The introvert’s small talk problem
Words are an important currency in the minds of Introverts. They prefer to mull over their words before they present them to the world — if they ever do. They relish taking the introvert chat to coax out all the implications of a thought and to arrange their thinking neatly, making sure their words are worthy of being uttered. They just like having more control, and they find more comfort in showing only the cards they want to in a thoughtful manner.
Small talk is the opposite. The subjects arise spontaneously. Much of it is forgettable, throwaway material. Chat-fests also invite people to frolic in an unguarded way in a social playground, and that alone can intimidate those who prefer solitude and deliberation. Not all Introverted personalities introvert chat small talk or never indulge in it.
Talkative Introverts are a thing. But if all of this is viewed from the perspective of spending personal, psychological energy, Introverts typically become exhausted during social interactions. They lose energy and feel emotionally and even physically spent. They react strongly to the simple presence of others.
Add to this that small talk often happens in environments filled with noise and busyness — environments that drain the typical Introvert. While avoiding small talk is not universal among them, Introverts are far less likely to engage in it than Extraverts. This can leave them at a disadvantage. To the horror of working Introverts everywhere, some work-related social events are nothing but a cascade introvert chat seemingly endless trivial conversation. For example, a holiday cocktail party: nobody attends to engage in heavy discussions.
Introducing deep topics during an alcohol-laced party can even be viewed as boorish.
A conversation with an introvert and an extrovert
That martini in one hand and the tiny frank impaled on a toothpick in the other are als to leave any difficult or complex subjects at the door. Such gatherings can potentially bring people together and launch relationships strong enough to soar far introvert chat that one party. Potentially, the road to career advancement might start in that room.
Chatting can also be the gateway to close friendships and even love. Who knows, Mr. Right could be just a few pleasantries away. Before climbing up a career or social ladder or finding a romance for the ages, there introvert chat usually small talk. Small talk gives participants a chance to ease into the personality of other people without committing too much. The customer gets a quick taste and can decide from there whether to purchase the cheese in a spray can or not.
Or, to try another analogy, great treasures may or may not await you inside a house. To find out, you must first open the door, and that takes a key. Small talk is sometimes the key to discovering someone who you may treasure for a lifetime. The strategies below can be used in business, adapted for purely social settings, or even used for one-to-one encounters. Some are simply shifts in attitude, while others require specific actions. Not all suggestions will introvert chat for all Introverts, but maybe some will work for you. The overarching challenge: make yourself mildly uncomfortable today by engaging in small talk a little more.
Are we asking Introverts to love small talk? Some may never actively seek out banter for either fun or profit. But this is not about extremes. Consider this: Would you rather engage in small talk or lie on a rack and be tortured, like in an old New Yorker cartoon? But seriously — when introvert chat dread something, we sometimes magnify its dreadfulness. Then, such magnifications can become self-fulfilling prophecies, and we manifest awfulness.
A person can become all knotted up inside thinking about what a horrible waste of time small talk is. This may be especially true for Introverted personalities who also have Turbulent Identities. Bad feelings and resentment can make it harder to talk as breezily as one might want to introvert chat a chat session. In fact, it may even turn out to be fun.
Maintain a positive perspective. Introverts tend to embrace topics that tilt more toward the serious. While many Introverts can be as caught up in trivialities like TV shows, sports, or popular trends as introvert chat, small talk can still feel inconsequential and like a waste of time for many of them, depending on other personality traits and factors. It might help to shift the paradigm and to give small talk a purpose — but not necessarily a hard, goal-oriented purpose. Do you want to meet new friends, get to know coworkers better, or make new business connections?
That might work for you.
However, such specific goals may introvert chat heighten expectations too much. If you make no new introvert chat or connections, have you failed at small talk? You might continue to think of chatting as a dreary chore, with the good stuff always potentially coming later. Make small talk, which you can control, the good stuff, and let the future respond as it will. But it might be interesting to give casual conversation a more revered place in your life.
Since small talk does play such a subtly important role in society, try engaging others in it for no other purpose than mastering the art. Can you make small talk interesting or clever?
Make that your goal. Earlier, we described small talk as a spontaneous act.
Why introverts may want to master small talk anyway
Now we suggest something else — cheating introvert chat it comes to spontaneity. Why not apply the same concept to small talk? Some people benefit from coming up with topics before they go to an event. That way, if that dreaded lull in the conversation happens, they have something up their sleeve. This is especially good if anxiety plays a role in your dislike of small talk.
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Before you go to that meet-up, dinner, party, bar, or conference, pay attention to the news. Look at you start that small talk! Of course, the topic should be universally interesting. Find something about the latest trends, the weather, celebrity sightings… What was that funny thing Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show last night?
What about the rude lady in front of you at Starbucks? Have fluff introvert chat.
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And if you run out of fluff, have a few standard questions ready. Introversion does not involve specific behaviors as much as it is a motivation. Introverted personalities are intent on turning down the noise stimulationcollecting thoughts or processing feelings, and thinking before speaking or doing.
So what would happen if you shifted the paradigm and allowed those introvert chat to retreat into the background — not permanently, but just for a while? What if, instead, your primary motivation was to help make others at a gathering feel welcome, so that they warm up to a social situation? This is another way to imbue small talk with purpose, and it has the introvert chat benefit of allowing Introverts to deliberately take the attention off of themselves for a few minutes.
Become the host — at least in your attitude. But look around and see how you can make others in the room feel more welcome. This can often be done by making small talk and introductions. You can also adapt this strategy by taking the lead in one-on-one situations, like going on a date or having coffee with a classmate. How can you make the other person feel more comfortable while delicately encouraging them to participate? It not only gives you a focus, but it also introvert chat you a sense of purpose — bringing other people out of their shells.
Instead, they lay the groundwork for other people to enjoy themselves and participate on their own terms. You just do enough of it to pull others into the conversation. There is no such thing as a perfect performance in something casual enough to be called small talk. Allow yourself to make mistakes.