Small Talk

I’m not good at small talk.  Actually, that’s not accurate.  I cannot make small talk.  I’ve tried but I just can’t figure it out.  This is an essential skill it seems in order to have normal social interactions with other humans and I can’t do it.  I get lost in the insignificance of it.  My mind inevitably drifts and I wonder why this woman is telling me about her poodle.  Did I ask her about him?  I don’t even like dogs.  Why is he telling me about his fantasy baseball draft?  Did I feign interest in this topic at some point in time?  Do I look like a baseball fan?   I try to participate in the small talk but I never know when to add something and I don’t usually have anything relevant to add.   “Uhhh, my neighbor has a cat.”   I watch all sorts of people have these simple, meaningless interactions and they do it well.   “Hey Jim, I went to Applebee’s last night.”  “Really?  Which one?”    Who cares?   They all have the same food.  Although I think I am supposed to care.  It seems most people do.  I’ve tried to just listen and look interested but I can’t even fake that.  My expression starts off interested and even concerned but eventually and unintentionally turns to a blank dull stare.  I can’t even help it but I will keep trying and perhaps one day I will master the art of inane chatter.  I have plenty of opportunity why, in just a few moments I will go reheat my coffee in the work kitchen where no doubt someone will be and will comment about the weather or the choices in the vending machine.  Either way, it will all sound the same to me…noise, noise, noise.

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