I've started to say things without thinking just recently and I seem to enjoy it more. It takes the panic out of speaking to other people; most of what I say usually ends up being slightly sardonic in nature, but it's all in good fun!
I think a big problem is trying to sound smart, or feeling like you are expected to sound smarter than others. It is their delusion not yours that you're crushing by simply saying what you are thinking. It is really up to them to accept it; you can't always be "on" even if you think you are and you will slip and if they can't respect that fact then... Well, I guess it's their loss, huh?
But I found that I enjoy people's reaction to me starting the conversation (no matter how i sound) - happiness and relief . Especially with freshly met people. It also greases the wheels for me sometimes and gets rid of the feeling of sitting in a box.
Saying all that, small talk can't replace the real connections for me. It can lead to it. But if there is no going deeper after a longer conversation or talking from time to time it's just going to stay there :-/.
On the other hand there are certain environments where you can't go beyond the small talk - other topics may be dangerous.
But when people live together you can't expect them to be constantly aware 24 hrs a day, and I certainly don't want to nag. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it, and take one for the team. He certainly puts up with all of *my* bullshit.
I hate small talk, it makes me want to stab myself with a fork. Especially the kind of small talk that never seems to go anywhere, 6 months later you still don't know anything about the other person apart from that they spent their weekend at their in-laws. What's the long-term point of that kind of interaction?
Also especially in England it's the polite thing to do to small-talk, you can sense that the other person doesn't care what you have to say but is just asking you a question to be polite. I find that in a group with a lot of small-talk I feel alone even if I am surrounded by people, I understand that you have to start a conversation somewhere but it never seems to build up to a proper connection where you feel like you are genuinely communicating with another human being.
So I can't give any advice on how to small-talk, just that I try to stay far away from it.
I was just thinking about making a thread about this not too long ago. The problem is that while you may be very intelligent, you are not likely to be talking about any of the subjects you're knowledgeable about in everyday conversation. This applies to a lot of INxx types, I imagine.