i hate small talk
tell me about how lonely you are or tell me about why you keep waking up in the morning or talk to me about your mum’s eyes and your dad’s laugh. I don’t care about the weather and you don’t care about how my job’s going.
I’m so fucking in love with this.
how can i blacklist all posts like this can people just tag them #pseudo profound john green shit so i never have to see them
why the hell am I gonna be talking to strangers on the subway bout the color of my dad’s eyes tho what the fuck is that gonna accomplish you a geneticist? you a scientist? are you researching eye colors like how the fuck is that gonna be more interesting than anything else listed good god take a shower and go outside
Like, I appreciate the sentiment behind this, but for real anyone preaching this stuff needs to stop gazing soulfully at themselves in the mirror trying to perfect their mystical, worldly look and get with the real world.
In my job, I practically make an art of smalltalk. Several hours of my day are spent in quick, sometimes less-than-a-minute interactions with hundreds of people as they stream though on their way past. That’s actually how most of our interactions with most people outside of our immediate social sphere go— and no, you are not going to be able to connect with most of those people on a meaningful level if you only define meaningful interactions as soul-baring conversations about their reasons for living or the recessive alleles you got from your mom.
You wanna know why ‘smalltalk’ consists of the weather and innocuous job questions? Because they’re things that everyone can relate to. Whether you’re rich, poor, male, female, privileged, unprivileged, or anything in between, we’re ALL miserable when subzero temperatures stretch on for months (thank you, this year’s Massachusetts winter) or a big muggy heatwave rolls through.
I say “MAN, I hope it gets warmer soon” or “Stay cool out there!” dozens of times a day and you know what? People connect to that. Whether it’s a sardonic “Ugh, hopefully” on their way out the door or a lit-up face and emphatic “I KNOW!”, it’s a point of connection that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and evidence leads me to believe that I have brightened a hell of a lot of peoples’ days just by offering that little nugget of communication.
And to go even further, fastforward a few years. I’ve gotten to know my regulars almost entirely through smalltalk. Bit by bit I’ve picked up their names, their jobs, their likes and dislikes— and they’ve done the same to ME. What started as “God, what awful weather” has become sharing hilarious or frustrating anecdotes, or them bringing me newspaper clippings or career encouragement when they hear about my artistic trials. Smalltalk is how you get to know people, even if it doesn’t give the instant gratification that people read about in starry-eyed YA books
I’m not saying those bizarre, magical moments where you find yourself sitting with a total stranger and talking for hours about the deep stuff don’t happen, or that they aren’t amazing. One time I found myself semi-stranded in an airport and listening to an old woman with a walker tell me her life’s story— and hugging her when she ended it in tears. She ended up helping me get onto the plane early (“I’ll tell ‘em you’re helping me with my luggage,” she whispered to me when we were in line, giving me an enormous wink) and once we got to our destination, we waved goodbye to each other in the parking lot.
It was an experience I’ll never forget— but expecting it to happen all the time is missing the point. You won’t get those moments by scorning all those mundane sheeple who talk about the weather. They come when you least expect them.
In the meantime, the next time you’re stuck on a street-corner with someone in the drizzle, roll your eyes and go “MAN, gotta love this weather.”
You might be surprised what comes of it.