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  1. #51
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    I hope this doesn't sound haughty. Small talk is *probably* the best way to begin a conversation (and make a connection), but it's just so terribly boring. I don't know if I speak for other INTP's, but what I dislike about it is that I'm always trying to see the "big picture" of whatever is going on in front of me and then someone will say something that would be considered small talk and it sometimes seems very irrelevant to the big picture and I have no idea how to respond to them.

    If I'm on an airplaine, I might be thinking about what I'm going to do once I get there, doing some brainstrorming on a work project, reading a good article in a magazine, or just relaxing and listening to some good music. And then the person next to me might say something like:

    "Lots of rain today, eh?"

    What are you supposed to say to that? First thing that comes to mind for me is to look out the window to verify that there is indeed a lot of rain and then say, "Yep! Very astute observation." And then return to whatever I was doing. I know that sounds horrible, but "lots of rain today" doesn't give me much to go on. Maybe I should respond with "Yeah. And I really like bananas." People say that talking about the weather is a good connecting point, but how do you connect with "lots of rain today, eh?" If you think about it, that statement has almost ZERO meaning. It doesn't mean anything. It's just a very simple observation. "The airplane is white." "It's hot today." "Lots of rain today, eh?" Yep. Yep. And yep. That's really all I have to say about those things. I usually don't care to talk about those kinds of things.

    I'm being a bit extreme to illustrate a point. We all use small talk to some degree. I don't want people to think I'm a total jerk, so a lot of times I engage in the small talk. But, if it goes on for more than a few minutes, it just gets really, really old cuz it feels like we're both standing there talking about NOTHING.

    Really, for me - it's about "how important is the thing we are talking about". To me, talking about the shooting in Tucson and how that's going to affect the future is fairly important. Talking about China and why they are the next world superpower is important. Talking about how to get food in the mouths of hungry children - imporant.

    Describing your trip to the dentist - not important. Telling me that the grocery store got a new style of paper bags - not that important. Your favorite TV show changed from 7pm to 8pm - ehh, not that important (deal with it!). Your gas bill is $3 more than last month - ehh, whatever.

    It's about what one perceives to be important. If it's not real important, then I don't see the point of spending a lot of time talking about it.

    All of that said, I should probably try harder to be a good small-talker. I'm actually not *that bad* - I can talk to anyone about anything. It's just really boring and draining sometimes.
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  2. #52
    Glycerine
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    WEATHER!?!? Seriously, that's old man's talk. If someone starts to talk about the weather, run away, there's nothing good to come out of it! :P If someone starts small talk, I just say whatever is on my mind that at least has a little relevance. It usually works like a charm. If you want to look really nice and you don't give a shit about the convo, listen for a minute and ask some really random question about it, zone out, tune back in for 30 sec, and just rephrase something they said. . I got trapped into a conversation w/ racist black woman (she told me Einstein had slaves WTF....), someone trying to tell me the wonders of God, sharks, etc.

  3. #53
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    ^ Weather can be very interesting :-) I'm married to an amateur meteorologist. Cue: if the weather talk involves "models", "T-log-P diagrams" and/or "dew points"...
    On the other hand: complaining about the weather is boring. Actually, complaining about anything is boring.
    I had more than one relatively interesting conversation with someone who complained about the snow. They of course expect you to agree and to repeat the complaints, perhaps telling how you had problems driving too. I love snow and I'm not ashamed of that. I consider the driving problems as the price to pay to get that wonderful white stuff. If you answer happily about how wonderful the world looks and the crystals you've seen and the ice flower pattern... people are baffled and interesting talk ensues
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  4. #54
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    In my experience ISTJs can be a lot less talkative. If my grandfather was in the mood to talk, it was an event. I also know another ISJ who says he doesn't like to talk about himself.
    That's more I than it is STJ.

  5. #55
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    Describing your trip to the dentist - not important. Telling me that the grocery store got a new style of paper bags - not that important. Your favorite TV show changed from 7pm to 8pm - ehh, not that important (deal with it!). Your gas bill is $3 more than last month - ehh, whatever.
    Are you kidding me? These are all very interesting conversations. (or at least lead to very interesting conversations)
    Him-"I went to the dentist"
    Me- "I don't go to the dentist, I just keep my mouth clean. Humans have survived years without dentists... Honestly, I'm not sure why we are so hung up on oral hygiene."

    Him- "They have a new paper bag in the stores these days"
    Me- "Really, what type?"
    Him- "Blah"
    Me-" Oh, the green movement... I can see why it's important. But honestly, if these new bags aren't as good as the old ones, I'm not sure I like the situation. Does that make me selfish?"

    Him- "My show got moved"
    Me- "Which one?"
    Him-"Blah"
    Me- at this point there are so many places to take the conversation I wouldn't even know how to proceed. I could ask him why programs are moved (I have some idea, but I'm not sure exactly). I could ask him why he likes the show. I could ask him if he has TiVo. (I don't) I could ask him why he likes it, if it's changed his TV watching habits. I could ask him if he skips the commercials. (Is that even possible?) etc etc

    Him-"My gas bill went up by 3 dollars?"
    Me- "Why?"
    Him-"Well, oil has gotten more expensive.."
    Me-again possibilities here are endless..the middle east, china (which is something you would like to talk about), capitalism..

