Hello! My name is Dana! & I’m awful at small talk!
I made this revelation when one of my family members asked me if I’ve started to make friends at the gym. That’s a logical question to ask. It would make sense. I generally go there around the same time every evening and I definitely see a lot of the same faces. But do I talk to anyone? No. Is it because I’m not confident enough in myself to strike a conversation? I don’t think so. Is it because other people aren’t friendly? Maybe occasionally, but probably not. What I think it really comes down to is knowing that any conversation that I begin will turn into small talk. After the initial meeting when we get past the important things like names, and maybe what we do, the next time I see the person I will ask them how they are doing or they might ask me that question. & whether my day was literally the best day I’ve ever had or the worst, my reply would be, “I’m doing well, what about you?” & then they will return a similar answer that doesn’t go beyond the surface of their day & then I will put my headphones in and get on the elliptical (& motivate myself by envisioning myself running away from the small talk). & I don’t consider that a significant “friendship” in my life.
Now, it could be said that this is my rationalization in EVERY setting. Which makes me absolutely AWFUL at making friends.
But I’ve also noticed that I have the same annoyance with small talk in my existing friendships and relationships with family members. I am more comfortable sitting in silence with a person than talking about something superficial. Don’t get me wrong – I love to catch up with people I haven’t seen and hear all the little details. & I especially love to analyze and process and discuss and debate. But if none of that is happening, I would honestly choose just looking at you for a while over hearing what kind of shampoo you just switched to. (Is this making me sound as creepy as I think it is?)
& ultimately, that makes me sad. While I would never want to change the fact that I’m completely comfortable with silence, and ultimately, I desire friendships full of conversations that are deep and meaningful, that’s not what everyone else needs out of a friendship & certainly not what everyone else is comfortable with. Maybe all that person needs is for someone to just ask how their day was. Just so they feel like someone cares. & what a shame that I’m depriving myself from acquaintances and friendships just because that friendship won’t look exactly how I want it to look. Selfish, selfish, girl.
So I guess this is a new challenge for myself. While I’m on a journey to be more healthy, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try to grow socially as well. I want to be more open to the kind of friendship that a normal person would enjoy, I guess. I would like to step out of my comfort zone and make small talk. & whether that means I make new friends, or just improve relationships that already exist, well, I guess we will see.
Do you have any tips? What are your favorite small talk topics?