Introverts are quiet but love to talk about topics that fascinate and interest them, not small talks. Any discussion that leaves room for meaningful interaction, something new to learn, and the chances of bonding, energizes an introvert.
Surface conversations or shallow topics feel like work for introverts, including small talk in business conversations. The conversation at a party gives the same exhaustive feeling and is why we are often reluctant to meet new people.
It is not like we hate people, Nah! We don’t, there’s just so much catching up to do. Even when a communication is via typing, one has to know what to say in an awkward text conversation.
What are small talks?
The Oxford dictionary defines small talks as polite conversations about unimportant things. Nevertheless, it could be turned into meaningful conversations just in time to make the best of the talk.
When an introvert learns how to make small talks with strangers have a meaning, conversations become seamless. This can be achieved by acquainting oneself with regular small talk conversation starters and greeting.
How to turn small talks into a conversation?
Where possible, an introvert can pick out certain small talk topics to avoid. But the best way around this is to find a common ground to spark up a conversation.
Add details to the small talk: Rather than give close-ended answers like “I’m fine, you?” to questions like “How are you doing?”, you can add a little more detail, maybe about your day. “I’m fine. I started my daily workout today, and feel happy about it”.
More questions can arise from your response and maybe a response that leads to other interesting topics. Keep adding a little comfortable detail to the talk, until you both find yourselves on the same page.
Ask interesting questions: Discard boring scripts like topics about the weather and questions like: where do you work? Use killer conversation starters instead. This is a cool way to get people to talk about things that really excite them. Some suggested examples are:
What personal projects are you working on?
What food do you hate that everyone likes?
Have you met anyone really interesting lately?
What is that one thing you can leave your current job for?
What do you think about the recent hype around programming?
If you were to go for an all expensed paid vacation to any place in the world. Where would you go and why?
These are just a few examples. You can explore more interesting conversation starters to prep you for when next time you are in a small talk situation. The whole idea is to get you and the person you are in communications with to find a common ground to express yourselves naturally.
Small talk topics to avoid if you can
Materialism topics: While materialism is sweet for the economy, introverts may not necessarily be interested in conversations that compare the net worth of one person to another. This topic somewhat has a way of playing on our fears, wants and tends to lead to feelings of loneliness. Conversations in this direction can make an introvert feel drained
Celebrity or personal gossips: Introverts are not the biggest fans of gossip, whether celebrity or personal gossip. We find gossip kind of pesky. It is a really low-level small talk for us. We are better of talking about inventors or people around us that are doing exceptional things.
Introverts value human interaction and closeness. Anything at all that threatens to steal this value from us is scary—Small talks are scary.
Just like Dr. Laurie states in her book Introvert Power, “Introverts do not hate small talks because we dislike people. We hate small talks because we hate the barrier it creates between people”.