Every single person on this planet hates small talk. If you thought you were the only one, you're definitely not. Literally - and I mean that by the dictionary definition not the "OMG, literally" context - everyone I ask about small talk tells me that they hate it. And it's easy to understand why. You don't learn anything about another person through small talk. It's a lot of effort for absolutely no reward. And whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, having a conversation with other people takes effort.
So if you want to jump from small talk to actually deep and interesting conversations, use these tips to help you get there.
Also, I made a video explaining these tips, so if you prefer to listen to advice instead of reading it, check out the video below:
#1: Ask the other person what they want to talk about
Many times we'll have something on our minds, but we're too afraid to ask our friend to talk about it. So if you've run out of conversation topics, ask the person you're talking to if they have anything on their mind. Oftentimes they will be going through something that they need to discuss with a friend.
If the person doesn't have anything on their mind, they will usually ask you if you have something you want to talk about. If you do, yay! You've successfully started a conversation and you don't need to read the rest of this blog. But if you don't, or - like me - you're too afraid to admit that you're upset about something, then try the next tip.
#2: Talk about media.
Movies, television, Netflix, YouTube, video games, music, social media. There are so many different platforms where our generation consumes content. Oftentimes there is at least one piece of media that both you and the person you're talking to have both consumed. It could be a funny iiSuperwomanii YouTube video or an episode of Jane the Virgin. (Are those both just me?) Whatever it is, you can either talk about what happened in the content, the message of the content, or why you haven't been consuming the content. For example, if I were to bring up Jane the Virgin with my sister, we'd get into a conversation about why we haven't watched the latest season.
This may feel like small talk, but before you know it you will be in the middle of a deep, thoughtful conversation about how the hot love interest's abs are obviously photoshopped in the latest episode of your favorite tv show.
#3: Keep the conversation alive and evolving
You don't want to be caught in a conversation that's going nowhere. We all know these conversations. You'll ask your friend about the game last night, they say they saw it, and then the conversation awkwardly ends.
Instead of letting the conversation die, think of thought-provoking questions you can ask the other person. After asking if your friend saw the game, ask them what they thought of a specific play, or ask them to explain a complicated move to you. (Because I honestly know nothing about any kind of sport. If you're like that too, check out this T-shirt. I'm not sponsored, I just love Philip DeFranco and think the shirt is amaze-balls.)
Regardless if you're talking about sports or movies or the crazy guy on the sidewalk, keep the conversation alive by asking questions that demand a response.
You: What did you do last night?
Friend: Stayed in my room listening to music.
You: What kind of music?
You: That's cool, I like alternative too.
You: What did you do last night?
Friend: Stayed in my room watching tv.
You: What show did you watch?
Friend: Orphan Black.
You: I've heard of that show. I've been wanting to get into it. What is it about?
Friend: *Goes into conversation about one of the best shows ever to grace your television screen*
#4: Be a good listener
Just as you would like other people to listen to you, it's important to listen to other people. Not only because they will be more satisfied with the conversation and want to speak with you again, but because when you listen to them, you'll be able to naturally evolve and continue the conversation.
If you're not paying attention while you're talking about groceries with a friend and they mention how their bank sucks, you miss the opportunity to go into a conversation about their bank and why it sucks. Not that talking about finances is fun for anybody, but you get my point.
Listen, and good conversation topics will arise naturally without you being stressed about small talk.
Small talk sucks. Everyone wants to avoid it. So use these tips to help you skip the conversation about the weather and dive into your obsession with hand-made antique trinkets, or whatever else you want to talk about!
Let me know in the comments your go-to way of avoiding small talk and starting a conversation! I'd love to hear your advice and stories.