Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Small Talk Is For People Who Don't Know Many Words

How much time do you waste on talking to other people about senseless things? What I mean is how much time do we spend on small talk with others when we really don't even care to be talking to anyone? I like to watch people, not in the binoculars in the tree sort of way, but people and their habits and body language fascinate me. It is amazing how many people obviously do not want to be speaking with another, but stand there, looking anywhere but the persons eyes, saying nothing of any value. "How about that weather, sure is cold." "You catch that inauguration?" Whatever. My wife pointed out this problem in me a couple years ago. She said, "Adam, you don't like people." I realized that the way I had been acting, it would appear that way, but I love people, the problem is laziness. I hate small talk, I have never had a need for it. I would rather introduce myself then talk about how they were rejected as a child or born without parents than to talk about the stupid weather. Because of that I noticed myself, rather Laura noticed that I avoided people altogether. I would see someone I haven't seen in a while at the mall or something and look the other way before they could see me just to avoid the awkwardness. Once pointed out, I realized Jesus wouldn't do that, He didn't avoid anyone, even those that hated Him. So I decided to hound every person I know and to stay away from small talk.
It is amazing what a person will tell you when you reach beyond the surface level. I picked up a person I went to grade school with on the side of the road broken down. He got in the car as I explained I was a Christian and pastor, he decided to tell me about his alcohol addiction. Which I would much rather talk about than his whereabouts for the last 15 years. I think we can get farther with people when we cut the crap and give our time with people in real conversation.

Here is what I propose:
1. Take extra time with people that are serving you at restaurants or oil changes etc. Talk to them, and let them know you care by taking an interest beyond looking through them.
2. Go out of your way to talk to people who are standoffish with you. Don't have a flattering tongue, but be real and genuine with them.
3. If you are hurt by something someone else says about you or to you. Stop and pray for patience, then immediately and calmly go to them and tell them you were hurt. Don't go talk bad about them to others, don't go over their heads to their boss or to the pastor, talk to them. It may be hard, but we are grown ups and should be willing and able to handle our differences. In the end, you will be respected because of it, maybe not liked, but respected.


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  1. WOW! Am I mean or what? First the ear rings then this. Just remember I do not handle the whole honesty thing as well.

    PS... For all you you that said I was acting too old. That wasn't nice ;)

  2. Great post. I missed my opportunity at preschool pick-up today...just didn't feel like chatting.

  3. i have found myself doing the same stuff with people. i've never been a fan of small talk. unless it has to do with sports, but i would rather get down to what a person is really about too.

  4. I get paid to do this with people. It's really been helping my people skills altogether.

    Good advice.

  5. AHH. I have missed your blog so much.

  6. You are a total sociologist and psychologist at heart my friend. I couldn't agree with you more..... I hate small talk, and I live in a world filled with it. There is nothing like sitting and really talking to someone for a few hours...discussing things that matter so much. I wish there was more time for this sort of thing.