The other day I was in the cafeteria when the cashier noticed the unusual buttons on the sweater I was wearing. I felt inclined to allow her closer examination. She then asked where did I get the sweater from and I answered, Old Navy. She responded, "I love those commercials and wish I had a wardrobe like that!"
I just flashed her a smile and stepped out of the way for the next person in line. In my head I thought, "Really? An Old Navy wardrobe would make you happy? Why not GAP, or hell, why not think big and think Banana Republic?!"
What I realize is that discussing clothing decisions wasn’t the cashier’s intent. She was making small talk.
I suck at small talk. Seriously – I SUCK!
I’ll give you another example: yesterday I headed to the post office to mail out the last of the cards for the Card Exchange. As I stood in the line that snaked out into the lobby, I called Mr. DD to pass the time. We chatted briefly about nothing and then he instructed me to do something later in the day. I responded with, "Yes, sir." and said goodbye. Yes, I actually do say "yes, sir" or "no, sir" when talking to my husband. That’s for another post.
Anyhow, there was an elderly lady behind me and once I put my phone away, she said to me, "Yes, sir? Was that your husband?" Yes, I told her, it was. "Sounds like me and my husband." Oh? I responded. "He died last year." Sorry to hear that, was all I could say in response.
Mr. DD, on the other hand, can small-talk it up with anyone, anywhere. It’s not unusual for me to roll my eyes at him when we go out to eat because he has to chat it up with the waiter. The eye-roll is usually followed by an apologetic look at the waiter for my dinner date’s crappy jokes and for keeping him from his other customers.
How many times have you read that if you are at a social gathering and you have nothing else to say, bring up the topic of the weather. No way and no how am I going to discuss the weather. That just pegs me as the dork who doesn’t know what to say and that I take my advice from a fashion magazine.
So are you a good small-talker? What makes one "good"?