This is Part 1 of a 5 part online course. Learn more about the structure, length, and overview of this course.
Five Weeks to Make a New Friend: Part 1
The first step in developing a new friendship is often just talking to someone you don't know. That's where small talk comes in. If you think small talk isn't valuable, think again. It's a way for you to find common ground with another person so you can talk about more important subjects as you get to know each other.
Some of us are notoriously bad at small talk. Introverts, for example, enjoy talking about “big” topics and therefore try and skip over small talk because they feel that it is boring and meaningless. Extroverts sometimes get stuck in small talk too long, failing to make the leap from general topics to more meaningful conversation. Most of us fall somewhere in-between these two issues.
One misconception about small talk is that it is a waste of energy and something that is used merely to fill time at parties. But if you use it correctly, small talk can help you get to know someone new and establish a connection. Like anything, practice makes perfect, so the more opportunities you have to do it, the better you will be at it when you're out with people.
Practice Small Talk
One way to practice small talk is to do it when you don’t have to. For example, when you’re standing in line at a fast food joint, when you’re sipping your latte at the coffee shop, or even when you’re running into the store to pick up a carton of milk. Rather than doing an errand quickly without speaking with someone (or going through the drive through), make small talk with someone around you. This will give you confidence and also allow you to become comfortable with the process.
This week be sure to:
- Go inside places rather than use the drive through in order to find people to chat with.
- When you rush into a store to pick up one quick thing (on your way home, for example), pause long enough to briefly make small talk with someone else.
- Rather than go home immediately after work, pop into the bookstore or coffee shop and make small talk with at least one person.
Here are some tips that can help you this week:
Continue to Part 2>>