A little witty banter


Small talk is an art form.  It is the informal banter that covers no functional topics of conversation yet seems to fill the void of silence. People generally find dead air uncomfortable and prolonged periods of silence can be unbearable.  Regardless of whether or not we know the person, something compels us to bring up some inane conversation and we generally state some very obvious rhetoric to pass the time.

Small talk is a social skill that some have honed over the years and others struggle with it on a daily basis.  Perfect strangers may feel comfortable enough to talk about things on a more personal level but the bulk of small talk is made up of conversations about things as uninteresting as the weather.  Who knew we all had such an obsession with meteorology?

Depending on where you are when engaging in small talk you can certainly make it more interesting than the state of the atmospheric pressure and relative humidity.  It doesn’t have to become completely personal but you can lift the mood of someone’s day by having an intriguing conversation about something they weren’t planning to discuss with a stranger.

Make the first move and initiate some witty and enlightening repartee that will leave both of you in higher spirits.  Compliments are always welcome and interjecting some kind words into your small talk will go a long way.

Don’t let your cartoon balloon of small talk remain empty.  Fill it with something that will make people think and will allow them to leave your presence with a smile on their face.  Be original and be appealing but most of all keep it simple and honest.  You never know what new connections you could make by starting with an elementary bit of small talk.

9 thoughts on “A little witty banter

  1. I find my small talk skills tend to match how comfortable I am in my current location. It can be a real effort to get it flowing if the space you are is a stressful one.


  2. In my various occupations over the years, all of which involved dealing with total strangers, I learned one of the most effective techniques for successful small talk is Get Them Talking About Themselves. Although we hate to admit it, we all love to have others show interest in what we do and what we have to say, so asking someone a simple question that doesn’t put them on the spot (“How did you learn to bake like this?” or “Where did you learn to write such interesting characters?”) is a good starting point, and you can often get the other person to carry the conversation just by making appropriate follow-up comments.

  3. Being bi-polar/mentally ill, I have a lot of social anxiety. But I like meeting new people and talking to people whom I have stuff in common with. You and I would probably talk for hours about writing and music. But people I have little in common I find small talk terrifying.

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