Social situations can often be incredibly awkward – especially for those of us who are shy and introverted. I mean, what if they judge us? What if they reject us? What if they hate our choice of conversation and think we’re incredibly boring? Well, most of the time this isn’t the case, and it’s just our minds going into overdrive. As long as you know how to make epic small talk, you can worm your way out of any awkward situation in no time. We promise.
There’s nothing worse than getting to a party and your friend ditching you. Especially when you then have to make small talk with the person next to you, your mind goes completely blank, and you can’t think of a darned thing to talk about (yep, we’ve all been there). The best way to combat this is to always go prepared. As you drive or walk to the party or social event, try and think of two or three topics to talk about. This could be about a book you have just read, a TV program you just watched, or a passion that you have. This should serve as a conversation starter and give the other person room to add in their own views and opinions on the matter.
Take a risk
Small talk is all about overcoming your fear or rejection and just going for it. In the words of a well-known brand (ahem, you probably know who we mean) you have to just do it. When engaging in small talk, it’s important that you always take the lead – because if you’re not willing to make the first move, and neither is the other, it makes the awkward small talk even more awkward. And nobody wants that. You need to take the risk, approach others and work on your initiative.
Ask open-ended questions
Receiving a one-worded answer to a question you spent minutes thinking (and overthinking) about is one of the most infuriating aspects of small talk. What do you do now? However, it was likely because of your question that you got that one-worded answer. The aim of small talk is to ask open-ended questions – one where the person can answer in a bit more detail; usually starting with a how, what or why. A few examples of this would be, ‘so why did you move to Los Angeles?’ ‘Why did you decide to become a writer?’ and ‘What did you get up to last weekend?’
Make sure you bring along your shovel
Yep, because you’re gonna have to dig. We bet you’re thinking, what the heck are you talking about? Well, it makes sense. When making small talk, there’s always going to be something that the person is passionate about. Whether it’s their interest in volunteering, a specific book or a style of music, if you see the person waving their hands about or becoming more expressive – use it to your advantage! Ask them more questions about the topic, and they’re probably keep talking for another 30 minutes (which means you can just stand there quietly for another 30 minutes. Win-win).
Check them out
Okay, so that sounds kinda creepy. But it makes sense. When you engage in conversation with a person, check out what they’re wearing, and three things you are interested in or like about that person. So if you like their jacket, say ‘hey, I love that jacket. Where did you get that from?’ and you’ve already struck a bond with them AND have three things to talk about already. Boom.
We all know small talk can be a drag – but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, you may still be uncomfortable on the inside, but on the outside, you’ll be as cool as a cucumber.