I love to talk to people and truly care about what they have to say. I enjoy having deep discussions on various subjects, and I can get quite philosophical at times. However, some people don’t like to get into a heavy conversation about certain things and usually just stick to small talk. They may comment on the weather and ask you things like how you’re doing; where are you from, and do you have any children. Or they may just tell you what they think you need to know about them. Some people also brag and don’t really say anything meaningful, but this is all part of talking to people, so I don’t mind.
I can do the small talk because it can lead to a more meaningful conversation, but if it just continues with more pleasantries the whole thing seems phony to me. Not that people are being phony when they are involved in small talk; it just doesn’t seem real to me. I smile and play along, but what I really want to do is open the person up and hear about what’s going on in their lives. Maybe this is because I have never been good at small talk, and I have always been good at getting people to open up to me; sometimes without really even trying. I’ve had total strangers tell me some very personal things about themselves, and I know I helped them feel more comfortable by opening up about my own life.
Now some people just complain about their lives, and you can tell they’re not willing or ready to change their current circumstances, but there are people who want to talk about their problems in an effort to make a change in their lives. I never give anyone advice, but I do tell them about my personal experiences and why I like helping people. I also get emotional sometimes while doing so, and occasionally this can set some people back a bit, but I never apologize for it. I tell them I’m not ashamed to cry, and I like when I’m able to feel my emotions. I even thank them for bringing this out in me because it helps me to love who I am. This always seems to make the person feel more at ease with me and more comfortable, and they begin to open up even more.
Not everyone has problems in their lives, and not everyone needs to open up to a perfect stranger about things, so in that respect small talk is certainly fine. But there have been times when small talk turned into something more meaningful and much bigger than just pleasantries. The simple “hello how are you,” led to, “not so good today,” and allowed me to reach out to another human being; something that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t ask, and if I didn’t truly care about what they had to say.