Tip Tuesday – Small Talk

Being as I’m surrounded by short people all day, you’d think I’d be really good at “small talk” by now. Truth be told, what I’m actually good at is talking to small people. The other day, I actually asked one of my adult friends if she had to go potty.

Hoping not to make the same type of faux pas at BlogHer this weekend or actually ever again in adult company, I’d love advice on making small talk with strangers or new friends. How do you keep the conversation going? What are some great one-liners to pull out when you have nothing supercalifragilisticexpialidociously wonderful to say?

Here are a few tips for spicing up the usual dinner party conversation:

Instead of — “So, do you have any kids?”
Try catching them off-guard — “Dead chickens’ ghosts are haunting my new house. Do you have any thoughts on how I could wrangle them into the crawl space?”

Instead of — “You look really great tonight!”
Try personalizing the compliment — “You look so much better in person. South Beach Diet? Am I right or am I right or am I right? Right. Right. Right. Bing!”

Instead of — “You’re from Michigan? Do you know Amanda?”
Try drawing it out a little. The “do you know” game is always such a big hit. — “You’re from Michigan? I love Michigan! Start listing every person you know from there and I’ll tell you if they were my cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s college roommate or not. [wait for name] Nope. [wait for name] Nope. [wait for name] Nope”… hours and hours of fun

Instead of — “I’m Kathryn. Nice to meet you.”
Try to work on building an audience as well as a new friendship — “I’m Kathryn, the Daring Young Mom of dub dub dub dot daring young mom dot com, a hilarious little blog about this and that, my kids, yadda yadda page views per day. Nice to meet you.”

Instead of — “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. I’m a big fan of your work.”
Try to let them know just how much you enjoy their work — “I’m so glad I finally get to meet you. It feels like I’ve been living on your green leather sofa for months and months, right next to you, typing on your laptop, the iBook you just bought. That was such a good choice. I told you that, remember? Commenter #167. Good comment, right? I got like three hits off that comment. I looked up your address online but I’ve been too shy to send you anything? Can I send you anything? Or would that be weird?”

Okay now, what have you guys got for me?

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24 Responses to Tip Tuesday – Small Talk

  1. jennster says:

    oh good god. LOL.. um, how about hi- and then the other person will have so many questions to ask you, she’ll never shut up- so you’ll be sitting there answering questions and all you’ve have to say to have an actual convo is “what about you?” and then she’ll have to respond back to the question she just asked you. oh good lord. lol shoot me at blogher k? thanks.
    ps- don’t really shoot me, i hate guns

  2. Caryn says:

    Oh, these are great, Kathryn. You’re definitely on the right track. You’ll have no problem fitting in with lines like the ones above.

  3. Pearlmarie says:

    Love your suggestions! But in all seriousness, I think you should all follow Miranda in “The Devil Wears Prada” advice. By that I mean: Quickly study up on everyones blogs, review their recent posts, and scan their pictures. That way you will not only recognize them, but you will also be able to comment on their thoughts in person. That level of thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed, and before you know it YOU will be there favorite person to have small talk with. Small talk is all about the other person, and making them feel important. As long as you focus on that, there will never be any awkward moments…at least we hope 🙂

    Have fun!

  4. theresa says:

    I love PearlMarie’s comment except maybe you should just start talking then say in a sing song voice, “That’s all” and walk away. I’ve been doing that with my staff at work…they just don’t know what to do after that. Have a blast there.

  5. Yeah, stick with what you have here, and I’m sure you won’t freak anyone out AT ALL….

    Can’t wait to hear a report.

  6. Grammy says:

    Everyone loves to talk about what’s important to them (Hey, that’s why we all blog, right? And why we get so upset if no one leaves comments?) So as long as you ask questions and are interested in the answers, everyone will think you are BRILLIANT!

    BTW, you made me laugh today. Thanks.

  7. LOL! Those are terrific ideas, not at all loopy-sounding :p
    I’m not very good at the small talk either, I’m pretty good if I don’t have too be the one that starts it!
    Good luck and have a blast!

  8. You could run squealing like a cheerleader at the ones you recognize and hold their hands and jump up and down and hug them real tight and then tell them you are soo in love with them! That should be a big hit!
    I like your “am I right? right. right.” comment! Ha! Groundhog day! I do that one to my husband but he never gets it!

  9. YaMama says:

    I tend to make fun of other people to get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, the ‘other people’ are usually somehow related to the person I’m trying to impress.
    Worse, is trying to backtrack out of it: “Oh, no, I actually really like goiters. Who doesn’t like a goiter?”
    Is it sad that I’m still quoting Seinfeld? Now THAT’s a way to start a conversation.

  10. Susan says:

    The thing is this: if I were going to BlogHer this weekend, I feel certain that I would alternate between saying surprisingly idiotic things like OH I TOTALLY LOVE YOUR SHOES! NO NOT THOSE, THE ONES YOU POSTED THE PICTURES OF LAST WEEK! to complete strangers, and hiding behind you.

    I would also spend the weekend repeatedly hugging you until you got tired of it and locked me in a closet somewhere.

    Aren’t you glad I’m not coming?

  11. Susan M says:

    Just ask lots of questions and pretend like you hear their answers.

  12. Jeana says:

    “Hey, aren’t you Daring Young Mom? So, what were the results of that book vote?”

  13. surcie says:

    I got nothin’! I’m pretty sure that’s is why I could never go to BlogHer. I’m definitely an introvert who prefers writing for strangers over actually TALKING to them.

    YOU are a blogstar, K. They’ll be lucky to meet you.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’d just like one tiny hit off of whatever it is you’re smoking when you write stuff like this. You slay me!

    p.s. the smoking part was a joke…everyone knows you (and i) don’t smoke…



  15. grace says:

    That was me up there…and I promise i’m not smoking ANYTHING…

    stupid blogger comment thingy


  16. Jodi Jean says:

    although from your suggestions it looks like you have a handle on things. you could always just stare at them uncomfortably until they break the ice and start up the conversation, and ansering with a one word answer is always a hit.

  17. Journey Mama says:

    Your ideas are probably plenty to keep you occupied (the one about people in Michigan could possibly last the entire time you’re there) but since you asked… whenever I’m in a small talk situation I like to begin with complaining about the food. Like, REALLY complaining. Tell people you wish you were dead, the food’s so bad. Then spit it out and hide it in your napkin.

  18. Mama T. says:

    My problem with small talk is that I’m a 34 year old tomboy. So unless it’s small talk about my daughter, then I resort to the Sportscenter part of my brain. With men, it’s very useful. With most other women, not so much.

    I’ll keep your idea in mind. And I AM from Michigan, but I don’t know Amanda.

  19. Wow. You’ll be a hit at BlogHer for sure!

  20. So, just curious…what’s the book that was picked for the book club??? I’m not being very patient I know 🙂

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Hilarious!! Very witty. I know it’ll go over great.

  22. Abby says:

    You could always talk about how fetchin’ HOT it has been in San Jose and how glad you are that you weren’t here a few days earlier.

    Come on, you’ll be great. People already love you and you have never even met most of them.

  23. Pam in Utah says:

    If there was ever any worry about whether you could keep up your end of a conversation, our minds are all definitely eased about that now that we’ve heard your suggestions! SOL (snorkle out loud). Have fun. Sure you’ll have a good time and great conversation. We love you. Loved Gracie’s comment, btw.

  24. Lei says:

    What do I have for you? A couple of really great belly laughs. Funny stuff, Kathryn. 🙂

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