Small talk scares me.
It might be because I’m so bad at it. Although I might be bad at it because I’m scared of it, and so I seldom practice.
Don’t get me wrong… I can hold a conversation. That is, I can hold a conversation if I think the subject is worthwhile. When I feel like a conversation is heading somewhere, to a conclusion, to a consensus, or even to a disagreement, I’m a willing, no, enthusiastic participant. I love to discuss. I enjoy debating. I get a high off of arguing.
On the other hand, when it comes to pleasantries and small talk, I can be downright awkward. It tires me out. I almost feel drained.
When the same conversation has been had a million times, and will happen a million times more, and nothing new is ever established… It makes me feel helpless when I discover myself in the midst of one.
“Nothing much. Enjoying the weather.”
I’d much rather say, “There’s a crisis in Ukraine, what’s your opinion on it?”
One of my pet peeves is sharing class schedules. Students will oftentimes begin a conversation with a University friend by asking something along the lines of, “What are you studying?” or “What classes are you taking this year?”
I can barely remember my own class schedule, let alone anyone else’s. So I believe that the following would be much better questions, especially in promoting meaningful conversations:
“What has been the dominating question in your mind lately?”
“What is the experience that affected you most over the summer?”
These are thought provoking questions that show a genuine interest in a person! And yet, I’d sound very much like a weirdo if I were to start conversations like that. Oh well.