To some people it is the bane of their lives, while to others it helps provide their bread and butter. For most it is a necessity to instigate or continue conversation.

I have met a few people in the past who outright state they hate small talk, or further still “they don’t do small talk”, something that I can’t comprehend. How do they talk to people? You can’t walk up to someone you have never met and immediately launch into a deep and emotional issue. It is understandable not to like small talk, it does after all provide nothing interesting in of itself, but as I mentioned before, it is generally a requirement to allow you to lead onto further conversation.

Small talk is often needed to fill those silent moments that threaten to become somewhat awkward. While there are times when silence may be appropriate, that should not be at a dinner for two or a garden party. There is nothing worse than staring at your feet while the person across from you does the same when a conversation comes to a halt. Would it not be far better to slip in “it’s rather hot in here isn’t it?”. This could lead you on to mentioning how your really should be used to it after your time abroad, or equally how you’re not used to it because you live in Scotland. By doing this you’ve instigated a whole new line of conversation. Psychologist support the view that small talk has a positive effect on mental health, although not as positive as meaningful conversation, but as I explained you need one to get to the other.

Now although most small talk in Britain seems to revolve around the weather, or how we are today, it is clear that to some it is an art. Socialites are renowned for constructing small talk to lead them to the juicy gossip, to them it is an art form. In a similar way some people can manipulate small talk to get to their desired result without the other person even realising what they are doing. So not only is small talk a necessity but also a valuable asset. This could be why, in my mind, small talk isn’t something you can’t just “not do”, but hey that’s just me.

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