Personality Cafe banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,837 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First, I am quite new to this forum so forgive me if I have made some mistake when making this post.

There is a general consensus that INFJs don't like small talk. And I think it is fair to say that most of us don't find small talk the most enjoyable social interaction.

Most of my (relatively short) life I have not really had a problem with small talk.
I understand that when I first see someone I haven't met before or haven't seen in a while our conversations will start as small talk, but usually that conversation would turn into something more interesting.

However, in the past couple of years since I moved out of home and started working I have started to find small talk really draining. I work at an office and there are a lot of people on our floor who share the kitchen. I have a group whom I don't directly work with but who I often eat lunch with, and we have interesting talks. And the people I work directly with I know quite well.

But that still leaves about 50 people who use the same kitchen as me.
And so often I will have a conversation with them something along the lines of this

Them: How was your weekend?
Me: Alright.
Them: Only alright?

No, it was not just 'alright' but I am just trying to make myself a cup of tea, I barely know you, I don't want to tell you the up and downs of my weekends. Why can't whatever answer I give satisfy you? Do you want me to tell you "Oh, had a great time with my friends at this cafe on Saturday, but I had one of my depressive bouts on Sunday afternoon and spent it crying over the phone to my friend." No? I thought not. I don't know what you expect me to say. Just leave me alone with my tea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,788 Posts
Sometimes it's fine if I know I'm going to get somewhere with small talk. I don't mind it if the conversation is going to go deeper and deeper in a comfortable manner. If it's all going to be small talk however; I'd rather allow it only a small amount of time.

I don't mind talking to strangers as long as they don't lay their questions on personal information, it would be fine. I however generally avoid people who emit an energy field that I find uncomfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I think it all depends who the small talk is with. I don't generally enjoy the amount I have to pretend to be excited about a stranger's small talk, and I can tell their not genuinely excited about mine. However, if I'm small-talking with my close friend about things I know we're both interested in I find it pretty exciting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lemondropG

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Small talk can be something you learn to do by making a conscious effort to engage in it. Small talk is often the social norm in a lot of settings, like around the coffee pot at work. Small talk can also be an opening to getting to know someone; sometimes small talk can be an indication of someone's interest in you, but they don't know how to approach you and other times it's just small talk :rolleyes:

Small talk is just one of those things you become better at with time and practice. Yes, it can be draining sometimes if there's too much of it but then you can always retreat to your cubicle/office space/whatever and get a few moments to yourself (assuming your job isn't in a call center)...

Peace, love, and contentment,
Isabelle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,156 Posts
I've been making more small talk lately, as I've been forced into social situations where I don't really know anyone. I've done surprisingly well at actually talking, but I go into this strange auto-pilot mode during small talk where I feel like I am using only 1% of my brain and I don't even pay attention to what I am saying because it's all really unimportant stuff. I feel really weird if I do that for any extended amount of time. I start feeling like a robot or something. Like every hour I spend talking about menial stuff, a part of my soul dies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,837 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I actually enjoy small talk, because when I'm engaging in it, I'm sincere about it.

Unfortunately most people don't feel the same way.
I think in the past I felt more like this.

As I tried to state, for me it depends so much on who the small talk is with.

And yes I do try to engage in it because I know that it is considered a social norm, but I just get frustrated with people who I barely know who push me for more explanations (especially when it is first thing in the morning and I haven't had any caffeine yet).

I think my frustration actually started before I started working. I had some health problems and had to drop out of the bible college I was attending, so of course everyone at my church knew what had happened. And for the next 6-9 months I continuously had people asking me about my health. I didn't mind opening up to some people, but I found the constant pressure for my health statues too much (I know they were just concerned me), especially during the time I felt like I wasn't getting any better and the doctors were not taking my problems seriously.

So maybe my frustration at small talk stems from that?

I don't know, I don't mind it, I just wish people would accept the amount of information I give them without asking pushy questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
I had some health problems and had to drop out of the bible college I was attending, so of course everyone at my church knew what had happened. And for the next 6-9 months I continuously had people asking me about my health. I didn't mind opening up to some people, but I found the constant pressure for my health statues too much (I know they were just concerned me), especially during the time I felt like I wasn't getting any better and the doctors were not taking my problems seriously.
Health issues can be a sticky situation and the constant asking how you're doing does get tiring too. I've been struggling with health issues of late myself and get asked about 20 times a day how I'm doing. I'm to the point I dread that question, as nothing changes from one day to the next; I'm in pain today, I was in pain yesterday, and there's a damn good chance that I'll be in pain tomorrow too. My boyfriend is constantly asking how are you doing? I dread it, try to ignore it (which he doesn't let me get away with), and often answer with that universal word which means the exact opposite; fine.

It sounds like it isn't so much the small talk but rather that the small talk is always around one topic, your health. I wish I had some words of wisdom here for you, but I don't. :sad: Lately I find I've been putting myself in a position to avoid small talk; I simply avoid people. No, it's not the best solution to the problem, but it sure does cut down on the small talk :rolleyes:

Peace, love, and contentment,
Isabelle
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,873 Posts
Years ago my older son -always a loner, somewhat socially naive, asked me, "Dad, do people say things and ask questions without meaning anything, just to be talking?" Yes, I said. "WHY??" he asked, and I had no answer.
My younger son never had that problem. He would listen to chitchat and reply, "Whatever." and go about his own affairs. Now, he could talk with his construction co-workers, fishing and hunting buddies - all in jargon that outsiders (me, for one) could not understand.

