Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you feel about small talk? Love it, hate it, what purpose does it serve? It'd be interesting to opinions from a few different writers if possible. (because I know y'all are probably busy. You guys rock! Keep it up!)
Is this why I'm so bad at dating? Because I hate small talk? I have a friend who says I just need to learn to make conversation (not sure what her source is, since I have conversations with her just fine), but does she really mean small talk? Will my ability to form a meaningful romantic relationship be forever hindered by my loathing of meaningless filler words?
Talking is bad enough as it is, but when it doesn't actually mean anything it's a million times worse. I know that I'm in a very small minority in this opinion, but that won't keep me from expressing it. Unlike Anathema, I see no need to fill "awkward" silences with fluff; silence is only awkward if you make it awkward. And unlike Van Goff, it doesn't make me feel good to have random strangers talk to me without having anything to say; it makes me feel about the same as having random strangers smile at me on the street does: patronized.
I sound like a super friendly person, don't I?
I think that small talk can serve important purposes. After all, it would be really hard to immediately segue into deep conversations with everyone you meet. Small talk can be used as a transition to go from having just met someone to talking about more interesting things. Additionally, it's useful for filling what would otherwise be awkward silences. If you don't know someone, and don't have anything to say, small talk is a nice fallback.
Personally, I dislike it but feel that it's a necessary step for moving to deeper conversations with people. Also, when people go out of their way to chat with me, it makes me feel good so I like extending that same courtesy to others.
Dear Patrick Ewing,
I really love conversation on all levels, and I don't always love small talk for it's content, but I'm a big fan of small talk when it makes other people comfortable. I'm a big fan of silence as well, but I really enjoy connecting with people. If I feel like my silence is making the other person uncomfortable I will find something to say, no matter how ridiculous. Also, I believe it's definitely possible to have sincere small talk. It's an art really.
Keep it real,
I believe in speaking only if what I have to say would improve on the silence. And I love silence.
Even though sometimes small talk feels dumb, I think it's important to be able to communicate on different levels. This article I think does a good job of discussing some agreed-upon levels, and expressing that getting to the deepest level is not necessarily the mark of good conversation.
I like it better than big talk!
-Sunday Night Banter