Commode To Joy

finding happy in the crappy

You Really Aren’t Lame

It’s the weekend, which means you’re somewhere between couch time (shout out to solitude) and some sort of evening engagement (that may or may not include the resurrection of Cha Cha Slide).

please note my hands are in “snap” position, cause I am wicked cool

I’ve been experiencing the gift of small talk lately, something that seems to get a bad rap. Sure, it’s a must-do at work-related functions and can be forced at cocktail parties. That’s the side of the coin that folks tend to focus on; but small talk doesn’t have to stop there. When used thoughtfully, small talk can be a useful antidote to stress.

I’m breaking stress into two categories: First, is when you’re over stimulated, over exposed to people, and need a flippin break from humanity (locks front door, closes blinds, turns phone on silent).

The above type of stress rarely happens for me because I’m a stay at home mom, it’s summer break, and I work from home. That means I spend loooooads of time with my 5 y.o. It can get awfully quiet around here, even with said 5 y.o. ramping cars off of every surface in the house. That’s the second type of stress: Feeling isolated.

Stops along this lonely rabbit hole: Isolation —> Purposelessness —> Loser. Side doors include insecurity, doldrums, and feeling less-than.

What a fun place!

“Quietness” suddenly expands…and it’s not solitude. It sucks. The mind says to withdraw, cause who the eff wants to be around you?

In reality, the exact opposite reaction is what helps me out: being around others. It doesn’t matter if it’s small talk central or connecting with a friend: Socialization is key.

But Jamie, small talk can be so superficial.

Nah, not if you engage with others — you know, eye contact AND brain contact.

Here’s the big benefit to engaged small talk: It makes you think about the other person instead of yourself. You can’t be in the mires of mental misery if you’re asking another person about them and actually listening to the answer in order to follow up with another question.

You know what I’ve generally found to be true? People like talking about themselves. Go Barbara Walters at your next social gathering — start asking questions. It’s way easier than standing there alternating awkwardly between stirring your drink and sipping.

Not sure where they grew up? Ask.

Then follow up with another question.

Know something about their parents? Ask about them.

Then follow up with another question.

Not sure of what they do? Ask.

Then follow up with another question.

Are you catching on here? Engage, ask, follow-up. It’s conversation 101 that was skipped over in my formative years.

Legit, in the 7th grade we were taught that small talk = weather. That’s helpful when you’re in passing at the grocery store, but the second your feet stop to converse? For the love of all things holy, blow over weather whinges or small talk is gonna have you running for the hills faster than a flood warning.

No more words on the weather (unless you’re a meteorologist, I suppose).

No more stir and sip. How much longer before I can walk away and not look rude?

No more mental misery. I’m so laaaame.

Get up and socialize. Don’t think of it as small talk; it’s an opportunity for conversation. Conversation leads to connection. And when you experience connection?

You really aren’t lame after all…even if you still jump up for the Cha Cha Slide. 😉

Categories: Encouragement, Odes To Joy

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