At a Urology clinic I was asked, what are you here for? by someone in the waiting room. I muttered some babble, and picked up a magazine and started reading. But I really wish I had said I was there for a transplant and the donor had run away, and they were out looking for him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
I honestly can't stand small talk. When people ask me "How's it going?" I usually just reply ,"Fine," even if I've just had a shitty day, sometimes because they're on their way somewhere and I don't feel like going into it, or sometimes because I just know that they really don't care. It's just like, "If you don't care, why are you asking?"

Sometimes I'll go along with it, though, because the person has been sitting at a desk all day and I realize that they're probably bored out of their mind and just need something to pass the day along. I know that when I'm working, I always appreciate a little comic relief.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,347 Posts
I usually get...
"So, what do you do?" - I want to stereotype you based on your profession
"How was your weekend?" - I really just want you to ask about mine.

...or just generally some sort of comment that allows them to segway into how work / school suck and how they don't have enough time to do _________.

Fortunately, my spider senses start to tingle now when a small talker is nearby and I know how to pounce on them first. In fact, I'll even make a few polite, but subtle jabs about how cliche it is to talk about weather/work/school etc during conversations. I've always felt this discourages them from mentioning it during a moment of conversational weakness :D. For the most part though, I steer things towards philosophical talk because I feel like understanding their train of thought really says a lot about them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
450 Posts
I actually enjoy small talk, because when I'm engaging in it, I'm sincere about it.

Unfortunately most people don't feel the same way.
I enjoy small talk as well and I too feel sincere about it. I am not sure how you can have Fe and not enjoy it even somewhat but then I was not always so good at it either. You learn so much about people and their values from small talk and I see it sometimes as almost the foundation on which to build deeper discussion. I don't even bother to engage most people in deeper topics at first/too soon because it can be overwhelming and force many people to just shut up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,837 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Health issues can be a sticky situation and the constant asking how you're doing does get tiring too. I've been struggling with health issues of late myself and get asked about 20 times a day how I'm doing. I'm to the point I dread that question, as nothing changes from one day to the next; I'm in pain today, I was in pain yesterday, and there's a damn good chance that I'll be in pain tomorrow too. My boyfriend is constantly asking how are you doing? I dread it, try to ignore it (which he doesn't let me get away with), and often answer with that universal word which means the exact opposite; fine.

It sounds like it isn't so much the small talk but rather that the small talk is always around one topic, your health. I wish I had some words of wisdom here for you, but I don't. :sad: Lately I find I've been putting myself in a position to avoid small talk; I simply avoid people. No, it's not the best solution to the problem, but it sure does cut down on the small talk :rolleyes:

Peace, love, and contentment,
Isabelle
Aw *hugs*

I recovered a year ago (well not from the mild depression, but I don't tell many people that), so it's no longer that which annoys me.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,646 Posts
I've become more comfortable with small-talk by considering the meta communication. I used to think I was bad at small-talk and that I hated it. Up to a certain level, I am bad at it (Ni). But now I simply see it as a way in which people like to connect. I try and 'read' them when I do this.

It's a whole new approach. People think they're making small-talk, but in reality, they get an in-depth analyses by me :tongue:

Sometimes though, I don't feel like talking to people at all. On those occasions I will smile at them politely and say nothing. One time in the doctor's waiting room, I was reading an interesting article in a magazine, and there was another lady who insisted on talking to me. I was kind of fun letting her know in the most polite but obvious way possible that I was not in for chatting.

I guess I just like to play a little, hehe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
Them: How was your weekend?
Me: Alright.
Them: Only alright?

No, it was not just 'alright' but I am just trying to make myself a cup of tea, I barely know you, I don't want to tell you the up and downs of my weekends. Why can't whatever answer I give satisfy you? Do you want me to tell you "Oh, had a great time with my friends at this cafe on Saturday, but I had one of my depressive bouts on Sunday afternoon and spent it crying over the phone to my friend." No? I thought not. I don't know what you expect me to say. Just leave me alone with my tea.
Why can't whatever answer I give satisfy you?

Because I'm always wanting more. Perhaps especially if I don't know them. There are many people in this world I may only meet once. Now while I don't take every opportunity to interact, I am an introvert after all, I do take opportunities in an attempt to positively touch people if ever so slightly. Be it getting them to wear a smile for 30 seconds, share their thoughts/opinions/feelings/experiences, or give them a story to tell about a weird guy in line they had an awkward interaction with.

Do you want me to tell you "Oh, had a great time with my friends at this cafe on Saturday, but I had one of my depressive bouts on Sunday afternoon and spent it crying over the phone to my friend."

Personally, yes, if I don't urgently have to be somewhere at that time. I don't need to know your name or have ever met you before. Everything from meeting someone in the halls of work I've never interacted with before, and having a ten minute standing conversation. To commenting on an item someone is about to purchase and talking in line. Sometimes I'll talk to people at a table near me in a restaurant or sitting near me in a movie theater.

Which cafe? How was it? (In my mind: That's the third person I've met that said they went to this cafe, and also the third positive review. Making a mental note to try out this cafe. If I have a positive review it may be my pick the next time the group goes out. If they have a positive review they'll pass it on. ) So you sharing this small talk may be the difference between this cafe having enough customers to stay in business or close down. One tiny thing could be the difference between everything and nothing.

You had a depressive bout. Do you still need to talk? Let me know if you ever need an ear. If no one else will listen, I'll listen. Countless people have talked to me when there were down. I've talked to people while they were attempting suicide. You are not alone. There is a way out. You don't have to be able to see it. I'll see it for you. Just listen to me. Talk to me. Trust me.

Just leave me alone with my tea.

Ok. If and when you do need anything though, just let me know.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top