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Why surface-level chats are necessary

and why you have to be good at them

By Noah DouglasPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Why surface-level chats are necessary
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Are you like me and you prefer deep talks?

Just going straight to the point and getting to the good stuff?

Well, that's not easy for everyone.

You sometimes find that these sort of people need to do some kind of service level chit chat beforehand to get comfortable with you.

But surely a riveting conversation will appeal to anyone?

Not necessarily as they won't trust you.

Small Talk essentially is the bridge between you again to the deep stuff.

You can be the most intellectual deep talking person in the entire world. But if you don't have empathy, you're never going to be able to converse with others, get ideas from others or even get to divulge deep topics with others.

So, what do you do? You practice. Practice, practice, practice.

In reality, this is quite easy to do but it may not be fun. You can be simply going to a social gathering and pushing yourself to talk more.

You see some lads you've not seen before talking about the game, you join in. Going to church you listen to the inevitable chatting about people's work weeks or even talk more to your colleagues, however annoying they are.

You realise more and more it is somewhat of an art form.

I am increasingly pushing myself to try this even when I don't necessarily even like the person that I'm talking to.

Things I've found helpful are just to be socially clued in with a few things. Big political stories, sports events, music, tv shows. These all are very easy surface-level items you can basically bring into any social circle.

Alternatively to be smiley and nod, laugh, and listen when everyone else is making people think they are being listened to.

And guess what?

You will be liked more as you are enduring something for someone elses' benefit.

But you don't want to be a pushover, only indulging in conversation the other person wants to talk about.

Here is where small talk can again actually be quite useful.

It can be an anchor for you to develop your further conversations.

Take for example, you have an initial conversation with someone.

In that small talk, you're talking about somebody's week.

You're talking about what they got up to and find out they are into reading. This is then a jump-pad moment for you to start a deeper conversation about what their passions are within reading, culture, and lots of other interesting topics.

The biggest learning lesson I have found in being good in conversation making is to keep asking questions specifically tailored to the person in front of you and the information you have available.

Additionally, you can then also initiate separate conversations. Because another thing that I often find with small talk it's most commonplace within bigger social gatherings and more group settings.

Being able to use more talk within those, but then be able to decipher and work out when and how to separate yourself from the situations.

So, like I said, with the anchor point, you can listen to areas of interest you have and capitalise on it.

So for the reading example why don't you then invite someone to a bookshop and then have a chat there- this is a much more appropriate setting.

Externally the setting is a better catalyst for deeper topics, and you're going to find it much easier that way compared to a bustling group dynamic.

I think we tend to blame ourselves for not having good conversations or events not working out the way we planned.

Certain external contexts are only going to be conducive to one sort of thing. So when you're in a bar, and it's very loud music, yeah, you are barely going to have any time to the with other people, and if so it's not going to be some existential origin in the universe stuff- although I have done it before but it wasn't very fun.

Moving forward I'm working on being more grateful for these converations and how I can utilise these situations to be better at my communication skills. Taking learnings from there I will then be able to do so much better in getting people into a context by which I thrive in- the deep stuff.

So yeah, I've definitely changed my perception of how I view small talks.

I will always be preferring the deeper chalks, but I recognise the validity within surface level stuff.

I encourage you to do the same.


About the Creator

Noah Douglas

Perpetually curious.

Journeyman of faith†

Runner, writer, marketer.

Some of my other work ↓

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