LOVE Small Talk and avoid feeling lonely on special days (like Valentine’s Day)… and every other day!
Small talk is an easy way for you to connect with others.
Small talk is the conversation we have with those we have just met, or see seldom. Done well, your small talk can lighten anyone’s day! So use small talk on any occasion where you can connect with someone around you.
And in the right setting your small talk can set the tone for a deeper conversation.
With practice you can LOVE small talk… and you can then feel good about enriching lives… and preventing loneliness for you and your conversation partner.
The humble beginnings of many friendships and romantic relationships start with small talk.
And the same goes for many other connections you make through your life work, and in your professional life… your conversations start small, impressions are made, and then we build our connections from there.
So let’s get connected with LOVE … every day with these tips, enabling quality conversation:
LEAP at opportunities
Be ready to chat to anyone at any time – in the lift, at the airport, in the supermarket, in your local dairy… in any queue. Have courage… in nearly all situations it really doesn’t matter if you are the only one speaking.
The trick here is don’t hesitate... talk immediately eye contact is made, or when you are standing right next to each other.
Also be approachable when someone else has plucked up the courage to talk to you.
OPEN the discussion
Start with anything that can connect the two of you together. Often that’s simply your current shared experience… so your surroundings give you the clues of what you can discuss. Simple observations can carry a conversation a long way.
Using an example as you stand waiting to get off the aeroplane: “Wow, that was a very bumpy plane ride.”
The trick here is not to leave that hanging, waiting to see if the person talks back. Follow swiftly with a statement that will …
Adding value in this context is sharing something meaningful about yourself which enables your conversation partner to have the first step in learning something about you; or make a meaningful compliment, which shows your positive side.
An example which combines both, is “I am usually a very nervous passenger, and so I was thrilled how well the pilot landed the plane.”
Again, if your chosen conversation partner does not leap in with a comment about themselves, you go straight into a question because that will…
Encourage your conversation partner to participate in the conversation. The ideal way is asking a broad, open question which is directed about them. By inviting them to open up, you are taking your first step in learning about them, and so you are starting to share.
Like, “What brings you to Christchurch at this time of year?”
The key her is you do not make assumptions, and be prepared for any answer… because you cannot guess whether they are there for pleasure, business or something stressful like moving a frail mother into care or a funeral. Also avoid a question that relies only on a yes or no answer as your conversation will be stilted… and much harder work.
And keep your L.O.V.E. alive by interchanging between adding Value and asking Encouraging questions…so you are continuing to balance a shared conversation.
Bear in mind that small talk is often in public settings where you can easily be overheard… so keep the tone right, and be okay if anyone else also joins the conversation.
Ideally we could think of love more broadly… not only being for connecting with romantic partners.
By loving small talk we can form a connection with anyone we would like to foster or strengthen a relationship with.
So get into the right head space and physical space… then
… LEAP right into making your day …and every day thereafter… more meaningful, with quality connections.
Watch the video “How to avoid being lonely on Valentine’s Day” by Rachel Parkin, Reporter for Seven Sharp. The segment aired on 13 February 2020 episode of Seven Sharp. The content features Cathy Comber, for Loneliness NZ, giving some of the Loneliness NZ content in this post, as a Guide to Small Talk.