Small talk is vulnerable to disparagement. “I hate small talk,” “Small talk is such a superficial form of communication,” “I only like to have deep conversations,”
What is small talk? It’s conversation about light topics, like the weather, the football game, the lunch you’re having at work. It is not deep in itself but it is deeply important.
Small talk shows our concern for others without violating their boundaries. Discussions with others do not need to be “deep” to be valuable.
It’s inappropriate to discuss your latest existential crisis with your boss. But to ask her about her commute or to share a comment about the weather is courteous. It displays your consideration of her well-being.
The same goes for your conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, the doctor, the person in front of you in line-- anyone who is a fellow human being but who is not intrinsically entitled to conversational intimacy with you.
The art of small talk is valuable. It’s just as important as knowing how to open doors for people behind us, or as important as knowing when to say please and thank you. Cultivate your small talk skills to express kindness to others on a daily basis.
Engaging in small talk is part of sitting in the presence of another human being for a moment and enjoying their existence. You don’t have to be close to someone to have meaningful communication with them. Small talk proves that.