Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small (pseudo)talk

I am becoming a very non-social person. It’s not the same thing as anti-social, in where I avoid all social interactions, but where I hesitantly meet new people and socialize with those I don’t know too well. It has always been hard for me to talk to other people. I normally comment on something obvious and make a big show if it, so I can get a reaction and then maybe have something to talk about from there. I rarely have normal conversations, because I really don’t know what to say. It’s kind of sad.

Recently I’ve felt very non-social as I’ve had to hang out with people I’ve known for a few years now, but just never quite got to know (some of whom I’ve never actually talked too). It’s really weird and slightly painful for me to be sitting there, in silence, trying to think of something to say to someone that I’ve “known” for a while, and that we have a lot in common (on the surface as well as under it, down there somewhere, I‘m sure…). And after about 10 seconds or so of awkward, I have nothing to say to you, silence, all chance of a conversation have been pulverized and incinerated in my over-packed mind that can’t force myself to speak. I feel like a failure.

On the upside, they in turn, never say anything to me, and possibly have a similar self-torturing experience. I blame it on myself, but really, it’s their fault too.

I’ve become worse and worse at small talk, to the point of where now I can’t even bring myself to point out something obvious for the sake of keeping myself from sounding lame. But isn’t silence even lamer? I’m not sure. I guess I’ve never fully learned how to start getting to know someone when it isn’t obvious what to talk about.

Even if I haven’t semi-avoided you for years, it’s hard for me to keep up a conversation past the “How are you” and “What classes are you taking?” I run out of things to say or ask and then I feel trapped which only makes me want to literally run away. I know this sounds pathetic and probably troubling, but I really don’t like small talk. Small talk hardly helps you get to know someone anyway. Idle time around people drives me crazy.


  1. Sometimes when conversation is awkward and bad, it may not be your fault. It could be that the other person isn't participating either. Recently I was in the car with a student and we were talking to each other very little. I was stressed out because I thought I wasn't doing something right. I kept asking him questions, and he'd give me short answers and then we'd stop talking again. After doing this for a while, I said, "I'm getting tired of the radio, can I turn it off?"

    He said yes, and then we sat in complete and utter silence for several minutes. I refused to say anything with him first. I was going to make him start the conversation. After a few minutes he finally asked me a question to start the conversation. From then on out we had good conversations!

  2. wow, i'm glad that turned out so well! i guess me wanting so much out of every situation makes things worse. this weekend i'll put your strategy into action!