small talk tripper upper

Posted: July 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Life reminded me today that I’m pretty darn bad at small talk.  I ended up at a table with 2 new coworkers, both of whom seem like fun ladies.  I tend to be really bad at those kind of beginnings..  I want to be warm, welcoming, FUNNY even…but mostly I tend to be awkwardly quiet.  I me,an I’ve learned that asking questions is a better idea than trying to think of things to say.  I’m not completely without insight.  But that same annoying, perverse, stubborn part of me that likes to steal people’s names from my memory when I am talking to them also is pretty successful in jamming up my questions.  Things like this help me understand why I spent so much of grade school hiding in my library books – books do all the talking!

I wonder what it must be like, to always have something to say.  To not trip on one’s tongue, not forget names, not freeze up on details that one has known fr years.  I wonder what it’s like to be full of jokes and stories and quotes and interesting facts, right there ON THE SPOT and IN PERSON, and not hours later, when it is way past too late. 

One of my high school classmates spoke recently at a women’s event.  She was a GREAT speaker.  Informative, funny, provocative, inspiring.  It was surprising, as she expressed herself so eloquently up in front of 200ish ladies, about this:  she was pretty comfortable at the mic, but TERRIFIED at the prospect of people coming up and talking to her afterward, one on one.  Actually, I don’t know why that surprised me – I totally understand it.  Give me a mic any day.  I love that stuff.  Just don’t ask me to keep the conversation going around a table for four. 

Isn’t it funny, how differently we are each made?  As for me, I am very grateful today that the 4th lady at that table, a long-time coworker, had things to say and kept the conversation rolling.  I am very, very grateful for those of you out there who do the small talk thing so well.  Thank you, on behalf of those of us who prefer to sit quietly, watching and listening, and generally not saying much at all.  You rock!


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