Small(er) Talk

If by now you don’t know i detest small talk, thank you for stopping by my blog and having anything at all to do with  me for the very first time ever. The rest of you know what a thorn in my side it is. I highly prefer conversation of substance, even if I don’t know the person that well. Get right to it, and such.

I got to thinking the other day about another concept, though. Small(er) talk. This I could probably handle more often than small talk.

Based on my studies, (which I must rely upon on this issue, as I have almost no personal experience with it working this way) two things potentially occur with small talk:

  1. You have a temporary, pleasant conversation of several minutes with a stranger whom you will probably will  never befriend or even see again. The reward is human contact and conversation for its own sake. (One of the most foreign concepts to my psyche I have ever encountered.)
  2. The small talk leads, by some mystery, to a greater interest in the other person, thus sparking the sort of substantive conversation i prefer, and the two people go on to become friends. (Very rare.)

In both cases, it’s not how I work.

But if a chat like that could be expected to be less than even the first of these choices, I may be into it slightly more often. What if, say, I could see someone wearing a shirt that I liked. What if I could ask them where they got it, and they told me, and that was the end of it all? What if I didn’t expect more commentary, the other party didn’t feel the social need to elaborate, and everyone gets something they want out of the deal?

Behold, the concept of small(er) talk.

I know, I know. This sort of thing happens all the time to many of you. That’s great. But they way I see it, it just happens to turn out that way any given time. I still think the social expectation is for small talk to last at least for the duration of both of you being in line at the market. It’s at least expected in our extroverted culture to the point of my putting in the effort to avoid talking with anyone, lest it become a conversation I don’t feel like having, or otherwise making others feel that they need to extend what they are saying in order to make it small talk.

Small(er) talk. If only there were a way to indicate that is what we were after. Take lines again, for example. What if it became a cultural norm that when in lines, all that is expected, or even all that is appropriate is small(er) talk? Or in elevators? Or anywhere? That way small talk could be saved for the cocktail parties that I and other INFJs despise so much, and yet we could give conceivably express the slightest bit of interest in a stranger when otherwise we would be avoiding eye contact at all costs.

As the ancient saying goes, dum spiro spero.



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