Saturday, March 4, 2017

Small Talk is not that small.

Karan Mahajan is bemused with American small talk ritual. In the New Yoker he writes that it took him a decade to master it.

Being a south Asian, I know where he i s coming from. What small talks he is talking about is mostly at shop counter's in the USA.

When your barista smiles and greets you, it has an effect. No one like grumpy sales person. It's a duty of a waiter to make you feel welcome. They gotta do business.

Be happy that there are people who are still smiling and saying hello, even in the name of customer service.

In our culture, people try to talk like they know you for ages. Sometimes it becomes compulsory to talk. And by mistake if you are not in the mood of deep talk they assume you rude.

 Karan says that" In the East, I’ve heard it said, there’s intimacy without friendship. In the West, there's friendship without intimacy."

To me, intimacy without friendship is way shallower than the small talk. It is not that something to be proud of. Friendship without intimacy means acquaintance.

Everyone is not your friend.

I personally don't believe in intimacy with strangers. There is no need either. You should have some friend with whom you can share your heart out. That's the way it should be. Friendship asks for hard work, patience, kindness and generosity. It starts with small talk and grow with time.

So smile often and say hello. You never know with whom you hit off.

Small talk is not that small. It has a rapport of being meaningless, shallow fake or instrumental conversation.

Lots of people find small talk useless. They believe its is formality and more customer oriented. However, it is just assumption.

No social interaction is useless.

The anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski coined the term phatic communion in his essay "The Problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages", which appeared in  cira 1920.
  Phatic communication is popularly known as small talk: the non referential use of language to share feelings or establish a mood of sociability rather than to communicate information or ideas.
In the current study, under title "  Is Efficiency Overrated?" it is stated that people who had a social interaction with a barista (i.e., smiled, made eye contact, and had a brief conversation) experienced more positive affect than people who were as efficient as possible.

Further, it is also found that initial evidence that these effects were mediated by feelings of belonging. These results suggest that, although people are often reluctant to have a genuine social interaction with a stranger, they are happier when they treat a stranger like a weak tie.

See ya !

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