13 Things I'd Rather Do or Say Than Small Talk

13 Things I'd Rather Do or Say Than Small Talk

It's so dreaded. What if we replaced it?

"Hi! How are you?" "Oh good" "Yeah, the weather really has been bad." "This event sure is nice, though. I think they re-did the carpet." "If only we all just weren't so busy." "More sleep, yep, that'd be so great."

I'm pretty sure we've all had experience with it: the dreaded small talk. Okay, sometimes it can be convenient in short gaps of time to initially gauge what a person's like, but I think we often engage in this small-talking habit for too long.

If I've met you (and often even if I've only known you for literally three minutes), my mind moves. I want to talk deeper, to do something meaningful,to change this interaction to add more value in some way to our lives or to the world.

Here's 13 ways that we can say and do more than just small talk.

1. Investigate a New Topic

It turns out we each have a new topic literally right in front of us: each other. We could keep talking about the weather or the room's decorations, or we could actually realize that the carpet is going to stay new if we talk about it or not but we could find out something truly interesting about the human being we are interacting with.

You can use whatever method suits you as to try to find out more about not just what the person does but what they're passionate about, not just their name but what has made them into the person they are, not just their interests but the struggles they've encountered along the way.

2. Try the Question Game

This can help you when you're "investigating." Rules: one person asks a question. It can be about anything, but it's most fun if it's deeper than "what's your job?" Think more along the lines of "what does happiness look like for you?" or "what makes your life meaningful?"

"Why" questions can be particularly insightful for the question game, too: "why do you think people chase happiness so much?" "why do you think so many people love to laugh" "why do you think the news stories that gain popularity take off?"

3. Play What If

This question game might seem to personal for some and could potentially freak them out. I can't give you a hard and fast rule about when the question game is appropriate; you'll have to determine that in each situation.

Another option can be used, though. You can ask "what if." Ask what if about something psychological, cultural, relational, experimental or (really) whatever you want. Think along the lines of "what if people actually lived happily every day?" "what if everybody stopped driving cars to work?" "what if people were consistently intentional with kindness in their family relationships? "what if everyone in this room were to be forced to talk about their deepest fears?"

4. Seek to Help

By this point in your conversation you may (or hey, may not) have heard something about the person or what they in their life that you may have had some experience with, too. Maybe you have some wisdom to share that could help them. Maybe you just got a new idea that they might need to hear to get them thinking.

If you're looking for ways that you can help this person, whether it be through advice or even something tangible like a reference, you'd be surprised at what you might find.

5. Learn a Skill

In your conversing, you may have discovered the other person has a skill or strange hobby. Maybe this really interests you.

Why not find out more about it? You can increase your knowledge and maybe even learn quite a bit more about a skill. You never know when this can come in handy later down the road.

6. Impersonate Sherlock

Maybe you are sick of talking about yourself or the other person. Chances are, you are in an environment, and are other people around you. What about them? What can you observe about the way they are standing, interacting, gesturing, wearing, doing?

If no one else is around, then just look around the room. What do you notice about his environment? What does the wallpaper or items left on the floor indicate? What might have this room been used from in the past?

Playing a little detective and seeing what you discover about the other people around or the environment can be surprisingly entertaining.

7. Be Spontaneous

You might be in a situation where you're not confined to small talk around a table. If you have ability to re-locate, you can consider it.

What might be right around the corner? What does that room down the hall have?

Exploration can provide alternative options for engagement.

Even if you can't physically explore, spontaneity can still happen other ways. Maybe they've been talking about how their little brother has started recording songs. Why not look the songs up? Maybe you found that you both have always wanted to learn the lyrics of that Beatles song. Why not now?

Spontaneity often leads down more engaging roads than small talk.

8. Start a Social Experiment

Not everyone is comfortable with this option, but some sure are. If you and your small-talking acquaintance are around other people, you can try something that is out of the social norm.

This doesn't have to be super weird and random (though it could be). What if you dared each other to do something kind? To go compliment someone else in the room? To say something encouraging to another person?

The "out of the norm" activities to look for can be as simple as a random act of kindness, but it can simply go a long way.

9. Maximize Dual Potential

Maybe you've discovered you both share a common interest. Songwriting. Gardening. Social justice advocacy. Llamas.

Why not explore all the options while you have your shared strength?

First, see if you can do anything about your shared interest now. You both love songwriting? Why not choose a topic and go for it?

Second, see if there's anything they know that you can learn from. Try to see what their experience has shown or taught them and learn from the wisdom.

Third, see what your brainstorming power can do. Think about the topic and talk about some goals with the topic. Then let your collective brainpower lose and try to come up with all the possible solutions, new ideas, different angles on the topic, or action step.

When you find someone with common interest, you just have to take advantage of the opportunity.

