Small Talk Quotes

Quotes tagged as "small-talk" (showing 1-30 of 32)
Becky Albertalli
“It's funny, because you always think the hard part is meeting someone the first time. It's not. It's the second time, because you've already used up all the obvious topics of conversation. And even if you haven't, it's strange and heavy-handed to introduce random conversational topics at this stage in the game. Hi, Reid. Let's converse about topics. HOW MANY SIBLINGS DO YOU HAVE? WHAT BOOKS DO YOU LIKE?”
Becky Albertalli, The Upside of Unrequited

أنيس منصور
“الأحاديث التافهة :هى كل ما يدور بين إثنين من المحبين”
أنيس منصور, قالوا

Becky Albertalli
“I never really know the protocol for this kind of situation. It's like when you're in line at a store, and a grandma starts telling you all about her grandchildren or her arthritis, and you smile and nod along. But then it's your turn to check out, so you're just like okay, well, good-bye forever.”
Becky Albertalli, The Upside of Unrequited

César Aira
“At this point there's something I should explain about myself, which is that I don't talk much, probably too little, and I think this has been detrimental to my social life. It's not that I have trouble expressing myself, or no more than people generally have when they're trying to put something complex into words. I'd even say I have less trouble than most because my long involvement with literature has given me a better-than-average capacity for handling language. But I have no gift for small talk, and there's no point trying to learn or pretend; it wouldn't be convincing. My conversational style is spasmodic (someone once described it as "hollowing"). Every sentence opens up gaps, which require new beginnings. I can't maintain any continuity. In short, I speak when I have something to say. My problem, I suppose - and this may be an effect of involvement with literature - is that I attribute too much importance to the subject. For me, it's never simply a question of "talking" but always a question of "what to talk about". And the effort of weighing up potential subjects kills the spontaneity of dialogue. In other words, when everything you say has to be "worth the effort", it's too much effort to go on talking. I envy people who can launch into a conversation with gusto and energy, and keep it going. I envy them that human contact, so full of promise, a living reality from which, in my mute isolation, I feel excluded. "But what do they talk about?" I wonder, which is obviously the wrong question to ask. The crabbed awkwardness of my social interactions is a result of this failing on my part. Looking back, I can see that it was responsible for most of my missed opportunities and almost all the woes of solitude. The older I get, the more convinced I am that this is a mutilation, for which my professional success cannot compensate, much less my "rich inner life." And I've never been able to resolve the conundrum that conversationalists pose for me: how do they keep coming up with things to talk about? I don't even wonder about it anymore, perhaps because I know there's no answer.”
César Aira

Jenn Granneman
“Introverts tend to avoid small talk. We'd rather talk about something meaningful than fill the air with chatter just to hear ourselves make noise.”
Jenn Granneman, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World

Rebecca McNutt
“Small talk… Bernie resented it more than life itself. The weather, sports scores, frivolous gossip… nothing real, nothing serious, nothing meaningful about it. People were experts at wasting their brief, precious years on earth with small talk.”
Rebecca McNutt, Bittersweet Symphony

Julie Buxbaum
“How's things, buddy?" Trey asks after we run through a few finger-warming exercises. I realize this is what people call small talk. I also realize the world would be a better place without it.”
Julie Buxbaum, What to Say Next

Karan Mahajan
“During these years in the small-talk wilderness, I also wondered why Americans valued friendliness with commerce so much. Was handing over cash the sacred rite of American capitalism—and of American life? On a day that I don’t spend money in America, I feel oddly depressed. It’s my main form of social interaction—as it is for millions of Americans who live alone or away from their families.”
Karan Mahajan

Shirley Jackson
“I sort of thought that maybe people had to talk that way, sort of saying the same things over and over because that way they can get along together without thinking." She stopped and thought. Why I was so worried,” she said, “was because if people didn't say those damn things over and over, then they wouldn't talk to each other at all.”
Shirley Jackson, Just an Ordinary Day: The Uncollected Stories

Catherine Lacey
“I barely managed to do the small talk—the what-do-you-do, the where-are-you-from, the what-neighborhood, the what-college, the despair of trying to explain oneself.”
Catherine Lacey, The Answers

Jonathan Lethem
“He was permanently impressed by the most irrelevant banalities and impossible to impress with real novelty, meaning, or conflict. And he was too moronic to be properly self-loathing--so it was my duty to loathe him instead.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

Sherry Turkle
“Texting is more direct. You don't have to use conversation filler.”
Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

Ben Marcus
“Thomas's mistake, like most of the behavior he leaked into the world, had been avoidable: to join another human being in a situation that virtually demanded unscripted, spontaneous conversation, and thus to risk total moral and emotional dissolution. Death by conversation, and all that.”
Ben Marcus, Leaving the Sea

