Endless small talk
Especially when it comes to meeting new people, small talk can be hard to get the hang of.
I’ve been attending a lot of social events recently, and especially with the mid-semester break now here, I’m planning on going to more. This might be the case for you, or you might be the total opposite of me and plan on just chilling indoors during the break (something I will also be looking forward to!). I’ve come to realise that I’ve gotten quite comfortable with my established group of friends, and haven’t recently experienced the ‘small talk’ stage. You know- the stage where you need to conjure up things to talk about and turn it into an engaging conversation, whilst desperately running away from the awkward silence.
Although small talk can be awkward, feeling like you’re saying the same things over and over, I believe it can really be a powerful tool when making new friends, so it’s something I aim to get better at. One of the things I’ve noticed throughout my efforts of trying to make new friends is that the amount of energy and interest I have in the conversation makes the world of a difference. It was so much easier to find the flow in the conversation when I’m alert, I was able to focus and ask follow-up questions. So if you’re introverted like me, I find mentally and physically preparing myself for the social event very helpful. For me, this looks like spending some time on my own, and listening to music while getting ready.
Of course, finding a topic in common is always a good start, but what do you do when you can’t find something in common straight away? One of my fallback strategies is to simply ask them to explain. With keen ears, I try and learn about that topic by asking questions. Sometimes, it leads to a topic we’re both interested in!
Ultimately, it’s important to remember it’s not just yourself in the conversation. So, if the other person isn’t reciprocating the same interest then maybe it’s a sign to move on to a different topic or different person. We must remember to not be too hard on ourselves.
What do you like to bring up when making small talk?