Talk to me small

By Isabella Wight, April 26, 2020

Read time: 2 Mins

Talk to me small Image

I once went out with a guy whose Tinder bio stated that he hated small talk but loved music and his dog, among other forgettable generic things. My pre-date hours were spent stressing about whether my conversation was going to be big enough. What differentiated small talk from large? Would two medium-weight conversation topics constitute one bigger one? Does this mean I have to talk about politics? Have I really ever known anything about politics at all? Or do I just nod and say “the government is whack” whenever the topic is brought up?

At least I knew that last one was true.

As far as I’m concerned, meeting new people inevitably involves the eye-roll inducing semantics of small talk. Like the Tinder boy, I used to say that I hated it because it seemed like the right and cool thing to do. I thought alluded to me being very deep and possibly brooding and mysterious, at a stretch. Unfortunately, I discovered that purposefully avoiding the necessary work, study and sibling-related icebreaker questions makes you sound like you’re trying to both ask and answer an obscure riddle to which even you don’t know the answer.  This gets even worse when you’re trying to hammer cheap red wine to stop your palms sweating.

From this, I learnt that surface-level, get-to-know-you conversation is one of our social necessities, the segue that leads the awkward beginnings of relationships to the meaningful moments. Asking about pivotal moments of grief, the ageing population boom or daddy issues in the first three minutes of meeting someone is not as sexy or alluring as I initially thought, regardless of how many hand-rolled cigarettes you smoke or how obscure your haircut is.

What did we talk about before there was a global pandemic? I can’t particularly remember. I forget what it’s like to go to work, I’m really bad at cooking and all of my days have started to run together, shrouded by an all-too-real ominous cloud. We’ve never made so much big conversation in our sheltered lives. Social niceties have dissipated, and conversations now revolve around your personal finances, job status and whether or not you’re paying rent. It’s unconfirmed but I think I might be developing a twitch in my eye.

Unlike the generic Tinder boy, I love small talk. I also love cowboy boots, sunshine and SSRIs. Let’s keep our talk medium-weight before we all start twitching.

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