Dear Small Talk,
You and I are through.
It’s no secret that we’ve had problems for a while now. I realize that it’s partly me; I’ve always preferred to avoid you. Still, I hung in there with you because I understood that, without you, I might occasionally come across in certain social situations as rude or snobby. One might say, perhaps, that you completed me.
But I was wrong.
Here’s the thing: even though people will tell you — especially if you’re an introvert — that Small Talk is a part of life, it’s a way to break the ice in order to begin forming a friendship with somebody, it’s not that hard because all you have to do is ask a few questions and people will magically fill in the other end of the “conversation” because people love to talk about themselves, yadda yadda yadda…well, that’s all baloney. Or bologna, if you prefer. I’ve learned a few things:
- When I ask questions, people look at me funny. Like, “Are you some sort of creepy stalker lady? Are you an undercover cop? Why are you asking me all these questions, dangit?” I receive one-word replies and very few questions for me to answer and it’s kind of like the times I’ve played volleyball and an unsuspecting teammate has hit the ball over to me and I let it drop to the ground with a FLUP…only this time I’m hitting the verbal volleyball and the other person is the one letting it drop. Like, “I don’t actually care if we lose, this game is boring anyway.”
- None of my closest friendships began with Small Talk. They blossomed out of some shared interest or experience that allowed us to connect and converse comfortably. Of course, it’s possible that my ineptitude (see Item #1) has frightened away some potential bosom friends, but I’m not taking responsibility for that. I TRIED, darn it.
- Small Talk does not HAVE to be a part of life. I like silence, and plenty of other people do too. That’s right, Small Talk: other people — not just me — actually prefer silence. If somebody else wants to Small Talk me, no problem, but at this point, I’m disinclined to initiate.
A time may come when minimum civility absolutely requires that Small Talk come into play, and if that happens, I will rise to the occasion and be civil. Please understand, however, that this does not mean we’re close. It just means I don’t want to actually be rude.
Lots of other people like you, of course, so I’m not worried about you. In fact, you will be much happier with those people, because they are genuinely comfortable with you — adept, even. So trust me when I tell you that this is for the best. You go your way…and I’ll go mine.