11. Talk about Change

The world is raft with issues, even outside of you and your acquaintance's personal spheres. Instead of commenting about the new carpet, what if you discussed what changes you wish you saw in the world? What if you talked about what would need to happen for these changes? What if you looked smaller and asked what you could do?

You don't have to limit your discussions about change about current events or global issues, though. You can pick ideas and talk about those, and the ideas can come from literally anything. Science developments. The new TV series you've been watching. The way your neighbor's new house design is maximizing her ability to entertain. Your family.

The limit to the ideas you can talk about is simply the limit your two brains can think.

12. Brainstorm Ways to Help

Alright, so you've been talking about all these ideas and what can be done. You can step up your game and really kicks these action plans--ways to help--into gear. You can look to what you can do.

But what if you thought about ways to help in your personal lives? What if you tried to come up with practical ways that you or your acquaintance can move closer to goals that you guys have talked about? What if you brainstormed about more universal elements, like your relationships? What if you thought about how to be more intentional in your family, among friends, or among co-workers?

13. Make a Difference

You've been thinking about ways that you can make changes. What if you thought smaller, though? What if you looked at what you could do to make a difference in the moment?

Is the host at your event running behind? Could she use a helping hand? Is there trash at some tables? Could you pick it up?

What about the people at the location? Is someone looking uncomfortable; can you go and ease their unease?

If you keep your eyes open to ways in which you can make a difference, you might be surprised.

Small talk doesn't have to be all that happens. It's up to you, and you can often go as deep as your comfort levels will take you. Image what could happen if your conversations and actions started looking a little more like this?

I mean, you can keep talking about the weather and new carpet all you want. Let's just be clear: it's your choice.

As it has been said before, may your choices reflect your hopes (not your fears).

Cover Image Credit: Career Girl Daily

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My ABCs Of Life

What are your ABCs?

Instead of a long article, I decided to do something a little different for this week. These are my ABCs of life, and maybe some of you can use them as well.

A-ppreciate the little things in life

B-ear your soul on on your little doings

C-ast out your talents and skills

D-on't always stay in your comfort zone

E-njoy life with each passing second

F-ind your happiness

G-ratitude in every blessing

H-ave good friends around

I-nspire yourself everyday

J-ubilate gladness each passing moment

K-now yourself better

L-ive your life to the fullest

M-ake your dreams come true

N-egotiating joy in all matters

O-pen your hands to everyone in need


Q-uench your mistakes

R-each out to others

S-miling makes your day complete

T-ruthfulness to yourself at all times


V-oice out your opinions

W-illingness to keep motivated

Y-earn for new things

Cover Image Credit: pixabay

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What You Do Does Not Define Who You Are

You are more.

So often our small talk with strangers or conversations with new friends include the questions, “Do you go to school?” “Where do you work?” “What are you studying?”. With the answers to these three questions, we are able to formulate our opinion and first impression of that person within a short 7 seconds. We determine if we think they’re lazy, motivated or intelligent by just a few, very shallow questions. It’s the way our society runs, and it is how it is and there’s nothing we can do about it besides accept it. Right?

When we start to view ourselves the way we think other people view us, that’s when the red flag should go up and sirens should sound. The essence of who we are will never be defined by our answers to those trivial questions, nor should we let our answers dictate how we live our lives. If we are letting what people think about us change the course of our lives, then we need to do some serious re-evaluating.

We do it more often than we realize, and more than we care to admit. We might go to college because we think it’s what we are supposed to do, even though we have no clue what we actually want to do. We might study a certain subject because it’s what our parents told us to do, and it makes the most money. We might work at a job we hate because it will look good on a resume. But if we’re doing these things because society tells us to and not because it’s what we have chosen for ourselves, have we lost sight of who we really are?

So often I find myself letting my answers to these questions define me. College student. Studying business. Working in an office job. Thankfully, I’ve chosen these things for myself and although it gets repetitive, I’m grateful for these things in my life. But is that all I am? A college student studying business who works in an office? Not at all. And it shouldn’t define me, and it doesn’t make me superior or inferior to anyone else.

If I wanted to, I could have chosen not to go to a university and started working full time at a job I loved. I could have gone to trade school. I could have given up all worldly possessions and traveled the world. I could have done any of these things, and still, none of it would define me. It wouldn’t have mattered how many crazy looks I would have gotten if I decided to live out of my car on the road.

It wouldn’t have mattered how mad my parents would have been if I didn’t attend school and chose to work instead. None of it would have mattered because none of those things define who I am. None of those things define who you are.

You are defined by your heart. Your character. Your passions.

You are defined by what makes you laugh, what makes you cry. Your likes, your dislikes, your loves, and your hates.

You are defined by your beliefs and your dreams. Your insecurities and your greatest attributes.

You are defined by the love of the God who created you.

You are defined by who you are now and who you hope to become.

All of that and more is the very core of who you are. Don’t ever let anyone or anything, or any answer to a silly question, define who you are.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash

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