Talking about nothing
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato
To talk only for the sake of communication itself seems pretty unnecessary for some people. Well, it probably is. But there is more to it than most may realise. Small talk is like grooming. Primates form bonds of trust and build cooperation groups. They groom each other to get food, sex or other favours.
Maybe we don’t go that far just with small talk but it’s in a way the best option to start a conversation to get to know each other. The special thing about this form of phatic expressions is that it serves to find a way to communicate. It’s about evaluating the spoken language, style and level. Some do this even only to overcome a waiting time or an uncomfortable silence. Imagine two computers just connecting to say ‘hi, how you’re doin’?’ – sounds a bit pathetic, doesn’t it?
In general, there are the following categories of conversations based upon their involved topics: ideas, concrete objects and facts, people, the self. Their different purposes are: extend understanding and awareness, consolidate a general view, boosting of self esteem, attracting attention. Anyway, to start talking about something with somebody, you might want to consider a topic that’s neutral, without heavy personal information and hard questions. Make the talking part easy by staying simple!
Entry filed under: conversation, english, how-to, psychology, smalltalk. Tags: communication, computer, conversation, food, grooming, idea, information, language, neutral, pathetic, phatic, Plato, rhetorics, self, sex, smalltalk, time.