I Am Not Cool Enough – 2 (Small Talk is Super Under estimated)

This thought process started when I was talking to Scribby about a conference and told her that I thought she was super cool and would be a success in attending conferences. She gave her usual awesome gyan to me about pushing one self to do the right thing and stuff. and I am at awe at that woman. Anyways, this post is not about Scribby, its about me.

I suck at small talk. Big time. I cant do small talk AT ALL. and its a very very bad thing especially when you have to attend conferences. Imagine an entire room full of people with absolutely the same background as yours, but you end up picking up that plate and stuffing it to the fullest eating at one corner, not making eye contact with anyone. Yep! that would be me. I just dont have the ability to interact and mingle with people, exchange visiting cards and help the business grow. Thats why I HATE going to conferences. If I go, I just attend, take notes (remnants of the college days??) and then eat the food and come back. Without a SINGLE visiting card. Unless, someone just comes up to me and offers me one!

Before every conference, I try to tell myself, I can do it, etc etc, but I get absolutely so tongue tied :(:(

I think some people are amazing at small talk. You know, in a wedding, dont know anyone, go compliment the lady on the wonderful jewelry, ask if its a family heirloom and then one thing leads to the other and they are chit chatting away to glory. RD took me to his colleague’s wedding and all I did was fill my plate to the brim and eat :(:( I just couldnt mingle with the group of his. They were polite to me because I was his wife, but nothing to talk in common 😦 I felt like such a fool.

I have tried doing this small talk thing, but absolutely fail, because I just get tongue tied and dont know how to take it further 😦

I am so uncool that ways!

I am also uncool here


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47 Responses to I Am Not Cool Enough – 2 (Small Talk is Super Under estimated)

  1. chaitali says:

    oh lady i accept and appreciate the way u are:) so forgot abt being uncool n all..
    u rock the way ur

  2. paatiamma says:

    I too suffer from the same syndrome!!had actually taken small talk as an action item for improvement this year..Faced moderate success in distant relative gatherings..In conferences/ parties et al with the partner’s colleagues am still hopeless! Vidaa muyarchi might transform me one day..Hopefully.

  3. Smita says:

    hehehehe…I had initially written a comment on how cool u r in other things but deleted it….I know u are not complaining here…u r just stating facts!!!

    I am little opposite of you not that I attend conferences or I speak publically but yes I have no issues in talking to strangers!!!! In fact I talk a lot and that too unnecessarily πŸ˜€

  4. rainmusings says:

    same pinch :(.. i have never done small talk atleast business wise. Even in our company meetings , i keep quiet during the lunch sessions where all of us from company founder to junior level employee mingle together ….

  5. Unfortunately, some people who are very good at small talk and at promoting themselves, and not so good at anything else, manage to progress in professional life, or become more popular personally.
    If you, and the persons who matter to you, are comfortable with who you are, there’s no point fretting about this ‘inability’.

  6. summerscript says:

    If you find another woman with full plate and having eye contact only with the plates in the same conference or wedding, go say hi to her without fail. That must be ME. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  7. ashreyamom says:

    for me, i can talk to everybody , small or big talk.. but when i have to do talking with my In-laws i cant do.. may be i am always scared of them misunderstanding and ending up in fight..
    during my college days i was famous for flirting and picking up conversation with people. so for all the site visit and sample collection, i used to be the one talking on phone.. but now i seem to have lost this skill. i dont feel like talking to anyone in office with much of interest.. :).

  8. hehe! C’mon ur not uncool. Just be yourself:) Sometimes, when we don’t have anything to tell the world, why they expect us to do bak-bak:)

  9. Aakanksha says:

    Big hugs RM.. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve been like you too! That has only resulted in not having many friends around here in Hyd. So, I am slowly trying to make small talk. But, you know my problem? I speak something and then, wonder if whatever I spoke was lame or offensive! 😦

  11. Shweta says:

    I don’t know if this was supposed to make me smile, but it did!! Coz we have something in common!!! πŸ˜€

  12. Same pinch RM, I also suck at small talk. In a large group,i just feel so left out because I just can’t talk much and end up feeling like a fool :(. Hugs!

  13. The Bride says:

    I think you need to practice. The big secret is that almost everyone struggles with this, especially in the business scenario. There are very few naturals. Most people would love to stand in a corner and eat. So it might help to know that everyone is probably feeling the same as you. I hated this as well but learnt to do it. You should keep a standard set of questions or remarks you can make to initiate conversations. (Sadly, it was so long ago that I had to do this that I can’t remember the set phrases I used to use…one trick is to comment on something a speaker said…or just plain old: so where do you work? or: are you enjoying the conference). Most people are equally happy to find someone to talk to and will reciprocate. There will be the odd snobbish few, and some may excuse themselves after a few minutes, because the aim of these things is to circulate. Try not to take that personally.

