Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Fine Art of Talking About Nothing

I’ve been thinking this week about small talk, and how many of us spend so much time trying to make it. And I’ve realized something. It’s hard. Trying to have a conversation with someone you don’t know, or who you only know a little, or with whom you have little or nothing in common can be stressful for the most talkative of people.

Most of us kind of suck at it. (I’m one of those people.) In fact, I dare say some of us struggle to converse with people we see every day, or whom we’ve known our whole lives. Sad reality.

But every so often, I come across someone who has perfected the art of talking about nothing. And by nothing, I also mean everything. These are the people who you’ve never met before, or who are maybe only acquaintances or whatever, but no matter when you see them, they always have something to say and—miracle of miracles—what they’re saying is not only interesting, but inspires an intelligent/witty/smart-aleck response from you.

These are the people who seem to be friends with everyone because EVERYONE has had a conversation with them. And not just a conversation, a satisfying conversation, wherein both parties were present and both spoke and responded.

Everyone needs people in our lives to whom we can talk about nothing in particular and know that we are heard. To have those people actually respond and reply and give input. I have a few of these friends, and I treasure them daily for the very vitality and brightness they bring to me. I'm recognizing more and more how very important these seemingly meaningless conversations can be, because nothing is meaningless when it makes someone feel valued.

It’s an art form, really. And one I think I need to study. What kinds of qualities should a talented talk-artist have? (Seriously, I’d like answers to this if you have some!)


L.T. Elliot said...

This is something I have very little skill with. Awkward conversations? I'm a master!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I love to talk, but if I feel like the other person doesn't care, I can't really say much about anything. I feel like it's a two-way street, so I don't think I'm one of those people you speak of. I wish!