February 06, 2013

banning small talk.


Do you ever have those random light bulb moments when you realise that there and then you’ve learnt something new about yourself? I did; I learnt something new today. And that is: I’m incredibly bad at small talk.

Recently, I’ve noticed that when anyone strikes up any sort of weather related conversation or general chitter-chatter about nibbles or just polite nods of unanimity, something inside me conjures a ball of awkwardness which subsequently comes out of me in forms of: strange grimaces, tripping over things, knocking fragile objects off tables, a high pitched and/or long-winded ‘hmm’ or ‘yeahh’ or “ha ha” or “pfft”.

This is because I just want to cut to the chase and all of this beating around the bush makes me go all funny. What I really want to do, when meeting any new person, is to ask them real questions: HOW ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING? What’s going on in that noggin of yours? How’s home life? Are you sad? What newspapers do you read? What makes you cackle? Forget the two sugars in your tea: What are YOU actually like?

I’ve realised recently in and out of the working world, you’ll never get to know anyone properly if everything is just small talk them to death. Maintaining dried up conversation is a sure fire way to NEVER be proper friends with someone. It’s only until someone says something out of the ordinary, or you notice a strange sense of humour, or a hidden hobby, or a controversy or a surprising statement or a weird social bond that you suddenly think COOL,THIS IS YOU!

By not being a master at small talk it is thought to be slightly detrimental to the jolly art of networking. (Hey guys! The name’s Emma and I work the NETWORKS *creepy wink*.) But I am OK with that. I think that by being the ice-breaker at the party by asking an inappropriate question you’re on a winning path to making good friends/ trusted relationships and identifying the ones that you know you won’t blend very well right from the start.

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more on this. In fact I once started a conversation with ‘I hate small talk so much’ which the guy I was speaking to took as a sign of my not wanting to speak to him at all. Not a good start seeing how he was a good friend’s brother and THAT was the first impression I made. *cringe. I always think ‘get to the real stuff already!’. 🙂

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