Hate Small Talk? Here's a Fresh Spin...
How are things progressing in your life and work in this moment? My hope is that you're cherishing each and every moment & conversation. They are ALL so important. This past weekend, I spent time with one of my really good friends, visited one of my alma maters, and enjoyed a restful Sunday.
In going back and attending our old campus, my friend Jessica and I reminisced on some really great times, some really funny times, and some really not-so-fun times we both had in college.
We walked around the university snapping pics and talking with old professors.
Something interesting though...
Because I knew we were both introverts, I was especially attuned to how each of the conversations were different, because they involved this dreadful thing we sometimes call small talk.
Introverts typically HATE small talk. It's not that we don't like people or know it's not necessary at times, but we just most of the time don't care to engage for long in "how's the weather" or "what I had to get done to my car yesterday."
This kind of conversation can only hold us for so long before we're nodding off, and especially if we're on the phone.
Typically, we're more drawn to deeper conversations about deeper topics and more layered meaning. Spiritual breakthroughs or enlightenment, lifestyle and philosophical thinking, book or story meanings, psychology or marketing behavior, and the like.
Things that require deep thought and penetration of the mind, rather than things that don't require much attention or depth.
Something introverts really have to watch out for is making others feel shallow when we feel this. It can sometimes happen, even when we don't mean for it to. We can accidentally yawn or sigh, lose interest by looking off, or rush off the phone.
However, in talking with those professors this past weekend, something surfaced about small talk I had never noticed before.
I simply realized that in order for all the layers of a flower to bloom, it first starts closed up, and slowly unfolds, and so went many of the conversations we had.
Almost every dialogue you and I engage in starts this way - with small talk.
You might hate it, but it's necessary to get to where you want to go in a conversation with someone.
I think it's important to remember that, introverts usually open up fairly quickly and enter the type of conversations they value with people they value and who value them.
Outside of that, we need to keep in mind that many people don't respond to conversations this way. For many people, it takes them a while to open up and trust another person with personal information or details.
They need a little bit more time to delve into the deep - more time to cultivate the necessary waiting period for trust to germinate and layers of themselves to be exposed.
There's something I'd like you to do for the rest of this week: pay attention to the small talk you would normally ignore and don't ignore it. Engage it, however uncomfortable it may be.
The way to do this is to be fully present in that moment. I want you to start thinking of each conversation as one you may never get back - one that could literally change that person's day.
It might be weird at first, but I have put this into practice in my life (as an introvert), and it's drastically helped change the way I communicate.
Yes, there are still days I get on elevators and feel the awkward silence, and don't feel a responsibility to break that silence. Those times are still okay.
But pay attention to the times when people are attempting to engage you in a dialogue, and you would typically just smile lightly and walk by or say "yep!"
Instead, stop and be thankful for that moment, engage in the talk, however small, and enjoy it. See how different you feel, and how proud of yourself you will be in those moments.
Next week, I hope to elaborate on this whole "being present" thing to help you some more.
Thank you SO much for being here each week.