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Thread: How do you small-talk?

  1. #11
    Member MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I don't make a lot of friends out in the wild. If that's a measure of small talk aptitude, I'm unskilled. I don't see myself as averse to chit-chat. I often enjoy it. I almost never initiate it unless I see an indicator of a shared interest but that's probably jumping directly to medium talk. I don't want to bother people or worse make them uncomfortable. I'll talk to my barber just fine but never to a stranger at the train station. I think the biggest hindrance to small talk is smart phone overuse. I prefer small talk to big talk, which people seem to crave more.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

  2. #12
    chaotic neutral shitpost
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    “Remind me to ask you about your story when I’m less, like, crazy busy.”
    idk if anybody else thinks so, but this just seems so incredibly rude. if somebody said this to me i'd get up, find another seat and not talk to them again.

    i think i'm actually really good at small talk as long as i'm interested in the subject.* making friends/acquaintances isn't hard for me through small talk, but i HAVE to be interested. i also find a way into conversations if i overhear something interesting, in social contexts where that's not super unnatural/awkward.

    if i'm not interested, i'm still polite. it's hard to talk to people if i can't find something in common.

    * i've learned to tone this down sometimes cuz it backfires.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 08-05-2018 at 07:17 AM.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Years ago, many years ago, I took a Dale Carnegie class and one of the earlier things they taught us was a list of prompts to ask when meeting new people. Where are you from, what do you do, hobbies, places you like to travel, family size and maybe 7 or 8 more that I've seem to have forgotten. Ha. Books you're reading, foods/restaurants you like. I may ask if they've lived in LA long and if they're from someplace else, I'll ask them about their hometown. It's pretty fascinating.

    I may ask a bit about work. I've had some jobs that I hated so I'm reluctant to bring that up since I know how much hated talking about work when I didn't like it. People can also be very judgmental. I still remember from dang over 15 years ago I was on jury duty and hanging out in the big room while waiting for them to call people to potentially be on a trial, one guy, probably in his early 40s was talking to a very attractive female, prolly early 30s, who I kinda thought I had seen before. Turns out she was an actress on some show on the UPN during its brief run. He seemed like a good guy, everyday guy, no bs, not excessively charming but sorta laughing and engaged. Then he offered w/out prompting that he worked as a carrier for the post office. Even Jeannine Garrafalo and her career squelching anti Iraqi war jokes before the Mission Accomplished sign went up could've told him "Ah, man, too soon!" He had mentioned he restored cars and she eagerly wanted to go to one of his car shows and something else that seemed like potential first date material came up. Then suddenly he had his rear guard blown of and flying without engines and he didn't even know it. No joke, less than 30 seconds later it was over. She needed to go make a phone call or something like that. He tried asking her for her number and suddenly she was going to be pretty busy for the next few weeks. It was like late May, I knew she was going to be on hiatus for the next 2-3 months. I suppose it's best to know asap what kind of person she truly is but I'm wondering if he couldn't've gotten one or two good dates in to at least make her conflicted while seeing him longer??

    I detest people making small talk with me. At least when I want to be left alone. Just cuz you're bored in the airport terminal doesn't mean I don't want to rest my eyes or have things to think about. I had to call AT&T not to long ago, because shocker, something was wrong with my bill. Two things. But the guy is looking for info on a past charge which was taking an incredibly long time and he starts making small talk about the weather. This wasn't a time I needed small talk to pass the time. "What's the weather like in California?" While I wanted to say, it's June, I'm gonna let you guess, I just described as warm but not as bad as it had been. Then I bit and asked him where he was and what the weather was like there. He said nice enough to actually go outside. I forget what else he was bringing up. It didn't hurt to be polite. At one point I asked him was he a Kentucky or Louisville fan, not knowing if he liked college hoops or where exactly he lived and he said "without a doubt Univ of Kentucky." He was about to talk about what a big Calipari fan he was when the errant charge showed up. I have no skin in that game but I would've rather talked or listened to him talk about Big Blue Nation than 80 degrees and only 70% humidity.

    When I do make small talk I find sports and movies to be safe but fertile ground. Though, even those can be contentious. I also tend to hate a lot of what I see so I may be a bit reluctant to trash something someone else found quite enjoyable. I'm fine hearing what moved someone. If they ask if I liked it I might say something like, "not as much as [similar but better film.]" Then ask if they saw that.

  4. #14
    creator kari's Avatar
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    Small talk is the gateway drug into big talk. How can you start talking about climate change unless you first talk about how erratic the weather has been lately?

    I try to initiate small talk as much as possible. I remember asking a cashier about her day and her face lit up. If I can tell they're not into it I stfu and let them exist in silence. But generally people like talking esp if they're bored. I like to imagine that they are the most fascinating person, because in that moment they are.
    I fucking hate the cold! - Wim Hof

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  5. #15
    Member Pyropyro's Avatar
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    I like making small talk as much as possible. It got me over my fear of attractive women when I was in college (they're normal people, just hot). Good for honing your communication skills with people at the workplace as well.

    Also fills my INTP encylopedia with random junk but that's cool I guess.

  6. #16
    Formerly PiccoloNamek Lunar Delta's Avatar
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    I nod or shake my head in all the right places and occasionally offer ambiguous, noncommittal responses that the other person can choose to interpret in a way that makes them feel listened to. It's really a minimal effort thing, because I honestly couldn't possibly care less about them or whatever painfully boring shit they're talking about.

    Edit: That sounded pretty harsh. I don't hate the people I'm interacting with, nor do I want them to suffer in any way, I just really don't care. I only want to be left alone.
    Last edited by Lunar Delta; 08-07-2018 at 04:43 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by omnirook
    I like it cold - and raining. That keeps the public private - behind closed doors, where they belong!

  7. #17
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kari View Post
    I like to imagine that they are the most fascinating person, because in that moment they are.
    Awesome.

    For me small talk is one of those things where I have to be in the habit but also not burnt out.

    I need to brush up on some conversation starters, since I'm going back to work after a three month vacation . I also need to build up my tolerance again.

    Day two of orientation and I already miss my own silence.

  8. #18
    tsuj a notelpmis QuickTwist's Avatar
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    I try not to, but if I must, I make observations. Small talk with some people is a drag.

    They laugh and I didn't say anything funny. Extroverts.

    Does gossip count as small talk? Might as well.

    Small talk is only useful when used tactically.
    But your individuality and your present need will be swept away by change,
    and what you now ardently desire will one day become the object of abhorrence.
    ~ Schiller - 'Psychological Types'

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