I watched a video the other day on YouTube by The School Of Thought on what to do if you hate small talk. In short, the video said to use small talk to segway into deeper conversations. For example, use the weather to discuss feelings, news and sports to discuss the state of society etc.
As an introvert myself that makes sense but there is a problem with it. While I love deep conversations, making the jump from something shallow like weather to something in depth like the meaning of life so quickly would be jarring and uncomfortable for me. Even if I was talking to a close friend or family member.
Growing up, family get togethers happened a lot, and I mean A LOT. Holidays, birthdays and sometimes for no reason at all!
I got used to the intertwining conversations but I found myself being quiet most of the time or talking with one other person.
This was true in not only family functions but in church and school as well. In many settings and social circles, it’s considered rude not to engage in small talk unless someone already knows that you are an introvert or that you just prefer deeper conversations.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy meeting new people and hanging out with friends and family. With that being said, I’ve learned that three things are three things are key to turning small talk into real talk. That is to take interest, relax and listen.
1. Take Interest
A good friend of mine cuts right to the chase when we meet up for coffee or lunch. Instead of asking “How’s it going?” or “How are you?” like I have a tendency to do, he immediately asks me “what’s new?” or asks me to give him an update on something he knows that I’ve been working on. When he does that I feel obligated to respond with something more than “good” and that I’d been granted more permission to talk about my life.
Making sure your conversation goes well can be as simple as finding something interesting that you like about the person and telling them so. This is a great way to spark a good conversation. You may find that you two have something in common or learn something new!
Don’t forget your surroundings! If you are at a some sort of event, ask them what brought them there or what they’re hoping to get out of it. Anything, that will show them you care about what they have to say.
I’m guilty of being uptight if I have to go to an event where I don’t know anyone or even if I do know someone! So out of fear of rejection or being seen as weird, so I will shy away from people and just try to be present.
Many people will be able to tell when someone is dealing with being quiet out of fear of rejection or trying to be someone they’re not to fit in.
The best thing you can ever be is yourself! When you are authentic with yourself and others, you open the door to a meaningful connection! Relax and be yourself, others will appreciate you for it!
3. Be Aware
Listen, listen listen! Be aware of tone, body language, and your surroundings! You will know when to change subjects, when to pause the conversation, and when to take your leave etc.
There’s nothing worse than missing a social cue. Take it from someone who’s done it many times and embarrassed himself as a result.
Being aware of yourself, the other person and your surroundings will give the feeling of preparedness and might be a confidence booster as well!
I enjoy watching school of thought videos sometimes. It gives me insights on personal development and it helps me in writing when I’m forming and developing characters. If you get frustrated by someone wanting to engage in small talk when you want to dive deep. Take a deep breath. Handle it with grace and keep in mind that they might not want to have a deep convo. Keep your eyes and ears open, you might learn something about them and even yourself!