Intro: Hello, humans! In honour of the Labour Day weekend here in the US, we have decided to kick off our Intro/Extro posts with some advice on small talk. As an Introvert myself, I have found that being caught off-guard and being expected to prolong a conversation about what I’ve done with my holiday can be a startling and generally unpleasant experience. A lot of Extroverts have trouble understanding that some of us find it exhausting to keep up a conversation just for the sake of chatting, so I asked our friendly neighbourhood socialite to hand out some advice on telling your friends, family, coworkers, strangers, whoever all about your killer weekend of doing…well…whatever you did.
Extro: The only problem with a vacation or holiday is that they end. Not necessarily because the days spent amusing yourself are over, but because you must with certainty convey what it is you did during the time off. Another problem, telling coworkers and friends that you enjoyed your time with a video game or a solitary game of “How Long Can I Stay in Bed without Feeling Like Complete Crap” (which, by the way, is super fun and I’ve beaten my high score I hear the sequel is coming out on Wii U). This guide will teach the more introverted reader how to navigate these trying times: Post-Holiday Chit Chat.
Relate your experiences. The simple thing to remember is that extroverts love making connections with people. The more you can take your experiences and incorporate the participant the more successful the conversation. Metaphorically take their coat and invite them in. Let your chance to talk about yourself open up the chance to learn about them as well. (Intro: I have found that this works best by mentioning specific details; most extroverts will run with it, if they’ve heard of whatever you’re talking about.)
Prepare yourself. Run through the things you did and make note of what you enjoyed. It’s weird how often we forget all the awesome shit we do each week, so take a moment, laminate it in your mind, make a headline like “Bed-dweller relaxes with Kettle Chips and homemade queso for cheesy success.” No one can resist a good ole fashion simple pleasure. Sure, it’s not saving babies from a flaming oil rig off the coast of Norway, but how many times are you really gonna run into that story?
Discuss the Weather…but not a lot. Oldest conversational trick in the book after “How are you?” If you keep talking about the weather, though, people will catch on. It’s great to keep the flow going and something everyone can relate to. I imagine your holiday had weather, hopefully?
Be bold! It’s really hard, but saying that simple word can melt away anxiety. If you think having the home court advantage will help, own the conversation! It looks confident and, even if you feel like you botch it, people will generally respond in kind.
Make meaningful eye contact. Sometimes people forget that a little eye contact can help establish remembering names and facts. It also reminds you why you’re making small talk in the first place, which is that person in front of you.
Intro: SO. Hopefully you don’t get trapped in too many conversations you hate, but if you do, I offer this advice: you are free to leave the rapport at any time. A great way to politely exit (in my experience) is to excuse yourself to the bathroom, gather up strength, and carry on with your business or go back to talking, if that floats your boat! You may find that you have a new friend, which would be preeeetty swell.