I hate small talk

I came across this on Facebook today . . .

small talk

. . . and for a moment it made me think of the kind of relationships I have with the people in my life.  This one random picture made me realize that I really do hate small talk.  You know the kind of chit-chat that I’m talking about.  “How’s the weather?  How are things going at work?  Did you buy that new lawnmower you were talking about last week?  I like your new haircut.  Have you tried that new restaurant out by the mall yet?”  Blah, blah, blah!

These are the kinds of conversations that say absolutely nothing.  You might as well be standing in silence because these are not the kinds of conversations that you will remember in fifty years, in one year, or even tomorrow.

I read once that introverts hate small talk because it makes them uncomfortable.  I am not an introvert.  I wouldn’t classify myself as an extrovert either.  I don’t crave attention.  As a matter of fact, I find most busy social settings to be exhausting emotionally.  In those settings I feel like I have to be constantly “turned on,” and I can’t just sit back and enjoy the company of those around me.  I prefer smaller gatherings with just a few friends.  But that does not make me an introvert.

I have a friend that is an introvert, and when we first met trying to get him to talk was like pulling teeth.  He didn’t know me.  He was shy, and I can come off as a bit of a big personality.  I think I scared him at first.  But we slowly got to know each other, and conversations with him have been some of the best conversations I’ve ever had.  Once he started opening up we talked about everything, and that is how I got to know the shy, introverted man who held everyone else at arm’s length.

What makes you the you that you are right now?  What is your favorite color?  What did you want to be when you grew up?  What are your hopes and dreams?  What is a goal that you have for yourself?  What are your thoughts on cabbage (the antichrist of the vegetable world-yuck!)?

Some people would say that I am nosy.  Being nosy implies that I am digging for information that I can share with others about you in a fashion akin to gossip.  What I want is to not just see the top layer of your personality that you show to everyone.  I want to find out what lies on the deeper layers that you try to keep hidden, but that your body language and unconscious word usage allow to peek through.

A new co-worker (we’ll call him Fred) at the radio station recently took a request from a listener.  Fred didn’t know if we had that song in our database, so he said to the listener, “‘I’ll see if they have that song in the system.”  Why did Fred use the word “they” instead of “we.”  He wasn’t even aware that he had said “they” until I asked him if he still didn’t feel like part of the station family.  I still don’t think he does, but he spent a long time at his previous radio station, and it’s difficult to quickly feel like part of a new family.

I want to know the story behind the scars, physical and emotional.  I want to hear your favorite pet stories, most embarrassing moments, and who taught you to drive.  I want to know what makes you tick.  Small talk never gets to that depth of conversation, and thus it never allows the bonds of true friendship to form.

Life is too short to waste time with small talk and mindless chatter.  I like stories.  I like telling stories, and I like hearing stories.  I like learning about history, and how things came to be.  I like watching body language when someone speaks of certain moments in their life, because body language often speaks far louder than words.  I like the silence that comes after a deep conversation.  I like the moment of vulnerability that people allow themselves when they truly open up and put their soul on the line.  I like to see people raw and uncensored.  I like to see people without their mask.

People spend too much time being the person that they think everyone else wants to see, myself included.  I want to see, hear, and feel the real you.

Who are you for real?

Until next time . . .

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