Dating small talk topics
The German philosopher Heidegger (patron saint of That Guy) devotes a long section in his 1927 masterwork to dismissing inauthentic “idle talk,” which he connects to the “dictatorship of the ‘they’ ”: “We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as they take pleasure; we read, see, and judge about literature and art as they see and judge ...we find ‘shocking’ what they find shocking.” Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, who formulated the first academic theory of small talk, belittled what he termed “phatic communion”—conversation whose purpose is social, not informational—as “purposeless expressions of preference or aversions, accounts of irrelevant happenings, comments on what is perfectly obvious.” The latest anxieties over small talk are even smaller in scope. A small psychology study a few years ago found that people who spent more time in “substantive” conversations were happier than those who wasted their time on lighter fare.I’ll share my deepests and darkests when I’m good and ready. But not only does Boomer’s approach sound exhausting—like something dreamed up by That Guy in your freshman philosophy class—it’s just plain wrong. It’s a social lubricant as essential as wine and laughter that allows strangers to make crucial first connections across demographic lines. People are rebelling against it today in a misguided dismissal of social graces that seem old-fashioned, boring, or wasteful. Dismissiveness toward light conversation is nothing new.The New Testament book of 2 Timothy urges readers to avoid “irreverent babble” because it leads to ungodliness; various translations condemn “foolish talk,” “vain babblings,” “pointless discussions,” and “empty speech.” In “Idle talk” in these contexts is closely connected with gossip, but the term “idleness” suggests it’s a conversation’s very triviality that turns it toxic.Questions that reveal who we are and where we want to go? There’s something awfully presumptuous about pressing people to share their “weightiest beliefs and most potent fears” while you’re still on the appetizer course.Call me old-fashioned, but I wouldn’t want to talk about my most intense past love experience on a first date.
“I wanted no part of this game,” Boomer declares: I decided to approach my re-entry to dating with a no-small-talk policy.
I mean strings of conversation that you have had success with before, You don’t have invent the wheel every time you open your mouth, it’s okay to reuse a conversation topics that you have used before, especially if it has lead to interesting conversation before, chances are it’s likely to do it again.
Have a small note book and write down at couple of keywords every time you have an interesting conversation.
As one recent paper’s subtitle has it, “Minimal social interactions lead to belonging and positive affects.” Unfortunately, as Boomer’s “Modern Love” essay illustrates, we are living in a low moment for the art of minimal social interactions.
“The criteria by which one chooses what to say shift from ‘what’s true; what’s most interesting’ to ‘what lubricates the exchange; what sets people at ease,’ ” a writer lamented last year.