Monday, June 11, 2012

Small Talk/Chit-Chat

Are you comfortable with the small talk/chit chat thing that goes on at a party, conference, doctor's office waiting room?  Oh, I forgot another place - the airplane?
Most of the time I'm fine with it because I'm talking about myself . . . and I'm very comfy doing that. hehe
I spend a fair amount of time in waiting rooms for my freelance work, though, and for some reason I'd rather not engage in coversation there so I bring my Nook.  A book/Nook/Kindle can be your new BFF in those situations.
It never occurred to me that some people hate the getting to know you atmosphere at a party, for example.
My best friend, Sue, had one child and she is mentally impaired.  This is a small town and everyone knew it so being somewhere filled with people that Sue knew wasn't an issue.  Meeting someone new was.
The opening of any conversation always leads to the "family" questions:  do you have children?  how old are they? blah, blah, blah.  Sue could never decide if she should cut them off at the pass, dodge what was coming or get it over with right away.
I have another friend who has survived the death of two of her children.  The deaths happened ten years apart; both sudden, accidental deaths.  So she's faced with answering the "family" questions with . . . what?  Does she say she used to have X number but now have X number?  If she doesn't mention the two that have died, it hurts her heart.  She also worries about making the other person in the conversation uncomfortable.
I had no idea.  I can't imagine the frustration and discomfort my friends have had to go through.
I'm going to end this blog entry with a funny story, though.  At my friend, Tom Richmond's, expense. hehe
Tom and Joy live out in the country in a magical spot - on a pond in the Hopkins area.  Tom has a bit of an issue with the whole Hopkins thing and apparently the "pond" thing too because I heard him answer the "where do you live" question at a party one time with, "we live on a lake in Hamilton.  Unfortunately for him, I was close by.  I could not let it go, of course.
How do you feel about the social dance one has to perform with people you don't know?


  1. Being a shorter person than most, I really hate standing around at a party trying to make myself heard in a group of people multiple inches taller. I feel like I need to pull on their sleeves to get them to look down! This is particularly hard when I don't know them. If I know them, I just kick an ankle or two and that easily causes the attention to shift downward. Of course, then they may be saying things I don't really want to hear.....

  2. I remember Marilyn Wilcox Orr talking about trying to get parents to take her seriously as a teacher because she was "height challenged."

  3. I can relate to your friend Sue and the questions about family. After many years I am still at a loss on how best to answer the question of how many kids do you have. I recently was asked and said I have two boys. It is still bothering me that I didn't include my daughter, who passed away. But like your friend I didn't want to make the person uncomfortable. Usually their next question is how old are they or where do they live, so just saying a number isn't usually the end of the conversation.