Don’t Worry: The Other Person Hates Themselves During Awkward Small Talk, Too
Hate talking to those you barely know about the weather? Traffic? Any other benign piece of forced conversation that you forget the moment it leaves your mouth, and wish it never had in the first place? Don’t worry, you’re not alone — a new study has revealed that the disdain for small talk is universal.
Although there is evidence that deep discussions are beneficial for mental health, when researchers surveyed 768 study participants about their feelings surrounding more surface-level conversations the opposite was true. Interestingly, though, it was because the participants mostly blamed themselves for casual interactions that went poorly, and gave themselves little to no credit when they went well.
“Conversation is one of the most common ways of establishing social connection and satisfying the need to belong,” the study’s authors noted. “But despite spending considerable time talking to others, many people report that engaging in informal conversation with anyone other than close friends and family makes them anxious.“
Ultimately, the findings suggest that there is very little psychological upside to small talk because “people are relatively pessimistic about their skills in conversation when compared to other common activities.”
And so, if small talk is all that’s on the conversational table, it’s much better to keep quiet and save your breath for medium talk instead.