“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” – Susan Cain
Whether you refer to it as banter or chit-chat, small talk is a big issue for introverts.
It makes us feel uncomfortable. It is a big reason why we are hesitant to meet new people. It is one of the must-do social interactions that we don’t like doing.
Small talk is the introvert’s poison.
Our dislike for small talk sometimes makes people think we are socially inept, snobby or just weird. They may think that we are turning our heads away at an important social custom. They believe that we don’t like engaging in small talk because we dislike people. But the truth lies on the opposite side.
Introverts understand that small talk creates an uncomfortable barrier between people. Laurie Helgoe, writer of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, explores this in more detail:
“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
Sadly, small talk has been classified as socially necessary by the world we live in. Wikipedia has even described it as a “social lubricant”, which makes it sound like good times. But we all know that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Small talk is supposed to be a relaxing and fun experience, and yet it fleets from meaning and depth. Personal topics are considered off-limits. In a similar manner, any show of emotion besides neutral or happy is highly frowned upon. As a consequence, authenticity goes spiraling down the drain.
In reality, small talk only makes two people have a whole conversation without actually getting to know each other.
Instead of being a comfortable experience, the conversation is uninteresting and flat. It’s a predictable boring game of words.
Sometimes small talk could be a segway into a deeper conversation. It can, in addition, help us meet new people and make new friends if we make a good impression.
For us introverts, it is one of those painful obstacles we must overcome in order to get to the sweet spot. We take part in it hoping that we will get to know a person who hates this type of formality with the same intensity as we do.
We hope to mee that person who, like us, asks unscripted questions and laughs at all the things they shouldn’t laugh at. We stick to the wish that our path will cross with someone who is as authentic and unapologetic as we are. We are always on the lookout for people who crave meaning and depth.
We dream of going through the barrier of superficiality where true love would wait for us.
We understand that we will have to go through some small talk to find what we are looking for.
However, do not expect us to enjoy it.
What are your thoughts on small talk? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed the read.