Small talk is way underrated. And what do people make small talk about? Sports and weather. No wonder news programs have segments of both, at least here in the U.S. That way you have something to talk about the next day at work.
It might be intellectually gratifying not to ever open your mouth unless you have something profound and philosophical to say, but that is not a path to happy social interaction. On that note, there is a new book called Quiet, about introverts and how they think. And why you shouldn’t hate them. I might read it.
I am personally schizophrenic about it. I’m fanatic about having time alone. Every day, I come home from work and decompress by sitting at my picnic table in the back yard for about an hour and a half reading. On the other hand, my job is very public, and I love that too. I love meeting and talking to people I otherwise would have never have had the opportunity to meet. I love little strange and random encounters with other people which mostly happen in the grocery store.
Case in point: I have these sunglass thingies which attach to your regular eyeglasses and flip up and down. So one day I’m standing at the customer service desk at the grocery store and a guy next to me says, I see you have your eyelids flipped up. (What? This made no sense to me.) He says, your sunglasses. Did you know those were invented by baseball players? (What?) He says baseball players flip them up when they have to look at the sky to catch a fly ball. I have absolutely no idea whether that’s true or not. But how could you resist that conversation?
Of course, that small talk thing can also be taken to extremes, for example, if that’s all you do and you can’t stop yourself. I have a person like that in my office at work, and I have yet to come up with a way to stifle her. Even though I’m in charge. I keep hoping someone else will hurt her feelings and make her shut up. But she’s remarkably immune to any hint that she might be boring everyone.
Mondays are the absolute worst. We have to hear about every movie she watched…for three days! Because she and her boyfriend watch one every night. We have to hear about whether or not they saw the end or fell asleep watching it, and whether or not the boyfriend turned over in bed, and whether the bedroom window was open, and what they had for dinner and who cooked it. Are you getting the picture here?
I have asked my assistant manager to speak to her about it nicely. Because I can be nice, but by the time I speak to you about something, I am never perceived as nice. It’s not that I’m bad at it, it’s a perception issue that I can’t overcome. Comes with the territory.
One of the issues this person has is with temperature (thus, window open or closed, window air conditioner on or not, etc. ) She’s like Goldilocks. The porridge is always too hot or too cold, it’s never just right. One day she said she was hot in the office and I said I would turn the temp down a degree, but it seemed to me she was never happy. She said (bravely) that she thought I was wrong. That she made an effort every day to come to work happy.
Well. It’s like she just has to get this stuff out of her head. I get that! It’s why I write a blog! I would recommend that to her, but she doesn’t have access to the Internet. Wonder how I know that?
On the other hand, except at work, I am very good at small talk about the weather. Unfortunately I am not equipped to hibernate. I’d like to. Wake me up in February. It’s getting cooler. The days are shorter. I hate it. I hate it when people say the air is “crisp”. I hate crisp.