies is how I met my husband ;0)

He’s super shy, so without small talk, I doubt he’d have ever spoken at all to me.

wonderingwhy's avatar

In social settings it’s fine, gotta break the ice somehow. In daily routine, outside of friends, it’s a just a polite social interplay I’ve never really felt the need to bother with.

Zaku's avatar

I think small talk is fine when it is done with honest humanity. Small talk done in a fake and artificial way… is annoying to me because the person is being fake… it’s the fakeness that is distressing because I know there is a human there who is distressed to the point of being fake.

What gets my goat more is “empty” social bla bla bla. People who fill time in groups with rapid blather and storytelling with no real point other than to occupy time and look cool or whatever.

Male's avatar

Thanks for the input all, it’s awesome to see different perspectives on the subject.

I think I wasn’t clear in my wording. I understand you can’t just go up to someone and force them into a philosophical debate, but that’s not what I’m going for. What I mean by small talk is the everyday lines you hear repeated over and over. The questions that are asked when not a single damn is given. The questions that are asked just because it can be asked…with no genuine interest in the response. Small talk is subjective in definition, but to me it encompasses all the everyday pointless questions that people ask and not care what the response is…it makes me think why I should even bother answering if you don’t care. It really depends on the question and the reason for asking.

Talking in line is fine, talking to the cashier is fine…it’s just what you ask and if you truly care about their response. If you genuinely cared about their weekend, then that’s fine. You’re showing genome interest and actually care about what they have to say. If you ask and don’t care, then that’s what exactly what I mean. That’s what I’m trying to explain. It makes people look fake and robotic…saying pre-programmed lines and not caring for the result. I should have worded this question as “do you hate people who feign interest in you?”

YARNLADY's avatar

I love small talk.

LezboPirate's avatar

Ah, then no. I never talk to people if I don’t care what they have to say. You know, unless they talk to me first. Then it’s just a quick reply and I turn away so that they don’t bother going any further.

Bellatrix's avatar

If it is insincere, I can do without it. However, standing at the counter in the supermarket and talking to the person at the check-out in a friendly and sincere way, is a positive thing I think. I hope we both brighten each other’s day by being warm and friendly.

filmfann's avatar

For someone who dislikes small talk, that’s a fucking long question.

fizzbanger's avatar

Small talk is how we make ourselves comfortable with people we don’t know. It’s a way to be nice to them without inviting them into your problems.

Hibernate's avatar


Communication has to start somewhere. Wouldn’t you find it disturbing if someone you don’t know approaches you on the street at start to talk a delicate subject with you [delicate for you]?

Supacase's avatar

I dislike it only because I’m not very good at and it makes me uncomfortable.

downtide's avatar

I do it, I’ll happily do it with anybody, but I usualy find it boring after more than a few minutes.

Zaku's avatar

“do you hate people who feign interest in you?”
– I don’t hate the people, but I am distressed that they do that, and can let myself be annoyed with it. I get that they are doing it for one of a variety of sad reasons, so it’s I’m really more sad than mad – the anger would probably be masking the deeper despair at the sad condition of so many adults.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t know the actual universal purpose of small talk, if there is one, and surely there must be…but I’m just not interested in it. I’ll remain polite, but I will let it be known at the same time that I don’t want to continue.


Yes! I especially hate the small talk they do at social gatherings, cocktails, etc., where people do nothing but talk about what they do for a living, their houses, sports, what cars they drive, when and where they were married, etc. What drivel. I hate talk in general.

Jeruba's avatar

I do. I can manage it well enough when I must, but I have no taste for it.

I don’t want to chat while standing in line, I don’t want to listen to the passenger next to me, I don’t want to exchange forced pleasantries with coworkers with whom I have nothing in common, and I don’t want to attempt to converse with friends and relatives whose only subject matter is (a) themselves and (b) other people.

Most of the nattering I hear around me is no improvement on the silence. A blissful, respectful quietude is sufficient to fill any sense of void out there in the busy world.

I have tried to develop a little patience for social chatter as I get older, but I will never acquire an appetite for it.

[Edit] I don’t consider a friendly greeting or a cordial response to a polite question to be small talk. Those.are necessary courtesies in a civilized society. Small talk is forced attempts at conversation devoid of content, talk just for the sake of talk. Conversation that is all noise and no substance among people who think a moment’s silence is a condition that requires correction will find me coolly unreceptive.

Ayesha's avatar

I suck at it. So I hate it.

ucme's avatar

YES I DO!! Awww, but i’m just a little fella trying to get along.

Mariah's avatar

I’m not a fan of small talk, but I think I’d rather live in a world where strangers acknowledged each other and said a friendly word or two than a world where everyone completely ignored each other.

ratboy's avatar

It’s a huge evolutionary step; we began like dogs—getting a feel for one another by sniffing each other’s assholes.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I lurve it when @ratboy steps in and puts everything into perspective for us ;)

OpryLeigh's avatar

Yep. Small talk always makes me feel awkward.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I agree. As a female I find it particularily hard to make small talk. It just sounds so fake and unatural for me. But it’s not seen as normal to say hi to someone and then immediately ask “what’s your view on…such and such…?” in social situations.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@filmfann As always… ROFLMAO!

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