Here, we’ll look at whether small talk has a place in meaningful relationships or whether it’s simply a waste of time.
What is Small Talk?
Small talk is defined as an informal conversation without meaning. It is considered polite to make small talk with colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers. The topics covered in small talk are relatively unimportant and don’t necessarily provide any greatly useful information in themselves.
However, while it is based on topics that don’t provide much in the way of value, it can actually be a very important part of bonding.
The Benefits of Small Talk
While deeper connections with people don’t tend to generate much in the way of small talk, that doesn’t mean it isn’t pivotal in everyday life. In fact, small talk can have a number of benefits, including:
- Helps you to build a bond with another person or group
- Acts as a great conversation starter
- Prevents awkward silences
- It can feel good
Most significantly, small talk can help you to build up a bond with the person you’re talking to. While deep and meaningful conversations may be the ultimate goal, you can’t start out talking about overly deep and meaningful topics with strangers. Trust must be developed first. Instead, you need to start off with small talk before you can build up to those deeper conversations.
It can be difficult to strike up a conversation with a stranger. That’s where small talk really comes in useful. It acts as an awesome conversation starter, helping you to potentially build up stronger relationships.
You’ll also be able to use it to fill in any awkward silences. You’re not going to be able to build up a deeper connection with everyone. You will also cross paths with many people that you don’t want to have a profound relationship with. So, for strangers and mere acquaintances, small talk can prove invaluable.
Finally, another benefit is that it can help you to feel good. Deep conversations are awesome, but they can be draining. If you were to solely focus on deep and meaningful conversations, it can start to really take a strain mentally. Small talk is easy, and it takes minimal effort. So, sometimes it can feel good to chat about the trivial things in life.
Top Tips for Making Small Talk
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of small talk, it’s time to look at how to become better at it.
Firstly, start with open-ended questions which require more than a yes or no answer. People generally like to talk about themselves, so asking how they are and what they are up to is a great conversation starter.
You could talk about the event you’re attending together, the weather, your favorite TV shows, and hobbies. Food is another great topic, as are work and sports. It is safest to avoid possibly contentious subjects, as some people can be very dogmatic in their personal beliefs.
As you can see, small talk does have its uses. While it’s not going to leave you feeling deeply fulfilled, it can act as a starting block for developing deeper connections.