What Do You Do When You Hate Small Talk?
Do you hate small talk but don’t know what to do about it? What if there was a way to have a real conversation that also leaves room for quiet moments of peace and reflection? There is. It’s called the “real convo” – it’s where small talk and deep thought converge. The real convo is simply conversations that are rich in meaning.
If you hate small talk, the secret to a real conversation is getting people to share information about themselves. One way you can encourage others to speak more freely is by asking open-ended questions instead of closed ones: questions that require a longer response rather than one or two words.
The other key is to avoid the “interview mindset,” where you ask a bunch of questions and listen only enough to note their responses before rushing on to your next question. Instead, the real convo is more like a dialogue between two people who are curious about each other. It’s conversational give-and-take where both parties get to listen and learn new things about their friends, family, coworkers... and themselves.
I Hate Small Talk (What to Do)
Imagine… you’re at a party, and there is small talk surrounding you everywhere. People are talking about the weather, or what they had for lunch, and it makes your skin crawl.
A) Make up an excuse to leave as quickly as possible?
B) Settle in and try to find something about the conversation to enjoy?
C) Fake a stomach ache and sit in the bathroom so you don’t have to talk to anyone?
D) Try your best just to avoid people and hide out for as long as possible?
E) Forget about the small talk and try engaging with people on a deeper level?
If you answered ‘E’ then good for you. You’re a person who knows what you want and isn’t afraid to go after it. The sad fact is that most people do one of the first four things because talking about boring stuff with strangers isn’t very fun. We don’t like small talk, but the good news is that there are ways to avoid it.
Who knows why we do it? Perhaps it’s because we think the surface topic is a way to get to know each other before delving deeper, or maybe we hope that talking about inconsequential topics first, will make it easier to talk about deeper things later. This isn’t always the case, but maybe there is a way to make small talk work for you.
Why Is Small Talk So Painful?
First of all, let’s make sure you actually hate it. Here are some telltale signs that you really do:
- You only feel comfortable talking about deep subjects with people who know and love you.
- You can’t wait to get out of situations where there is a lot of small talk going on.
- Small talk makes you feel really anxious; you feel the urge to escape from the conversation.
- You feel like a phony pretending to enjoy small talk when in your head you are thinking about how much you would rather be doing anything else.
The good news is that we all get this way sometimes. Even people who love small talk dread situations where they are forced to partake in it for an extended period of time. There is nothing wrong with you. Rather, maybe there is something wrong with what we are taught about small talk.
Why Does Small Talk Make Me Cringe?
There is a fear that if we don’t start out with small talk, we will come across as rude and people won’t want to speak with us. Or, maybe we are afraid that the other person will judge us for not being socially acceptable.
Free Training: "Conversation Advice for Overthinkers"
Check out this free training offered by the experts at Social Pro Now!
- How to use "Conversational Threading" to avoid awkward silence
- The proven way to get past boring small talk
- Instantly beat self-consciousness with the "OFC-method"
- Busting the myth that you have to get a "more interesting life" to be more interesting"
The truth is that most people are too preoccupied worrying about themselves to notice if someone else isn’t “playing the game.” If you find yourself in a situation where there is a lot of small talk going on, try to assume that those around you are as uncomfortable as you are. Most people dread small talk as much as you do, they just don’t know how to avoid it.
So, it’s completely normal if small talk makes you cringe. What you need to do is learn how to navigate through the small talk and break free without anybody noticing.
Why Is Small Talk so Pointless?
If you think about it, small talk really doesn’t have a point. We ask someone what they do for a living and then we pretend that we care enough to ask follow-up questions, but in reality we just want them to stop talking so we can turn our attention elsewhere.
The best way to avoid feeling like this is by getting to know people in a deeper sense. Ask them how they got into their line of work, or ask them what their favorite part of the job is. Go beyond the surface and you will find there are things about someone that make them fascinating and interesting.
Small talk only exists when we assume that everyone around us is interested in the same things we are when in reality, most people aren’t. The worst part about small talk is that it makes you feel like you’re faking it.
If you suddenly decide to switch gears and ask someone how they got into their line of work, then they will know that you weren’t just pretending to care. By asking deep questions, even if it comes across as a bit forward, you will find yourself making friends much quicker than going by normal social cues.
How to Deal With Hating Small Talk
Now that you know you hate small talk, and why it makes you feel bad, how can you deal with this problem? First of all, try not to judge yourself if you find yourself dreading small talk. There is a lot of confusion and conflicting information out there about polite conversation, and we are taught the wrong things from a young age.
You might be thinking things like:
“I’m not fun.”
“I don’t know how to talk with people.”
“Everyone else loves talking about the weather, why don’t I?”
If you are thinking these things then you need to stop. It has nothing to do with how “fun” you are, or what you know about people, or even whether or not other people like talking about the weather.
The problem here is that small talk isn’t actually an effective way of connecting with people, at least not in the way that we think it is. The best thing you can do to avoid small talk is to do what other people are reluctant to do:
Step 1 – Learn How to Engage People on a Deeper Level
If you want to stop having to make small talk, then you need to learn how to engage people on a deeper level. This doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone your life history the first time you meet them, but it does mean that you need to pay attention to what other people are saying and ask authentic questions that show you are interested in their answers.
