Small talk

  • #1
So basically I'm wondering if any of you guys find small talk annoying. I'm still in high school, where interpersonal relationships are becoming more complex and 'formal'. Personally I find it really contrived, as I'm used to engaging in some activity with others before conversation naturally erupts. So I find it annoying to "socialise" in the conventional sense where you just stand around and start conversations.

Is it something I should get used to?

Especially since my interests are more to the intellectual side of things - philo, math and science, wacky stuff, you know. I really hate trivial gossip so I feel left out if I enter a conversation where people are discussing the more than uninteresting minutae of the lives of schoolmates or celebrities or the newest spectacle. It renders this sort of talk very bleak i guess. At times I'm also stunned at my massive abillity to have nothing to say at all. The things I think about are usually on a completely different wavelength!

At the same time it worries me because deep connections with people are rare and I realise that this sort of avoidance of 'breaking the ice' isn't a very good strategy in the adult world for making aquaintances and (actual) friends.

Tl;dr:
I like making friends when I'm engaging in something else entirely, not when I'm actively trying to make friends.

Should I try harder or is this normal? What should I do?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
224
10
It's a bit worrying me your nickname is very close to being "Raskolnikov" from Crime and Punishment, other than that, small talk is salvation. All business anyday every day will fry your brain.
 
  • #3
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
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Casual conversation is a valuable skill to have and not everyone comes by it naturally. Many of us have to work at it.

If you're not interested in something, you're not interested and that's fine. I would avoid faking interest under most circumstances because most people can tell when you're not being genuine.

Something that helps though, is to develop a genuine interest in people - certainly not the gossip or the details of celebrities, but learning about the person you're talking to. Most people like to talk about themselves. And once you get beneath the surface, most people have something interesting and unique about them. As you and your peers get older, there will be more to learn and share. In high school, most kids still don't have a lot of life experience.

Another hint is to start by being a good listener. Ask the questions that you're interested in and listen to what people say. Practice patience. Learn to spot the differences between the words that people use and what they actually mean to say.
 
  • #4
AlephZero
Science Advisor
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Something that helps though, is to develop a genuine interest in people - certainly not the gossip or the details of celebrities, but learning about the person you're talking to. Most people like to talk about themselves.

Which leads to an effective, if rather cynical method: just figure out 50 different ways to ask the question "tell me your life history", and learn how to fake being interested in the (usually very long) answer.

This works best with strangers who you are unlikely to ever meet again, of course.
 
  • #5
224
10
In poker terms - don't overbet the pot with your, possibly, annoying enthusiasm :)
 

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