Keith Ferrazzi
“The best way to become good at small talk is not to talk small at all.”
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Louise Erdrich
“My father could out-weather anybody. Like people anywhere, there were times when it was the only topic where people here felt comfortably expressive, and my father could go on earnestly, seemingly forever. When the current weather was exhausted, there was all the weather that had occurred in recorded history, weather lived through or witnessed by a relative, or even heard about on the news. Catastrophic weather of all types. And when that was done, there was all the weather that might possibly occur in the future. I'd even heard him speculate about weather in the afterlife.”
Louise Erdrich, The Round House

Helen Cox
“Well, I hate small talk, and I refuse to become one of those old people who spends all their time telling young people how much better and cheaper things used to be. What do you care if the subway used to cost five cents? It don't anymore.”
Helen Cox, Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner

“It was one of those limp conversations two people have who are never going to see each other again. She couldn't wait to get away from me, and I couldn't wait to get away from her. Not because we didn't like each other, but because there wasn't any point to our being together any longer.”
M.E. Kerr

Eugene H. Peterson
“I am interested in cultivating the fundamentally holy nature of all language, including most definitely the casual, spontaneous , unselfconscious conversational language.”
Eugene H. Peterson, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers

“All talk is small talk.”
Marty Rubin

L.A. Fiore
“Saffron, how are you?" Logan asks and he sounds genuinely interested. How am I? Small talk, right.

I rest my hip on the table and give my back to Logan as I look down at his date. "Would you think it odd for a man to come to a small town and proceed to not speak to you for six months?"

Her perfect lips form a grin. "Everyone or just me specifically?"

"You, specifically."

Her eyes light with humor. "Yes, that is odd."

"Odder still for that man to then take you to bed and blow your mind with sex for almost twenty-four hours before ditching you and then staying off the radar for a week?"

The humor has left her gaze now, but she answers anyway. "Indeed."

"So what would you think when that same man shows up at your place of employment with a beautiful woman and attempts to engage you in small talk?"

Her eyes leave mine for Logan's, but I don't miss the emotion in her gaze. She's mad.

"Exactly." I turn and give Logan my full attention. "So how am I, Logan?" I pull out the chair next to him and sit down. "I could pretend to be a cool, sophisticated woman and lie to you and say I'm fabulous, but that just isn't me. What I am is hurt and more than a little pissed, so the idea of making small talk with you is repugnant to me, unless that talk is centered on what I'd like to do to you. For example, I'd love to reach for that dull butter knife and stick it in your eye, giving it a hard turn just for good measure. The idea of strapping you to a man-sized lobster trap and throwing you into the ocean holds a great deal of appeal, as does the thought of running your ass over with my car, repeatedly. I could sit here all day making small talk about that, or you could just shut up and order some goddamn lunch.”
L.A. Fiore, Waiting for the One

Kim Stanley Robinson
“He had always pitched in his conversational ante, and if he had contributed infrequently thereafter, it was because he was only interested when the stakes reached a certain minimum level. Small talk was usually a waste of time.”
Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars

Ashley Warlick
“I try never to speak until people have finished with the weather reports.”
Ashley Warlick, The Arrangement

Jane Austen
“I am worn out with civility. I have been talking incessantly all night, and with nothing to say. But with you there may be peace. You will not want to be talked to. Let us have the luxury of silence.”
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Baratunde R. Thurston
“If you chose Option 2 [confrontation], you did well. People will be less likely to engage you in office small talk of any kind, but that's likely a benefit when you consider the fact that every ten minutes of office small talk takes one year off of your life.”
Baratunde R. Thurston

Paul Murray
“Mrs. P.? Oh no. She’s the help. Bosnian, you know. Or is it Serbian? An absolute treasure, anyway. As I always say to Bel, if there’s one good thing to come out of all this fuss in the Balkans, it’s the availability of quality staff . . .” The words died away on my lips: once again I found myself trailing off in the stare of those unblinking eyes. This fellow was like some kind of after-dinner black hole. My anxiety began to mount again.”
Paul Murray, An Evening of Long Goodbyes

“Let's step back from a job interview, just for a moment, and imagine yourself at a barbecue. You meet a stranger and make small talk, "Where are you from? What do you do? You married? Kids? You have grandchildren? How old are you?" Questions you have all asked at one time or another, yet if asked during a job interview every one of them could be interpreted as illegal. All too often, these questions at an interview are just the result of someone showing interest in you as a person, like at the barbecue.”
Martin Yate, Knock 'em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews Into Job Offers

“I appreciate friendliness, and I understand the basic human need for connection through conversation. But I will not sit and talk about the weather for 5 mins. That's 5 mins of my life I won't get back. Small talk should be, at best, an ice-breaker, not an entire dialogue. We can either upgrade the conversation, or move on.”
Izey Victoria Odiase

