Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bad at Small Talk? Never Fear...

I am bad at small talk. What do I say to people?

Just ask them about themselves. So where are you from originally? They tell you the city. What was that like? They tell you. Sometimes I even say So what’s been going on in your life? and when they tell you the gist of it, you think of more things to talk about. Then they might ask you something. You don’t have to get deep, and neither do they, but it makes a nice little banter. Just showing interest in people works (I am one of those weird people who are genuinely interested in every new person because I always feel like I learn something from every single person I meet, so I am constantly interviewing people and finding out interesting things.)

It is hard to do, but you have to care less. Or remind yourself that other people do not care about us as much as we think they do. If you find yourself worried that they are going to find you awkward, remind yourself that they arent even thinking of you, they most likely only care about what is going on in their own head.

I want to be social but I never go anywhere. What do I do?
You have to go in public. To be around people helps. People don’t realize that they are being hermits sometimes. Take a class, get on a team, go to parties, say yes to any invite you get, even if it is only hanging with family members. You will slowly start to be around people and get into their rhythms. The number one thing is to be genuinely interested in other people. Once you start talking to someone, show interest in their life (don’t come on too strong with this.)
Starters: “So where are you from?/How do you know_____”?/What do you think of this class?”/”Is it just me or is that really loud?”/ Laugh at their joke, engage them in any other conversation you want— talk about something that is currently in the news/trending, ask them where they got their coat, you like it; ask them how their sandwich is because it looks pretty good. If they start talking about their job, ask them how they like working there. If they have an Italy key chain ask them if they have ever been there, whats it like. People sometimes wear or show their interests, ask them about those things and learn from them. Don’t top people’s stories (even if yours is better), don’t talk over people or interrupt them and don’t be negative. Don’t stress over this stuff, remember that people are in their own bubbles and are most likely not intently thinking about how awkward you are (which I am sure you are not, but this is the thought of some people and it stops them from moving forward.)

How do I talk to an acquaintance? A Friend of a friend I don't know well?
You: “Hey, nice to meet you.”
Them: “ You too.”
You: “You live around here?/So you work with_____/So you are friends with ____? How do you two know each other?”
Them: “Yes, I live down on ________/Yes, He works upstairs from me/Yes, we grew up together…”
You: “Oh really? I have always liked that street— you have a lot of dogs being walked around there, don’t you/I have always heard that is a great place to work because they have really good coffee—/Did you? She always talks about loving her summers on the beach, did you go with her?
Them: “Oh, yeah, so many dogs. I have three!/They do have really good coffee actually, but there is an even better coffee place down on ___/I did, yes! We used to go to the beach every summer and she was always afraid of jellyfish…

BAM! Done, son.