If all you do is talk about surface-level topics then other people won’t be as likely to want to share deeper stuff with you. Yes, it can feel risky at first, but this doesn’t have to take a long time. You don’t have to find out everything there is to know about a person before having a deep conversation.
If you’re not sure what types of things people talk about to escape small talk, one research study examined just that and found the following five areas came up the most:
- Likes and dislikes
- Life experiences
- Personal philosophies
So, if you find yourself trapped in small talk, find ways to steer the conversation toward those “bigger talk” topics.
Step 2 – Plan Ahead
Once you learn to engage people on a deeper level, the next step is to plan ahead. This means scheduling times when you can focus your energy on being with other people. Small talk often happens because there isn’t enough time for anything else, but if you spend quality time with someone then you are more likely to want to talk about deeper things. The more time you spend with someone the closer you feel, and this makes it easier to engage on a deeper level.
How To Make Small Talk More Enjoyable
If you want to stop dreading small talk then you need to learn how to do it more enjoyably. This doesn’t mean that you have to become an expert in social conversation, but it does mean avoiding these common mistakes.
Step 1 – Don’t Over-Evaluate
Everyone is scared of being judged, and if you’re asking someone a question then they are going to think that you want them to give you the “right” answer. While this makes sense from a logical perspective, when was the last time that anyone said something that you thought was “wrong?”
When people reply to your questions you shouldn’t be thinking about how it reflects on you, or whether or not they said the right thing. You should just be listening and having a conversation.
Step 2 – Relax and Enjoy Yourself
When we feel stressed out we tend to engage in behaviors that aren’t helpful. For instance, if you are dreading a conversation then you might try to find ways to “fit in” and speak like everyone else.
The problem is that these attempts usually backfire, and this makes it even less likely that you will enjoy small talk. Instead of trying to fit in with the crowd, think about what you would want to say if no one else was listening.
Trust your instincts, and say what comes naturally to you. This will make it easier for other people to engage with you because they won’t be confused by the way that you act. Just relax and enjoy yourself, and let go of trying to “fit in.”
Step 3 – Monitor Your Boredom
Everyone gets bored, and that’s okay! It doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong.
What we need to do is monitor our boredom. If you feel yourself getting more and more disengaged with a conversation then you should take some time to think about why this is happening. Do the people around you seem interested in what you are saying? Is everyone else doing the same thing that you are doing, or is there something unique about your interactions?
You can also try to imagine why someone might be interested in what you have to say. If you aren’t interested in your own conversation, then maybe it’s time for you to turn things around!
How to Escape Small Talk
If you feel like you are getting trapped in a cycle of small talk then the best thing that you can do is to escape. This doesn’t mean that you have to run away from people or be rude, but it does mean that you need to shift your interactions with them.
The best way to escape small talk is to initiate a different type of conversation. This means taking control and doing what we previously talked about: plan ahead and schedule quality time with people in your life.
Schedule conversations that you can look forward to, and then when it’s finally time for these chats you’ll have something more interesting to talk about than the weather!
Why Introverts Hate Small Talk
If you frequently find yourself dreading small talk then it’s probably because you’re an introvert. This is a perfectly fine personality trait, and all that this means is that you like to spend time alone or in deep conversations.
Introverts don’t hate small talk for any negative reasons, they simply try to avoid it because they feel that it’s a waste of their time. If you’re an introvert, then your best bet is to find people who have similar interests and try to talk to them about them.
Why Do INFJs Hate Small Talk?
INFJ stands for introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. This is a great combination of traits for someone who wants to make other people happy or do good in the world.
However, INFJs are very complicated people. They can be capable of things that no one else would think possible—which makes them amazing—but they also have their own unique dreams and struggles.
INFJs are known to hate small talk because they think that it’s a ridiculous way to spend the limited time that we have. Since their intuition is so well developed, they can often tell if someone wants to talk about something deeper, and they enjoy helping people make connections.
Small talk is fine. It has its place in social situations, but it’s nowhere near as important as people think it is.
If you want to stop dreading small talk then the best thing that you can do is understand what other people are thinking and feeling. This will enable you to connect with them on a deeper level, and this will make it easier to avoid the stress of small talk.
When you stop worrying about what other people think and just follow your instincts, you’ll find that interacting with people is fun, and not an ordeal.
Related Posts About Small Talk
- 69 Easy Things to Talk About During Small Talk
- How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward
- Questions to Break the Ice
WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? SAVE I HATE SMALL TALK (WHAT TO DO) TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
I Hate Small Talk (What to Do)
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
Online Therapy: For online therapy, I have personally used and like the service offered by Betterhelp. It's easy to get started from the comfort of your home. You'll even get a discount on your first month of therapy when you use my link.
Doctor Visits: For doctor visits, Web Doctors offers convenient online appointments.
Audible Subscription: I recommend a lot of self-help books on this site, but I actually prefer an audiobook subscription over print books! My favorite subscription service is Audible because it has all the best-sellers and they stay in your digital library forever (even if you end your subscription). You can sign up for a free trial and listen to your first two books for free.
Social Anxiety Masterclass: The Social Anxiety Masterclass is my signature course where I walk you through everything I know about how to manage social anxiety. If you're not ready to enroll in the course, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter to hear about special deals!