– Have a go-to story or question ready as trying to make small talk meaningful with someone new can be difficult.
– Carefully plan how you can exit the conversation gracefully as it will eventually become tedious.
– Don’t get your hopes too high about making new friends. Keep your expectations in check and just enjoy the moment.
Small talk is not bad, but seek depth as well
When we add depth to our conversation that is when we make real connections and make new friends. But the question is how can we make small talk meaningful? “Keep it light,” says psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman. She explains “engaging in substantive conversations is linked with greater happiness and well-being” because humans are social animals who constantly seek meaning.
Samantha adds “Good conversations also facilitate bonding and a greater connection with the person with whom we are speaking. Simply put, making a point to talk about stuff that matters is a simple way to cultivate happiness.”
However, it is not always easy to make small talk meaningful when you are at a dinner party, cocktail party, or social gathering. Often, the words don’t flow as smoothly as we would want them to. And it’s equally awkward when we are stuck listening to someone’s incoherent babbling.
“The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Consider re-framing the situation,” says Dr. Samantha Boardman. She writes “Instead of dwelling on how dull your dinner partner is or how difficult he or she is to talk to, ask yourself – what can I learn from them?” The key is to have a more open mindset to convert a boring chat into a meaningful conversation.
From small talk to deep conversations
Small talk is important despite how painful it may be. When you know how to make small talk meaningful, it can lead to lasting connections and excellent opportunities.
Author Melissa Wadsworth believes “Small talk is about tapping into possibilities. Approach the conversation excited about the friendship, the good laugh, the fascinating story, the job lead, the date, the joy, or the sense-of-belonging potential inherent in this shared experience. It’s the first step to any meaningful relationship.”
So have faith in yourself, don’t get intimidated, and just be present at the moment. Soon you will master the art of small talk and excel at making deep, meaningful conversation that will lead to lasting relationships.