Small talk. Just the words fill people with existential dread. It conjures up images of being stuck at a party or networking event and getting caught in the awkward conversation loop where nobody can think of anything to say. It’s the worst part of any first date. It is 100% pure undiluted cringe in social form.
But for as much as we dread small talk and wish we could just skip it entirely, it’s actually a necessary part of socializing. Small talk isn’t space filler, it’s social bonding; it’s the building of relationships between people that allows us to actually bridge the gap between the social space and exchanging supposedly “meaningful” talk. By making small talk, we set ourselves up to be able to ask the “big” questions… but that doesn’t mean that small talk is useless otherwise. In fact, making more small talk actually makes people – even introverts – happier. Knowing how to make small talk helps break us out of a bubble of isolation and makes us feel more connected to the people around us. It’s simply a matter of knowing how.