Your Two-Step Guide to Small Talk
Recently, I have had more than my fair share of awkward encounters. In some I was successful in taking the conversation from small talk to big talk, if you will, while in others the conversation just ended with a blank stare. I have always thought that it was much easier to be friendly than not. Some people, I have noticed, go to great lengths to avoid eye contact just to avoid saying hello. I could never wrap my head around that. A smile doesn’t hurt, and is far easier than pretending to be busy texting a friend. This is the same reason that I try to make small talk when I can, it is simply the easy way out.
But to make small talk one has to have a Swiss Army knife equivalent of conversation starters. There are universal things that all people love to talk/complain about. Talking about the weather is the easiest example. The weather impacts all of us, whether in the way it forces us to dress, or in how affects our commute to work. In Canada, the weather is a very passionate subject for many. People get quite animated about it and for good reason of course. Popular events are also a hit, but with this one a person needs to gauge their audience. The 55 year old HR manager might not keep up with the latest news from the R&B music scene, and similarly the lazy couch potato who keeps up with every sitcom on television might not know about the newest changes to auto insurance laws. It certainly helps to be informed in a wide-array of subject, because like a Swiss Army knife, you have to have be versatile and have the right line for the right time. But if you’re the sitcom-watching-couch potato or the 55 year old HR manager and you’re too lazy to read up on things then what do you do?
Well, worry no more, for I hae created a systematic method of creating small talk. Simply follow my two step program and put your hands and feet in cold water (Syrian idiom meaning relax). First, determine the time of the year. Second, use one of the lines provided. Allow me to example...
“So what did you end up doing for NYE?”
“This is the only year we’re going to be alive for, where the last two digits are exactly double the first two” This is for the mathematically gifted, and only works in 2010. Next time you can use it, people of the future, is on 2211, 2412, 2613 etc.
“Did you see the fireworks downtown?” if they say “No” reply “Neither did I” at least it’ll get you a laugh.
If you’re comfortable with making dumb remarks, comment on people’s clothes saying “that was so last year” if they have a sense of humour it should lead to a conversation.
“You have to wonder how many teddy bears are sold each year on Valentines..”
“Ahh, why did they have to change the time on us?!”
“Where are you going on vacation?”
“What are you dressing up as?”
As you can see there are plenty of conversation starters at your disposal. You should never run into an awkward situation again. If you find yourself having trouble still, please email me and include the country you live in, major holidays, climate, and popular TV shows and we can go from there.