  14. Sumana says:

    Hey RM, reading your blogs, i really don’t think you suck in any of the things on this universe. You are amazing, just that we sometimes don’t make that effort and it is ok. May be one step at a time, the next time you keep a target of talking to atleast 2-3 people and next time to 4-5. Keep going, you will be able to do it….

  15. I see a lot of ‘me too’s in the comments, but can’t help adding one more me too.:)
    Well..I won’t call me a non- small talker, it would be more like a talkative person with a BIG starting trouble.
    Back home I always had friends around to do all my hearty talking, and since I moved to this new city I am fumbling with my Starting trouble………. πŸ™‚

  16. I suck at small talk, too. In fact, I suck at any kind of talk. So, I know exactly what you mean. I am, slowly, trying to change, though, in the ways that I think best.

    I do think small talk is a skill – some people are just so good at it! I think it is an acquired skill, though, and gets better with time, the more you practise it. So, just get started and don’t worry about it too much. I know it does help in social situations and in professional ones, too.

  17. Ashwathy says:

    I am now generally comfortable in mingling with groups. The other day I was at a cafe on the ground floor of my office building, having lunch alone (since I wanted to rush) and lo and behold! the Head of Financial Services practice came (seeing a familiar face from office in the otherwise stranger-filled cafe I guess ) and asked if I minded if he joined me for lunch. I nearly choked on my sandwich but of course said no problem! And for the next 20-25 mins we proceeded to have lunch together….and I managed to make decent conversation with the Partner of a function that had nothing to do with my work. And I was just thinking what a long way I have come. πŸ™‚ I was an absolute introvert in my teens. Never comfortable beyond my closest 2-3 pals. Would interact with new people only if I absolutely had to. You are not that bad, are you?

    The first breakthrough for me was moving to Delhi from Kerala. The second breakthrough was when I had a job as a reporter straight after graduation. There was no choice but to start mingling with people…I had to get information out of them!! And the final step was doing my post-graduation alone, away from my family, in a different country. It took about 4-5 years before the entire transformation happened and the confidence seeped in.

    Like the Bride said, many people are not that comfortable in big groups. Even my first instinct is to panic and runnnnn! But then I tell myself to take a deep a breath and move ahead. Think of general stuff as conversation starters. Either about the conference you are attending, what work they are doing etc. all that the Bride was mentioning are good points. Sometimes what I do is, I join a group and listen to the conversation of a group to see if there is anything I can contribute. If the topic is familiar, I might add a comment or two at the right juncture. If that doesn’t work, I quietly move away and try to find some other group or people. You could just start with speaking one or two people at a time instead of facing a group right away.

    Ok enough gyan for now. I will bore you with sms/whatsapp later πŸ˜€

  18. Shachi Thakkar says:

    Think about this in a different way. It’s my approach a lot of times.
    Small talk in US is absolutely necessary. So what I do is: I always try to compliment the person – whether its the person in the elevator at work, a grocery store clerk, the person in line next to me at the counter, the kids caregiver/teacher, etc. Believe it or not, most often, I see wide smiles from these people. You never know who is having a bad day, and u can bring a little cheer and perk them up. Same with conferences and parties (or flights) – I’ve seen people open up to me just because I can listen. All I had to do was initiate a little bit of small talk. From not liking it at all, I love it now and enjoy it too.

  19. I feel the same way about small talk. I detest it! Maybe we should start some training for this, eh?

  20. Amit says:

    Same here. I am really bad at small talks too. I think it has a negative impact on your career in the long run. 😦

  21. Scribby says:

    oye maharani, you’re the sweetest and no I’m not saying this because you’re my sistah…I’m saying this because I genuinely feel it… remember how we met for the first time and we chatted non stop for those 3 hours… gosh I was there in your house for 3 hours on my first visit *rolls eyes RM way πŸ˜‰ *

    any way and oye, gyaan, I give gyaan is it? hmmmpf…. !!!! by the way I said that I challenge my own limits and see new things on the other side πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Sometimes I fail and sometimes I pass…there are times when I don’t wish to be what I’m and sit in a corner away form the whole wide world… so it’s just our nature me thinks what makes us us…

    repeating : you’re awesome!

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