Many gifted people experience small talk as pointless and exhausting.
Yet, small talk fulfills and important social function, which is why it is important to learn how to engage and become competent in it.
The point of small talk is:
- Sending positive relationship signals and creating a positive foundation for further interaction: “I have a good attitude towards you and I am interested in you.”
- Testing the “match”: Can we relate to each other and is it worth engaging in deeper contact?
This is why, in small talk, you choose topics that are rather unimportant, but to which everyone can contribute. A classic example would be the weather. During the conversation, you can find out whether you have things in common, perceive the other as interesting and likeable and whether you are interested in deepening the connection… Since the topic of the conversation is irrelevant, you can get to know the other free of risk and, if you’re not a match, go your separate ways without conflict.
Should you have different opinions on politics or morals, and had tested your match on these, it may be impossible to reestablish positive or neutral contact afterwards. For those of you who find small talk still too boring, you can give yourself an additional task, such as observing body language and how it corresponds to the tone of voice, if and how statements are emphasized etc.
© Frauke Niehues