For the longest time I can remember, I have not been a fan of small talk. I have been strongly dedicated to not engage in conversations with strangers, that I have pre-concluded will not go anywhere or are not intellectually stimulating. But I have always been on the extreme side of this spectrum to begin with. I am very choosy in participating in conversations even in close circles. So for some one like me to give small talk a chance seems extremely unexpected however as events have developed in last difficult years on personal and social fronts, I have come to realize that for below reasons, small talk might be a good tool for us to adopt in the current climate:
- Opportunity to break from virtual worlds:
In these times when we are heavily gadget-ed and digitally engaged, small talks can be those small opportunities to keep the phone down and engage with a live human.
In person engagements are quickly fading in-spite of the great benefits they have in terms of curbing mental health issues and promoting authenticity in human existence. We are quickly losing memory of the beauty of these real connections. So small talks can be the little breaks to engage non virtually and reap some benefits of the good old human connection. No live story, Insta story, videos, social media posts can ever replace, at least from my experience, the gratification that we get from a real conversation, even if something as tiny as a small talk.
2. You never know where you could land:
Many small talks end with just weather status updates but in some cases also build up to exciting conversations like exchanging opinions and suggestions on political landscapes, social issues, love life, common hobbies and goals. Those rare times I have kept aside my pre-conceived notions on small talks and truly engaged with a co-passenger in a flight, sometimes I have ended up learning wide variety of topics from writing tips, social activism, pets, spirituality methods, to even sometimes sharing in that moment grief and sadness over shared losses.
The possibilities of where a small talk could lead us to, are immense.
It’s just about not being lazy, keeping aside assumptions, and taking a healthy leap of faith. We have so much to learn from each other, so much to share and connect on. Who knows at some point with some courage and trust, we might even engage in conversations related to extremely polarized issues that our society faces today, and speak from our hearts for some real problem solving rather than useless rants on social media.
3. One smile or just one hello can be day and soul altering:
This is a tried and tested formula for us all. When I smile at someone in the elevator or wish them good morning, and even if we exchange a small sentence on how slow the elevator is, followed by a quick laughter, it makes me feel good. It is not even for the other person. It just makes me feel good and 99.9% times there is a smile coming from the other side of the rainbow too. We shouldn’t hesitate to do this. We shouldn’t hesitate to say light lines of goodness and kindness.
At this point we evolve from something we call small talks to a much meaningful big picture, that is creating small localized spaces of respect and love.
And this is an easy enough reason for me to become a small talk convert.