In the fall of 2001, I was sitting on a bench at the train station, waiting for my train to arrive, late in the night. I didn’t know it but back then I was on the verge of learning about my logical small talk style.
Then someone sat down right next to me on the bench. As a freshman at a university where 95% of the students were male, I got interested in whether destiny had thrown me a gift. I took a swift peek on the side and then smiled in satisfaction.
It was a girl
And not only a girl, but a gorgeous girl.
I didn’t have a plan on what next… or what first, for that matter. However, I hoped that soon an opportunity to get in contact with her would present itself.
And then the opportunity came along.
“Excuse me, do you have a lighter?” She asked.
I turned to her. “I don’t smoke, but I have a chocolate bar. Would you like to have some?”
She looked at me stunned for a moment. Then smiled and nodded.
So we shared my chocolate bar and started to talk.
The conversation went so fine, that finally, she gave me her number.
Things were going well… or were they?
A few days later, we went on a date. On that date, we had an amazing time – from her perspective.
From my perspective? We had an exhaustive, stressful time. We neither went for hiking nor did any exhaustive activity. We only walked and talked for hours, but still, I got exhausted by the end.
Don’t get me wrong, she was witty, beautiful and easy-going.
So, why was that I felt so exhausted? I was not sure.
But then, on one of our later dates, I confessed to her that it was tiresome for me to spend time with her.
Luckily she didn’t take it personally. Since she was this deep thinking, analytical person, with her help, we started to unravel what was going on.
The burden of entertainment
It turned out that I was in constant strive for pleasing her. I had this constant urge wanting to remain a good company. And for this cause I was ready to sacrifice my own joy.
So every time we started to talk, my mind instantly went to logical conversation mode: I raced to find ways to keep up the conversation. While she was talking, I kept seeking for the next adequate logical question. Every time there was nothing to talk about, I felt responsible to come up with new ideas to ask about her. Just to avoid that awkward silence.
I spent far more time and energy on thinking about what to have as the next step instead of concentrating on actually finding out whether she was right for me. What were her interests, what were her needs and did those needs actually meet with my needs?
My time spending with her was all about how to make logical small talk. But whenever you try to have a conversation with someone based on logic instead of emotions, you struggle. Logical thinking consumes way more energy from you than going with your guts.
So when you stand there talking to someone logically, instead of just enjoying the conversation, it makes it a constant work.
It’s not worth it in the long run
Let me ask you something: What if that other person likes that first conversation? What if they want to spend more time with you?
What if it’s a business client that likes you based on your initial logical small talk? Then asks you to join them on a trip with your family? You go with them, maintaining logical conversations. Instead of just enjoying the trip with them and your family, you have to keep being in a constant alert mode to keep up with asking adequate questions based on their former answers.
Whenever your phone rings and you see their name on the screen, your stomach cramps. You have to put on the smile and switch to logical conversation mode, to make sure you satisfy them. It is the fast lane to your death bed.
There is another way
What if I told you, you can have engaging conversations that you like?
In order to achieve that, besides of focusing on the other person, you have to focus on your needs as well.
The next time, you talk to a stranger, instead of constantly trying to find ways to keep that conversation going, try to direct your focus inside of you. While they are talking, spend your time thinking, on what you like about that person on the other side. Do they have some special abilities? Do they like the same sport, or books as you? Do they have an interesting story? Do you have any common interests?
Yes, it means that you might have some silence between two questions. But what if you didn’t consider that silence awkward at all? What if it was an actual necessity to a full-hearted conversation?
Small talk is the first step to a real connection
People think that small talk is only a superficial conversation. However, in real life, small talk is a way to go beyond the surface. It is the tool through which you may find a deeper connection with the other person.
Maybe one day you will find yourself in a conversation where you just feel okay. Where you can smile, enjoy and don’t feel any pressure of socializing at all. That is a small talk I admire. That is a small talk I want to show you.
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