my jumbled reactions as I read through this:
yes, I hate small talk for the reasons mentioned: 1. it feels meaningless 2. I am really bad at it 3. most importantly, as an introvert it drains me - I have a limited amount of energy for social interaction and small talk can feel like a waste of that precious energy.
If I'm at the sort of social gathering where you're expected to keep mingling, it means I'll have to spend nearly all my energy on small talk because you just can't stay talking with someone for long enough to get past that stage and onto more deep and meaningful stuff. So I'll go home afterwards feeling totally exhausted, and for what? what did I get out of it? nothing.
If I'm in a one-to-one conversation with someone and we can
carry on talking for a while without interruptions, that's different. I totally see the value of small talk as a starting point, a warming-up stage - especially if it's someone you don't know very well yet. It's a way of breaking the ice, testing the waters, figuring out if you actually want
to carry on talking and get onto deeper stuff.
which brings me to one of the points that bugged me in this article:"Introverts tend to be private people who don’t feel comfortable disclosing a lot of personal information right away. Meaning, you probably won’t tell Aunt Gertrude about your latest existential crisis until you make a meaningful connection with her."
- Actually I don't think that applies just to introverts. Most people don't feel comfortable dumping their most personal stuff on people they don't know very well. It's just that as an introvert I tend to be generally more interested in conversations about deep and meaningful stuff, so it's harder for me to hide behind small talk...
But there was something else that bugged me earlier on... oh yes, this: “Introverts... hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
Really? I don't feel small talk creates a barrier between people. Does anyone really feel like that? I see small talk as a useful stage in building relationships, good for breaking the ice, and also useful for those times when you have to be social but you don't feel it's appropriate to talk deep stuff - because you're stuck talking to someone you don't trust enough, or because the environment you're in is such that you know you're likely to get interrupted.
I don't think small talk creates barriers. I think it's a useful tool (but I'm not very good at it). I just hate it when I'm in a situation where I'm forced to do lots and lots and lots of small talk without any hope of a real, meaningful conversation at all. Because that drains me something terrible.
Oh, and now I've got to the list of possible questions you could ask someone and I'm like WHOA no way don't do that aaaargh! I mean really, would you ever consider asking someone apart from a really close friend: “Do you think you are you the same person you were last year at this time? How has your life changed?” or “What’s something you’ve learned about yourself lately?”
Seriously, all of the questions listed there are questions I'd find utterly horrifying. There's no way I'd inflict that horror on anyone else.
and that stuff at the end - the advice to just leave when you've run out of steam - come on, you can't always! you've travelled somewhere with your spouse or friends or whatever, you can't just call it quits when it suits you. and if it's dinner you can't leave till dinner is over. it's not as simple as that.
ok, I think I've finished ranting for now. sorry. articles about introversion tend to always get me into rant mode, because they nearly always make stupid generalisations and offer useless advice... #introverts