Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

Socially Awkward

One of my good girlfriends was surprised when I told her I was an introvert. Unless I’m comfortable with the people I’m with, I’m not too good at being super social. 

If I end up in a room with a bunch of people I don’t know, I have to force myself to be friendly. I would much rather curl up in the corner with a good book. I have a friend who can literally walk into a place and make friends with everyone there and leave knowing everyone’s life story. I really wish I could do that. 

Those people who can be friends with everyone amaze me. And I don’t mean the fake people that pretend to be friends with you. I mean the sincere people who really want to know you and create a new relationship. 

So what makes us introverted? I don’t know if it’s entirely the insecurity of the possibility that the new people you meet might not like you or if it’s just a preference. I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing at all. It’s who you are. I just have trouble accepting it for myself because I judge myself to be socially awkward when I’m not the person who knows everyone in the room. Talking to someone one on one is much easier for me. Put me in a room of a bunch of people I don’t know and I want to run the other way. 

I asked my cousin once on how she manages to go anywhere and be comfortable talking to anyone. She told me that her secret is just to ask them about themselves. I still have to learn to employ this technique. 

Being introverted is a challenge. It’s not an easy thing to overcome. One day, I hope to be comfortable enough with myself that I have an easier time being in a large crowd. I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only person who feels this way. 

How do you manage to be social in a large crowd?