Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.
I have mixed feelings about small talk.
Typical small talk conversations are unlikely to offend anyone or to stir up difficult emotions for the majority of people.
Then again, you never know what someone might find hard to talk about. Asking someone about their job might be a painful conversational segue for someone who was recently laid off or who is in an awful work environment, for example. I used to think asking about family, food, and pets were fairly innocuous, too, but that’s not necessarily the case for everyone.
Occasionally, people try to discuss sports, fashion, celebrity news, or makeup with me. I know so little about all of them that I won’t have much to add to those conversations which I think is a small risk of anything you might bring up with someone you’ve just met or who you’re trying to keep things light and fluffy with. We don’t all share the same interests, after all, but plenty of other folks may leap at the chance to guess which sports-ball team will win this year or when celebrity X and celebrity Y are going to get married after they announced their engagement.
(I’m being a little silly there and mean no offence to anyone who loves sports or fluffy, harmless celebrity news. To each their own!)
Some of the safer topics I’ve discovered are the weather, music, books, that cool bird* I spotted while birdwatching a while back, tv shows, and weekend plans. They probably won’t step on anyone’s toes, and it’s easier for someone to steer the conversation into other directions if one of those things does touch on a sensitive issue for them for whatever reason.
*It was some sort of hawk, and it was glorious. I only wish it had flown close enough for me to better identify it!
The conversations they tend to generate can feel a little repetitive to me, but I also recognize the value of sticking to lighthearted and safe material with people you don’t know well yet or who you’d rather not discuss certain things with for whatever reason.
So I will happily participate in small talk for as long as is necessary. Sometimes that may be a permanent decision depending on who I’m interacting with and what our relationship is like, but I’m also secretly glad when I meet people who also share my interests and want to discuss anything from horror films to that great new dairy-free restaurant to much deeper and more personal stuff.