Small Talk Is Big Talk

I used to be so embarrassed as a child when my parents would strike up a conversation with a total stranger.
Just chit chat, about this and that.
Elevator talk, they call it now.
I remember wanting to disappear into the sidewalk whenever they would hail a stranger, “Nice weather today, eh?”, or “Gorgeous baby you have there!”
Little did I know at the time that several decades later, I would be doing exactly the same thing.
Engaging a total stranger in chit chat.
In line at the supermarket. Or with the supermarket checkout person.
With the receptionist at the dentist.
Or the nurses at my mother’s long term care facility.
Just chit chat.
About this and that.
About nothing, really.
Nothing that will change the world.
Nothing that will upset anyone’s political or religious views.
Or discover any new planets. Or life forms. Or invent any new discoveries.
Just chit chat.
Small talk.
Idle banter that engages another human being.
I read a study once that essentially said that small talk actually increases a person’s dopamine levels. Reduces stress. Makes people happy.
I call it being personable.
Anyone can do it.
Everyone should do it.
When I am around ANYONE these days, I feel obliged to say a few words. To engage in a question or two. To break the proverbial ice by issuing a few comments. General comments that no one would take offence to. But enough that perhaps, if they feel inclined, they might respond to. To engage.
I feel younger people these days would rather be engaged in their technology than other real people. Live humans.
I feel that disconnect so readily, that I nearly weep for what will become of them.
I hope that when they are several decades into their lives, that they will realize that the humans around them are what counts in the grand scheme of things. Not the virtual people/games/pets that are on their phones and tablets.
And, until I am no longer able, I will continue to try to be personable, and engage in that seemingly meaningless, idle chit chat, the small talk, that I consider to be the grease that lubricates the wheels of society.


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