I hate small talk.
It’s one of the activities that makes me think of the limited time we have on this Earth. How can we spend our time this way?
Family reunions, talking on the phone, networking, water cooler talk, meetings with clients. We try to avoid vulnerability, unfamiliarity, controversial topics, and problems in our lives by keeping people at arm’s length.
This weekend I had lengthy conversations with two of my best friends. It had been a while since I had spoken to either of them, and I was really missing them and looking forward to talking. After we talked, I realized even the best of friends need some introductory small talk before any meaningful conversation can ensue.
This lesson can be applied to any conversation – small talk is very useful as a gateway from the unfamiliar to a more in-depth relationship.
The key is to live with the small talk and use it to feel people out and find your way in – then ask a more opening question.