Small Talk

noun

Polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.

No matter how much we might hate this small-talking, it is bound to happen to all of us. And whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, nobody seems to enjoy it a lot.

Source: Art by
Stephan Schmitz
>

On the new year’s eve of 2016, I found myself at a densely packed house party which seemed inviting at the first glance until a series of small talks trailed through the night. Just like the ones you have with thy colleagues in a washroom, or when you meet a neighbour in a really slow elevator. 

Source: Art by 
Vincent Mahé
>

 “It so damn cold.” 

“Yeah, it really is cold. Colder than yesterday.”

 ____ *long pause*____

“I think I am gonna go grab a drink.” “

Yeah sure. See you around.” 

These are the conversations I have been trying to save myself from. So, to combat these incredibly dull conversations, I have tried to put a plan in place for the ongoing party season. No matter how much we hate these petty conversations, we sometimes find ourselves making them, and to equip you well for such difficult and arduous situations, we want to arm you well to handle them. Take a look at how you can master the art of small talk with this easy guide.

Source: Giphy

Ask questions.

Person: “I really like Blueberry Cheesecake.”

Me: “Brilliant. What do you like about it: the blueberry or the cheesiness and why?”

Well, that isn’t a bad start at all. Either they are going to laugh at your randomness or just feel perplexed with what you just asked. Both ways, you win at grabbing their attention. This will make them think and feel something. You may also ask them a simple question like, “Nice. Where do you usually order from?” but even if they know that you are interested in knowing, they’ll mostly forget the conversation altogether in a day or two. Also, remember to keep the question open-ended that can’t be answered with one word.

Always remember that most people you meet will forget what you said and are more likely to remember the fact that you listened and how you made them feel. So ask questions, listen and respond.

Source: Dudenas

Offer a compliment.

Me to person: “I love what you’re wearing. Where did you get it from?”

Offering a compliment to initiate a conversation is an outstanding way towards small talking because it makes the person feel open. Follow this up by asking questions which aren’t too intrusive but still lets the person think a little. Something like, “Where would they like to travel next to and why?” or “What is the one thing that made you the happiest today?”

Source: Sher Rill Ng

This will make the person feel comfortable with you for you’re making the effort of listening to them and evoking positive emotions in them. Remember to keep the compliment genuine otherwise they’d know. Especially women, they always seem to know.

Always have a drink in your hand.

Alcoholic or non-alcoholic, having a drink in your hand makes you seem like a sociable person. This is a good tip for people who are usually not able to make the first move and somewhat shy. So get a drink and stand there till someone spots the braveness in you of at least being open to being social.

Source: Giphy

Walk up to a group with a smile and say, “This is a great party.”

But if you do want to make the first move and you see a lot of groups in sight, choose the most interesting one and walk slowly towards it. And then effortlessly say, “I am actually really glad I am here. What are you guys discussing?”

There are two things that can happen in this situation --

1. People in that group resonate with what you feel and willingly tell you what they are up to.

2. People straight up ignore you. 

Source: Art by 
Marylou Faure
>

My noble advice: Don’t bother about people’s reactions. If the former happens, you can eventually turn the conversation around into something more meaningful or participate in whatever they are talking about. But if you face the latter, don’t worry because this rarely happens. People generally are always open to sharing their thoughts and knowing other people’s opinions.

Now that you have a fair idea on how you could approach different situations, here’s a few thought-provoking questions that you may take along to have a more fulfilling conversation this party season.

Two amazing things can happen in the process: 

1. You'd learn something distinctively cool about the person you're engaging with and there is a great chance of befriending them. 

2. Added bonus would be the clarity with which you'll see how nobody really cares about the weather. 

Source: Art by  for
Jeremy SteinerStudio Science
>

  • If you were guaranteed to be successful, what job would you want?
  • If you could only watch one genre of movies for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  • If you could take a work-cation or a sabbatical, where would you go and what would you do?
  • Do you have any hidden talents or surprising hobbies?
  • What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever gotten?
  • What would be your ideal superpower?

I hope these give you an idea of where you could start a conversation.

Happy partying, you guys! Cheers.