At a social gathering, I'd always rather just have a long conversation in the corner with a good friend than meet someone new (or someone I don't know well at all) and have to go through all the awkward motions. Let's face it: it's hard to be friendly at sociable at a party with people you don't really know. But on the other hand, if it works, it's so fun to make a few friend and feel like you've connected with somebody.
It's important to get comfortable with small talk for 3 reasons:
1. It's polite and nice.
2. You can't make new friends without putting yourself out there through conversation, and it usually needs to start small.
3. We're adults and need to figure this out. Seriously, guys.
:: January Jones being charming at a party, via pinterest ::
I've made an effort to try to improve at the art of small talk over the last year, and I'd like to share some tips with you:
1. Find a small talk role model
Who in your life always seems to handle social situations with warmth and grace and seems friendly and easy to talk to? Stalk that person! Or at least observe him/her when you're in a social situation together. What does he/she do? Body language? Tone? Conversation starters?
My personal role model always seems genuinely to happy to see people... and who can resist when someone is delighted that you're there? It automatically fosters a sense of warmth and familiarity, even if the basis isn't there. Starting with friendliness is a small talk lubricant.
2. Change your mind-set.
It's not awkward to make small talk, it's a universal kindness. (Remember, the person you hardly know in this conversation probably isn't super-excited to figure out how to talk to you, either.) You are doing a huge social favor by putting yourself out there and helping to move the conversation along.
3. Come prepared.
It sounds calculated, but come ready with some easy questions you ask. I'll give you a really easy one for this weekend:
What are you doing for the holidays?
Boom. It's so easy. Yes, it's obvious, but it opens things up really easily! You'll find out where people are from, what their families are like, what their holiday traditions are, etc.
I like to avoid asking any question I wouldn't enjoy answering. Those include "So, what have you been up to lately?" and "What do you do for a living?"
So there: you have all my wisdom. How do you handle weird small talk? What are your tips?