…But many other people do too right? Someone…anyone…please say yes?
Being a bit of an introvert and having history of anxiety in new social environments can be a bad formula for someone actually wanting to be well-mannered in the art of small talk. Yes, I believe that talking for the sake of talking is indeed an art and my own mother is a perfect example of it. She can chat to some stranger in the doctor’s office and then end up in a conversation with five other people because suddenly the conversation is interactive and interesting. She can take a topic as cliché as the weather and then it can turn into something like the football game that happened last week. Go figure.
I would have thought that maybe the small talk gene could be passed directly to me! But no…sadly, this is a dormant gene. Maybe the next generation will get it if they’re lucky. Now I’m not saying the inability to join in or start small talk is bad, I would just personally like to get better at it. Instead of being the convo whiz like my mom, I’m awkward and stumble with my words, and you can so tell when I’m trying too hard. Why bother trying hard at all? Well, I’ll tell you why. When I just stay quiet, I feel like I give off the impression I’m to uppity to start a conversation with anyone. In actuality, I really am quite friendly, but between my social awkwardness and Resting B**** Face (which is another post entirely) I really am stuck in a hard place. So for those of you like myself, maybe we can try some simple steps to overcome our small talk inability to perceive ourselves as more verbally comfortable. Maybe I’ll learn something by following these tips too.
Pick something interesting about your surroundings. I tried this at the doctor’s office the other day and it worked so well. This is especially helpful right now with the holiday season around the corner; you’ve got people decorating everywhere.
Talk about something happening soon/happened already. Yes, this includes asking what someone is doing for the weekend or what they did for the weekend. I get asked this question a lot and I know it is for the sake of small talk, but I honestly need to come up with a better response than “Good.” Maybe I’ll try “It went well” next time.
Smile. Keep a good attitude. I smile when I get nervous, which I suppose could still work for some, but in all honesty, letting the other person know that you are trying to enjoy and make an effort for the conversation will simmer the tension down.
That’s about it for now..I’m going to put these tips into practice to see if I get any results tomorrow. TGIF! What are you all up to for the weekend? (See what I did there?)
[Image via The English Student]
UPDATE: I tried small talk today at therapy and it worked! I talked to two people about the Halloween decorations around the office and oh my goodness, it felt so good to let them know I wasn’t some uppity snob who doesn’t like to talk. It was so great, I can’t wait to try it again next time!