Many of my friends hate small talk. I am not taking the word hate lightly either, they totally despise it. I have come to realize that I use it as a tool in business settings, but with my friends I prefer actual conversations.
I have recently started exchanging e-mails with an old school friend. Not just Chicago friend, but back when I lived in Colombia friend. He is a civil engineer and knows how to use technology, but he made me take a step back when instead of replying to an instant message from me he wrote another well put together e-mail. His first sentence saying that he does not like monosyllable responses… it really got my brain going.
In Colombia humor is used as the instrument of small talk. Instead of an empty how is the weather? are the Bears gonna suck again? Is it 100 years for the Cubs? How long will the Royals winning last? you get more colorful conversations but alas just as empty of true substance. I think chatting and texting is taking that to a whole new level.
A couple of my cousins have access to the internet and we “talk” in a semi regular basis. When I started to think about it, we have not had a conversation in years really, but we exchange pleasantries and from “how is the family” to “how is work” we move onto, “good.” Don’t get me wrong, thanks to chat I have full conversations with some friends that are a good distance away from me, but it is easy to go into a routine of canned phrases and monosyllables very easily.
I am not sure if I can blame small talk, but I can surely blame technology for making it so easy to “communicate” while not saying much. Much like what twitter does to some blogs. I like substance, conversation, stories, anecdotes… I think many chat programs already have bots with pre-programmed responses. I want to have more meaningful conversations. What do you guys think?