An Introvert’s Guide To Small Talk

Art of Small Talk

Have you ever in your life had an urge to fit in? Whether it was in your 8th grade when you wanted to hang out with the cool kids or in your college when you wanted to be a part of the most extroverted groups or in your workplace where you wanted to fit into the boss’s favorite group of employees. We all have gone through that feeling. Although not many will admit.

That brings me to when and why I learnt or had to learn the art of small talk. I didn’t give much importance to small talk up until college started. When college started, I realized many people could fluently do it and they quickly became everyone’s go-to person. When I told dad about this new thing happening around me, he said that to adjust with new people and a new environment I needed to try some of it.

Earlier in life I never felt the necessity of it and everything around me happened naturally. I talked to a few people but made deep connections. But as life goes on we have to adapt to new things and live with whatever life hands us. So I decided to give it a try.

I began observing people and that was easy. I am the only child of my parents and have spent most of my time alone. After long hours of socializing I needed to recharge by escaping into my thoughts and doing some self-care. Spending a lot of time alone gives you the ability to listen, imagine, and observe better. I noticed the people who could do small talk effortlessly.

They were mostly extroverts. Watching them talk and socialize with ease was the very thing I wanted to learn. The next step was trying to do small talk myself, and I did. Many times. But each time I did it, I felt it was not me. That I am doing this for the sake of fitting in. Realizing this also sucked. But I guess my inner self didn’t want to give up. So I continued and time passed by.

Fast forward one and a half year, I can tell that I have learnt it. But do I do it regularly? The answer is a yes and a no. Small talk has sort of become a habit for me so I tend to do it when internal pressure hits. So whenever I got the opportunity, I would not miss it. I tried not to let anyone go without asking how they were doing.  But has my original motive become a success? Have I fit iinto the environment where I wanted to? Clearly, no.

Turns out small talk only formed a bunch of acquaintances but deep and meaningful conversations made me some really good friends. Bonding with people has always been interesting for me when it is done through one-on-one meaningful conversations. Talking to people was never a big deal, but doing a small talk in groups was my problem. I’m still not against it, it’s a necessity, and even when I’ve not realized I’ve done it.

Small talks have certainly helped me with my communication skills. However, pushing yourself to talk about nothing to fit in is not cool and I wouldn’t recommend it. If you have to small talk, just let it flow. It will come out without any energy being lost. If it’s not coming out, stay quiet and enjoy the energy of the energetic people around you.

~Sahasra Joshi