I unexpectedly bumped into someone I’ve not seen for a long time. With it came that nervous silence of not knowing what to say:
– How are you?
– I’m good. You?
– Yeah. Good. Things going well?
– They’re all right. Can’t complain.
Imagine how it felt to be one half of that conversation. It cycled on that way for several minutes, with no end in sight.
When people ask how you are, you have nanoseconds to choose from so many possible responses:
a) “I’m good”
b) Update them on everything since you last saw each other, without regard to whether they’re interested or not
c) Go into some of the struggles you’re having at the moment
d) Focus only on the good and positive news in your life
d) Ask them how they are instead
This is why I hate small talk. It’s necessary to get things going, yet such an artificial construct when you’re with friends and acquaintances. I’d love to get right into how things are, without worrying about whether they’re really interested in how I am. But sadly, I lack the courage at times to just dive in. That’s what yawning and glazed eyes have done to my confidence over the years.
So what’s your approach to small talk? What option do you go for and why?