Like the 90s TV show, Seinfeld (the show about ‘nothing’), small-talk is conversation about nothing.
You either like it or you don’t.
If you do, then your way in the world will usually encounter less resistance – because most other people are attached to it.
This means forming and building relationships happens more organically – a consequence of just getting to know someone:
- A business idea gets traction with the right connection.
- Your workplace feels warmer & friendlier (if you’re lucky).
- You find an inexpensive room or apartment to live in.
- Someone helps you move house.
- Your dog has someone to take care of him/her while you’re on holiday.
The list goes on…
The downside of small-talk is the attachment to words.
Descriptions of things, rather than the things themselves.
Commentary on what’s happening, while it’s happening.
An imperceptible displacement from the present moment.
It’s a shift in focus away from innovative ideas to getting stuck on people.
Of course, relationships are important.
In fact, this 75-year study into happiness reveals that the common factor of a long & happy life is healthy and close personal relationships.
However, this is different to being stuck to small-talk about other people – gossip – which is exclusively in place of exploring creative ideas that are waiting to find you, if given enough time & space.
The great Zig Ziglar had a saying which I will adapt for this small-talk discussion:
If you speak in wandering generalities, you become one;
if you speak in meaningful specifics, you become one.