Lisa Kleypas
“Desperately trying to remember her manners, she curtseyed and murmured, "Your Grace."
The smile lines at his eyes deepened subtly. "You appear to be in need of rescue. Why don't you come inside with me, away from this riffraff? The duchess is eager to meet you." As Pandora hesitated, thoroughly intimidated, he assured her. "I'm quite trustworthy. In fact, I'm very nearly an angel. You'll come to love me in no time."
"Take heed," Lord St. Vincent advised Pandora sardonically, fastening the loose sides of his vest. "My father is the pied piper of gullible women."
"That's not true," the duke said, "The non-gullible ones follow me as well."
Pandora couldn't help chuckling. She looked up into silvery-blue eyes lit with sparks of humor and playfulness. There was something reassuring about his presence, the sense of a man who truly liked women.
When she and Cassandra were children, they had fantasized about a handsome father who would lavish them with affection and advice, and spoil them just a little, but not too much. A father who might have let them stand on his feet to dance. This man looked very much like the one Pandora had imagined.
She moved forward and took his arm.
"How was your journey, my dear?" the duke asked as he escorted her into the house.
Before Pandora could reply, Lord St. Vincent spoke from behind them. "Lady Pandora doesn't like small talk, Father. She would prefer to discuss topics such as Darwin, or women's suffrage."
"Naturally an intelligent young woman would wish to skip over mundane chitchat," the duke said, giving Pandora such an approving glance that she fairly glowed. "However," he continued thoughtfully, "most people need to be guided into a feeling of safety before they dare reveal their opinions to someone they've only just met. There's a beginning to everything, after all. Every opera has its prelude, every sonnet its opening quatrain. Small talk is merely a way of helping a stranger to trust you, by first finding something you can both agree on."
"No one's ever explained it that way before," Pandora said with a touch of wonder. "It actually makes sense. But why must it be so often about weather? Isn't there something else we all agree on? Runcible spoons- everyone likes those, don't they? And teatime, and feeding ducks."
"Blue ink," the duke added. "And a cat's purr. And summer storms- although I suppose that brings us back to weather."
"I wouldn't mind talking about weather with you, Your Grace," Pandora said ingenuously.
The duke laughed gently. "What a delightful girl.”
Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Spring

Lisa Kleypas
“Risking a glance at the dignified young man beside her- what was his name?- Mr. Arthurson, Arterton?- Pandora decided to try her hand at some small talk.
"It was very fine weather today, wasn't it?" she said.
He set down his flatware and dabbed at both corners of his mouth with his napkin before replying. "Yes, quite fine."
Encouraged, Pandora asked, "What kind of clouds do you like better- cumulus or stratocumulus?"
He regarded her with a slight frown. After a long pause, he asked, "What is the difference?"
"Well, cumulus are the fluffier, rounder clouds, like this heap of potatoes on my plate." Using her fork, Pandora spread, swirled, and dabbed the potatoes. "Stratocumulus are flatter and can form lines or waves- like this- and can either form a large mass or break into smaller pieces."
He was expressionless as he watched her. "I prefer flat clouds that look like a blanket."
"Altostratus?" Pandora asked in surprise, setting down her fork. "But those are the boring clouds. Why do you like them?"
"They usually mean it's going to rain. I like rain."
This showed promise of actually turning into a conversation. "I like to walk in the rain, too," Pandora exclaimed.
"No, I don't like to walk in it. I like to stay in the house." After casting a disapproving glance at her plate, the man returned his attention to eating.
Chastened, Pandora let out a noiseless sigh. Picking up her fork, she tried to inconspicuously push her potatoes into a proper heap again.


Fact #64 Never sculpt your food to illustrate a point during small talk. Men don't like it.


As Pandora looked up, she discovered Phoebe's gaze on her. She braced inwardly for a sarcastic remark.
But Phoebe's voice was gentle as she spoke. "Henry and I once saw a cloud over the English Channel that was shaped in a perfect cylinder. It went on as far as the eye could see. Like someone had rolled up a great white carpet and set it in the sky."
It was the first time Pandora had ever heard Phoebe mention her late husband's name. Tentatively, she asked, "Did you and he ever try to find shapes in the clouds?"
"Oh, all the time. Henry was very clever- he could find dolphins, ships, elephants, and roosters. I could never see a shape until he pointed it out. But then it would appear as if by magic." Phoebe's gray eyes turned crystalline with infinite variations of tenderness and wistfulness.
Although Pandora had experienced grief before, having lost both parents and a brother, she understood that this was a different kind of loss, a heavier weight of pain. Filled with compassion and sympathy, she dared to say, "He... he sounds like a lovely man."
Phoebe smiled faintly, their gazes meeting in a moment of warm connection. "He was," she said. "Someday I'll tell you about him."
And finally Pandora understood where a little small talk about the weather might lead.”
Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Spring

“Small talk is for small people. Conversations are for the elite.”
Salma Farook, What Your Soul Already Knows

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