Small talk: first conversations vs. subsequent conversations

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Cassia
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25 Aug 2010, 10:35 pm

I used to think I was terrible at small talk. Then I realized I wasn't as bad as I had thought - not good at it, but not totally incapable.

More recently, I've realized that how well I do small talk depends partly on whether it's the first time I'm talking to someone or not. I think I'm moderately competent at first-conversation small talk, but have a lot more difficulty with small talk in subsequent conversations with acquaintances. In a first conversation, I can generally ask for/exchange basic information with someone - things like name, how long they've been in the area, what their field of study/work is, and can often come up with at least a few related questions (like why they chose that field of study/work). But then I've used up all the easy questions, and have trouble coming up with anything to say the next time I meet the person.

One result of this is that at my church, after the service, I not infrequently end up talking to a newcomer one of the first weeks that they're around, but subsequently have nothing more than "hi" to say to them. This can be kind of frustrating for me, but in some ways it's probably not that bad of an arrangement for the other person, because the first time they're in a new place is probably when they most need someone to say hi and talk to them, and subsequently even if I don't manage to converse with them, they usually end up getting to know other people.


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changing89
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26 Aug 2010, 1:01 am

allow yourself to be vulnerable. We're human, we are bound to make mistakes. In this life, we may only live 1 life, live it to the best of your ability. That is what I am trying to do, become intimate with another person (and not necessarily in a sexual way). It is a tall order, but it must be done.

Everything will be okay, when a situation comes up like that (which i can totally relate to), maybe ask how are they doing today, open up about yourself, I'm trying to open up about myself and realize that I am worth it to talk about. Helping others helps us develop a better sense of self worth, but to make it grow we need to continue to express ourselves.



Pseudeos
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26 Aug 2010, 2:53 am

Keep on searching for questions to ask the person. It works for me, though I did get caught out once when someone heard a conversation between me and another person, and thought we were playing 20Q :?



t55
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26 Aug 2010, 3:31 am

I understand your pain. I predict.

I myself do not like the concept of small talk, I deem it as a waste, totally uninteresting, Only deserving a unempathetic unappreciating unfeeling OK. Merely to make the other person feel aknowledged.

However I am a bit of a hypocrit when dealing with my younger brother whom I will get into pointless conversations. Quite strange. However.

I am begining to think my way of speaking acts as a filter perhaps to the majority of humans.
If they respect what I have to say, and understand, then I guess I got a empathizing person among the many non.



MadeinHisimage
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25 Jul 2016, 4:14 am

[quote="Cassia"] at my church, after the service, I not infrequently end up talking to a newcomer one of the first weeks that they're around, but subsequently have nothing more than "hi" to say to them. This can be kind of frustrating for me, but in some ways it's probably not that bad of an arrangement for the other person, because the first time they're in a new place is probably when they most need someone to say hi and talk to them, and subsequently even if I don't manage to converse with them, they usually end up getting to know other people.[/quote

Yes, that's really good for the newcomers. I think you need to 'script' some small talk questions you are going to ask people.
At Church, I use things like "How was your week" which can be used once a week. I then try to remember whether they are working or studying or retired and ask them how that is or how their family is, or sometimes just 'How's your life going?' Remember, after they share, you can share the same thing.



C2V
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28 Jul 2016, 7:11 am

I don't believe in the value of small talk either and it disgusts me how many autism programs try to "teach" people to be shallow, disingenuous time wasters. However if you're trying to get to know that person and what life is like for them, then getting past the initial small talk phase could actually help - you know a bit about this person now, you remember what they did for a job or that they were getting into a new hobby or whatever, and you can ask them about this subject, which is of real interest to them and possibly to you. You can expand on what you learned before.
I experienced this recently when I remembered the dude's name, was able to recognise him by his questionable choices in moustache grooming, and recalled that he had been on a meditation close to where some of my relatives live, so I could ask him how that went and what his experiences of the practice were.
My only real question is why the hell would anyone be talking to me and twice?!


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Wewnaw
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01 Aug 2016, 4:21 pm

I have this problem too. I can throw myself into a conversation with someone the first time I meet them, but then the next time I have already asked them about themselves so what do we say next? I went on a uni course recently, it was only one day a week over 5 weeks. On the first day I used up all the conversation I can do, on the second day I couldn't keep a conversation going with anyone I'd already talked to and people had grouped off so no new people to talk to, then the next three days were a social disaster, couldn't wait to get out of there. On the last day people were swapping numbers to keep in touch and I felt s**t that I can't make friends. It sucks. I'd like to say I don't care, I'll just accept myself as I am and not try to live up to these social norms, but everything in life seems to rely on doing these things :?


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