Why do we waste so much time on small talk? It’s so easy to literally spend hours with a friend discussing random things that are really of very little importance to what truly matters. I often find myself in those situations wondering where the interaction would go and what kind of bonds could be formed if I took the extra step to add depth to the conversation. What if we weren’t so afraid to make ourselves vulnerable or even to offend someone? Many times I’ve discovered people want to be challenged in a conversation. It’s so beautiful what can happen when we actually acknowledge we’re in dialogue with another human being; someone with joys, fears, struggles and a story to tell.
I remember a while back, I got coffee with an old friend and we had been talking about the most random, shallow topics for probably about 2 hours. Then she surprised me. When there was a lull in the conversation, she looked me in the eyes and asked “do you miss it?” I was definitely taken aback and felt awkward for a hot second. I asked her what she meant by that, and she said “whatever came to mind first when I asked you that”. Although that question may be a little cliche, she brought a flood of memories and thoughts to my head. I told her what they were- an old school, ballet, or my best friend from 8th grade. That conversation took such a turn! We both finally felt comfortable going a level deeper, and used the rest of the coffee date time well; listening to each other’s different regrets, memories and current struggles or joys.
Maybe one reason we don’t choose to put ourselves in the slightly uncomfortable position of deepening our conversations is that we take the people in our lives for granted. We give our comfort priority over everything else. Maybe small talk would be eliminated if we truly understood how short life is and the reality of eternity after death. Maybe we would be bolder with our words, even if it offends or creates a temporarily awkward moment.
Next time you find yourself in one of those endless small talk-cycle conversations, challenge yourself to ask that person something deeper than the typical surface-level topics. Recognize your shared humanity with the person across from you. Show them you don’t take them for granted.
Small talk is boring. Elevate the conversation.
*sponsored by 3 cups of coffee