Hello. How are you? Did you catch the game last night? I can’t believe that’s ref’s call! They’d have played better if it were warmer. Did you know though, that some teams play better when it’s colder? Which reminds me, have you tried the new frozen yogurt place across town? I like their cherry flavor, but my fiancé would hate it. Say, how’s your wife?…
Remember meeting your best friends in college for the first time? Those wonderful “a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met yet” situations are the best, but they can be confusing. For a long time I couldn’t stand someone because I thought he was frustrating from afar, but after having to fill awkward silent moments of small talk with him I quickly came to know and love the guy. Had I known how to approach him earlier I would have avoided months of misjudgment and gained a good buddy even sooner.
Take it away Tasha…
- Ego in the elevator
It is okay to talk about yourself, but try not to be the focal point of your chitchat. If the person you’re talking to spends ten seconds talking about their daughter, please don’t go off on a tangent about your kids for the better part of a minute. Moreover, you don’t have to respond to someone’s comment with an example from your own life of the exact same thing (only you did it better, naturally). After a while of keeping this up, you might see your small talk partner looking like Dr. McCoy.
- Familial fiascos
With Easter recently behind us, I’m guessing some of you held large family get-togethers with relatives you don’t regularly talk to. Maybe you have a sister who thinks she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, or you have a dad like Sarek who has a difficult time opening up. Help melt the tension by agreeing on how delicious the ham was, how eventful the weekend is, or how adorable those tribbles are.
- Current events crisis
Not everybody wakes up to NPR for an hour in the morning, so discussing current events can actually be useful to educate your conversation partner. If I were living under a rock and suddenly decided to travel to The Ukraine, I would appreciate the person who warned me about the political unrest at the moment. Just try not to be like Commander Sisko and lord your knowledge of any given topic over someone’s head.
- Weather weariness
You may not discuss the weather. I know that it snowed. I was there.
- Store sweatpants
It’s 11 a.m. on Sunday and you’re at Festival Foods during rush hour before a Packer Game and you’re noticing an abundance of adults in pajamas. Instead of speaking your mind (which either sarcastically says A. How nice of you to get dressed this morning, or honestly says B. I wish I were still in my sweats) be like Picard and gently compliment how plush their outfit looks. Small talk about Duck Dynasty would also likely be acceptable.
- Surprise switcheroo
Lastly, if ever you’re thrown back in time to change your own history and you wake with a start to find an omnipotent being is sharing the bed with you, just cover yourself up and say nothing.
With this priceless knowledge at your disposal, you may now boldly small talk where no one has talked small before. I just hope you have more success than Data…