Weeding Out Small Talk & Getting to the Good Stuff

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TricksR4Kids
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29 Aug 2020, 1:09 am

When you meet new people, do you have 'go to' strategy for keeping small talk to a minimum and figuring out if the person enjoys discussing deeper things?

If so, what is it?



DeepBlueSouth
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29 Aug 2020, 1:25 am

Depends on a lot of factors for me. Context is a big one. I'm pretty high functioning, so I have learned how to pick up on a lot of social cues from empathetic NT's. Until about ten years ago, it was next to impossible for me to pick up on whether or not someone I was talking to was uncomfortable with it [or me] or not. If they're equally talkative, and seem engaged in the idea of a conversation, there's very little I won't share or talk about. As an American in 2020, I avoid talking about politics with anyone "riding the Trump train", but it's not a non-starter for me, I'll talk to anyone.

I have a TON of very unconventional life experience for someone my age; I've been incarcerated [mostly for a crime I was innocent of and since exonerated from, some short term for cannabis possession and other police-targeting issues which I never even got charged with], I've been homeless, I've been in shelters and committed a few times [twice self-committed, twice released within a few hours]... soooo I have had experience in dealing with all sorts of people in extremely uncomfortable scenarios. I have PTSD now, but a better handle on human psychology than I ever thought possible.

My strategy for communication is pretty Zen, I just go with the flow and play the cards I'm dealt. Sometimes it works out, usually not so much. I am friendly to almost everyone I meet, but I don't really have many close friends at all.


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alex
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29 Aug 2020, 11:36 am

Usually I look for people with common interests and so they're already more likely to want to discuss things in depth


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emotrtkey
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29 Aug 2020, 5:49 pm

TricksR4Kids wrote:
When you meet new people, do you have 'go to' strategy for keeping small talk to a minimum and figuring out if the person enjoys discussing deeper things?

If so, what is it?


Small talk is how you get to know other people. Most people don't want to discuss deeper things with people they don't know very well. Once you get to know them and become friends, they will be more willing to discuss deeper things with you.



TricksR4Kids
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31 Aug 2020, 4:57 pm

@deepbluesouth I like your zen approach and that is a good reminder to take cues from one's conversational partner. I am sorry for the traumatic circumstances you have faced. It's true such things do teach us a lot.

@alex May I ask how you go about looking for people with common interests?

@emotrtkey While I deeply value people who can get to the meat of things quickly, you are totally right that most people need small talk to initially bridge the gap and so it can have value.



DeepBlueSouth
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31 Aug 2020, 5:23 pm

TricksR4Kids wrote:
@deepbluesouth I like your zen approach and that is a good reminder to take cues from one's conversational partner. I am sorry for the traumatic circumstances you have faced. It's true such things do teach us a lot.


No worries, they made me the man I am today. As our [ahem] illustrious president said, "It is what it is." Welcome, and I hope you enjoy these forums as much as I've been!

Quote:
@alex May I ask how you go about looking for people with common interests?


Good question, that's always been the real issue for me too.... Not many people are equally fascinated by railroad history, weather, geology, animated comedies, civil engineering, classic jazz, and gardening [but I am]. It's true what people say, there is nobody else exactly like you out there!

Quote:
@emotrtkey While I deeply value people who can get to the meat of things quickly, you are totally right that most people need small talk to initially bridge the gap and so it can have value.


I was blessed with a decent sense of humor and a great memory for jokes and funny ways to begin conversations with people. The importance of first impressions cannot be overemphasized [especially with NT's in my experience]. Being fascinated by the weather, it's a pretty universal starting point to talk to someone in a public setting. There's always something to talk about with regard to the local weather in a given area. Here in the states, sports are also a great way to help chew the fat with folks we might not have a lot in common with.

@TricksR4Kids: Great username!!


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TricksR4Kids
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01 Sep 2020, 7:07 pm

That is a wonderful perspective @deepbluesouth, all the more so because it is true.

Yes, it's good to keep in mind how each of us brings a unique makeup to the table. Some of the interests I presently have, I only developed an interest in once I saw how friends of mine found such delight in them. By classic jazz are you talking Miles Davis, Coltrane...era?

It is as easy to get a Canadian to talk about the weather as it is a physicist to ruminate on time. Sports works here too. My personal strategy to glide through small talk is to begin asking the person questions about themselves and try to observe how comfortable they are answering. Similar to you, I've had traumatic circumstances make me very alert to how people feel so I'm able to do this relatively easily.

A close friend of mine who also is not NT doesn't find this strategy works for them, so I was curious what others felt was effective.



DeepBlueSouth
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01 Sep 2020, 8:58 pm

TricksR4Kids wrote:
That is a wonderful perspective @deepbluesouth, all the more so because it is true.

Yes, it's good to keep in mind how each of us brings a unique makeup to the table. Some of the interests I presently have, I only developed an interest in once I saw how friends of mine found such delight in them. By classic jazz are you talking Miles Davis, Coltrane...era?


Don't forget Charles Mingus, Kid Ory, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Pete Fountain, Bessie Smith, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald [no relation; that I know of], the Marsalis Family.... :-D :heart:

Quote:
It is as easy to get a Canadian to talk about the weather as it is a physicist to ruminate on time. Sports works here too. My personal strategy to glide through small talk is to begin asking the person questions about themselves and try to observe how comfortable they are answering. Similar to you, I've had traumatic circumstances make me very alert to how people feel so I'm able to do this relatively easily.


A good trait to have, I've had a conservative whom I know down here respond to "Hot enough for ya...?" with a diatribe about how climate change was a myth. Apparently they'd lost a Facebook argument earlier that day.... You never know when you'll need to switch gears.


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Jakki
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01 Sep 2020, 9:09 pm

“Small talk “ albeit not always comfortable to engage in or possibly even a absurd distraction to the point you wish to present . Is in NT linguistics the social lubricant that might Just carry the conversation forward .


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DeepBlueSouth
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01 Sep 2020, 10:07 pm

Jakki wrote:
“Small talk “ albeit not always comfortable to engage in or possibly even a absurd distraction to the point you wish to present . Is in NT linguistics the social lubricant that might Just carry the conversation forward .


Very eloquent, and perfectly stated. Literally could not have said it better myself! :-)


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