    Even the "plane is white" is interesting. Why is this..to reflect the sun, to reduce energy costs? That makes no sense, don't they heat the airplane? They should be absorbing the heat..right? Does heat get reflect by white, or is that just light?

    All these are conversations I would gladly have. It's just about steering the conversation to something you like talking about, or listening to. Admittedly, some people don't respond well to all my questions (in which case they leave me alone) but most people like talking about themselves, or giving their opinion on something. And I like hearing those opinions and trying to figure that person out. I've never met someone who doesn't surprise me in some way..( I once met this girl who was into Keltic music. Apparently there are international Keltic music competitions and the city I live in has one of the best Keltic music groups in the world. A city four hours away has a better one.. So, they "fight" over local Keltic talent. This leads to a sometimes not so friendly rivalry...yes, over Keltic music. Seriously, how can you make that up? It's interesting and extremely unexpected, something I would never have know even existed if not for talking to the person.)

    But maybe I just excited over boring things..

  6. #56
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkenya View Post
    Are you kidding me? These are all very interesting conversations. (or at least lead to very interesting conversations)
    Him-"I went to the dentist"
    Me- "I don't go to the dentist, I just keep my mouth clean. Humans have survived years without dentists... Honestly, I'm not sure why we are so hung up on oral hygiene."

    Him- "They have a new paper bag in the stores these days"
    Me- "Really, what type?"
    Him- "Blah"
    Me-" Oh, the green movement... I can see why it's important. But honestly, if these new bags aren't as good as the old ones, I'm not sure I like the situation. Does that make me selfish?"

    Him- "My show got moved"
    Me- "Which one?"
    Him-"Blah"
    Me- at this point there are so many places to take the conversation I wouldn't even know how to proceed. I could ask him why programs are moved (I have some idea, but I'm not sure exactly). I could ask him why he likes the show. I could ask him if he has TiVo. (I don't) I could ask him why he likes it, if it's changed his TV watching habits. I could ask him if he skips the commercials. (Is that even possible?) etc etc

    Him-"My gas bill went up by 3 dollars?"
    Me- "Why?"
    Him-"Well, oil has gotten more expensive.."
    Me-again possibilities here are endless..the middle east, china (which is something you would like to talk about), capitalism..

    Even the "plane is white" is interesting. Why is this..to reflect the sun, to reduce energy costs? That makes no sense, don't they heat the airplane? They should be absorbing the heat..right? Does heat get reflect by white, or is that just light?

    All these are conversations I would gladly have. It's just about steering the conversation to something you like talking about, or listening to. Admittedly, some people don't respond well to all my questions (in which case they leave me alone) but most people like talking about themselves, or giving their opinion on something. And I like hearing those opinions and trying to figure that person out. I've never met someone who doesn't surprise me in some way..( I once met this girl who was into Keltic music. Apparently there are international Keltic music competitions and the city I live in has one of the best Keltic music groups in the world. A city four hours away has a better one.. So, they "fight" over local Keltic talent. This leads to a sometimes not so friendly rivalry...yes, over Keltic music. Seriously, how can you make that up? It's interesting and extremely unexpected, something I would never have know even existed if not for talking to the person.)

    But maybe I just excited over boring things..
    This is an example of where small talk can go - of course, as you mentioned, there has to be interest. It seems like an INTP with heavy I emphasis is probably less likely to try to extend it.
    *Checks the E/I ratio of discussion here*

  7. #57
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    Those are the surface questions anybody asks- and you're right, you probably don't care too much, but if it means something to them, you'll ask out of consideration. That's not S stuff.
    It may be an I/E thing as well.
    It's an N/S and I/E thing, yeah.

    So an IxSx might not be that comfortable with extended small talk, but an IxNx is probably even more uncomfortable and bored by small talk, on average.

  8. #58
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    I think that all of this self-glorifying "I hate small talk" business is silly and missing the point. If you claim to hate small talk it's either because (1) you dislike (or don't want to be bothered with) communicating with others in general, (2) you are socially dysfunctional and want to blame it on other's lack of ability to converse about "deeper" things, or (3) because you're lying to make yourself seem N to idiots on this forum. Of these three possibilities, I think that only (1) can have any sort of correlation to personality type. And it would be on the E/I or, to a lesser extent, T/F axis rather than S/N.

    Small talk is a social ritual that functions as a method of negotiating relationships between people in communication. Among other things, it allows, for instance, one to gauge the mood and willingness of their interlocutor in order to determine the limits of possible conversation. In other words, the point of small talk is not to exchange content through communication, but rather to understand how to communicate in any particular instance (with any particular person.) Function over content. To say that small talk is pointless because you talk about mundane things is, therefore, nothing other than a triviality.

    Personally, I do generally dislike engaging in small talk. But the reason that I do is because I dislike communicating in general with people to whom I am not well acquainted (i.e., people who I would have to engage in small talk with in order to communicate, because I don't know them well and therefore don't know how to communicate with them), not because the topics are boring. To say the latter would be akin to saying that I dislike candy wrappers because they don't taste as good the candy bar. Which is stupid.

    Furthermore, to say that you are bad at small talk is the same as saying that you are bad at being social.
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  9. #59
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    Seriously you're going to get that deep? Doesn't that have it's place with someone you know better? Let's say you're in a waiting room- you'd go that far?
    Don't you think you can take the conversation the way you want with your response to 'what did you do today?'
    Agreed. I'm not much for small talk, but sometimes one feels the need to initiate a conversation, so things like, "Hi, how are you?" Or, "Man, some weather we're having..." Or say waiting in line for something, leaning over and saying, "Geez, could this go any slower!" or even a compliment of some sort, is a good way to just break ice. And sometimes it leads no where... and then other times, you can get into some really interesting conversations with random strangers. Conversations one might not expect to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    Unfortunately it escapes me sometimes. I just look at people with a puzzled expression not sure what to ask, can't over do it and yet if I don't say anything it gets awkward. I suppose I can start with what music and film are you into, that at least is less confronting. hahah when I asked the goals bit even with friends in my social circle they were at a loss to say and reversed the question onto me and I was happy to answer but they still didn't. pfft.
    Yeah... but even starting with what music and film are you into, feels sort of like being on some matchmaker tv show. That's not a good way to initiate a conversation. Not unless, say you are in a waiting room and there's some movie on, and you happen to make light chit chat about the movie and then it gets carried into a topic about movies and what you do or don't like.

    Actually, in a thread last night, someone posted about how they are an Fi-dom, but hate when people start to get too personal... yet have no problem "acting" or performing/goofing off with others. It's just that, people right off the bat, when they don't know you, will have a hard time letting down their guard to let someone in. You have to start off more lighthearted and see if it leads deeper from there or not. And that's sort of how you know if you have a connection with someone or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    I guess people have their guard up, more or less, until you're worthy of knowing more information, or you'll be receptive to more questions.
    Agreed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    I have trouble talking in situation conversations, they say you can generally tell what to ask from what people say as a carry on of the conversation. Well the obvious escapes me and I don't want to ask from the conversation to carry the conversation. I want to ask what I'm interested in knowing about them rather than the situational stuff.
    I wouldn't say that conversations flow necessarily the way you think. I don't state something in hopes of being prompted with the proper question, so that I may continue talking about what I hope to talk about. If someone says something that prompts another question or intrigue, then go with it if it interests you. But conversations aren't set up that way. At least not for me. I just talk without thinking much of the time in those types of situations and I think many people are the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    The majority of people make small talk to a degree - though I find INTs claim to despise it the most - but I think the stereotype is that Ss are more satisfied spending large chunks of their time this way, where as Ns either want to move on to another topic or get the hell away from the person who keeps making chit chat.
    That's such a ridiculous stereotype. I can make small talk with random strangers, only because I know I'll be moving along within minutes. I couldn't possibly sit and make small talk for endless time. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I am more of an introvert I think. It's hard to find people that I can really connect with on a deeper level. I love really getting to know people, and not talking or goofing off forever on a trivial plane. I've had people tell me I'm one of the most "real" people they know, because of this quality of forgetting the bull and wanting to understand. Going out to parties or big group events, often make for trivial conversations, in my opinion, which is one of the reasons I either try to avoid it or leave early because I'm incredibly drained or bored. But it's not always the case. Sometimes starting off with small talk can lead to some awesome big talk. And this keeps me interested and energized.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
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  10. #60
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I think that all of this self-glorifying "I hate small talk" business is silly and missing the point. If you claim to hate small talk it's either because (1) you dislike (or don't want to be bothered with) communicating with others in general, (2) you are socially dysfunctional and want to blame it on other's lack of ability to converse about "deeper" things, or (3) because you're lying to make yourself seem N to idiots on this forum. Of these three possibilities, I think that only (1) can have any sort of correlation to personality type. And it would be on the E/I or, to a lesser extent, T/F axis rather than S/N.

    Small talk is a social ritual that functions as a method of negotiating relationships between people in communication. Among other things, it allows, for instance, one to gauge the mood and willingness of their interlocutor in order to determine the limits of possible conversation. In other words, the point of small talk is not to exchange content through communication, but rather to understand how to communicate in any particular instance (with any particular person.) Function over content. To say that small talk is pointless because you talk about mundane things is, therefore, nothing other than a triviality.

    Personally, I do generally dislike engaging in small talk. But the reason that I do is because I dislike communicating in general with people to whom I am not well acquainted (i.e., people who I would have to engage in small talk with in order to communicate, because I don't know them well and therefore don't know how to communicate with them), not because the topics are boring. To say the latter would be akin to saying that I dislike candy wrappers because they don't taste as good the candy bar. Which is stupid.

    Furthermore, to say that you are bad at small talk is the same as saying that you are bad at being social.
    +1
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

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