Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles A lot of people tend to be really scared of small talk. They don't wanna end up in awkward situations where they don't know what to say. >> Yeah, how bout them Dodgers, though? [MUSIC] >> Hey everybody, welcome back to another video from Think Tank with Hannah Cranston and John Iadarola. We're gonna have a little bit of awkward small talk bout small talk. >> Yeah. >> So sometimes you will be out there and the natural inclination for a lot of humans, despite the fact that we are social creatures is to just wanna go through your day without interacting with people you don't know. I think that's very natural. >> I like to go through my day without interacting with any people. Doesn't matter if I know them or strangers. >> Especially the people I don't. Yeah, and so that's very often how I feel and various strategies have been developed to help people cope with this. Whether they think they should fix it or not, there are benefits to talking to people you don't know. And so we're gonna talk about some the advice from a book by Kio Stark called When Strangers Meet, How People You Don't Know Can Transform You. And so one of the easy sort of short cuts to small talk that hopefully avoids some of the how's the weather, how are the Dodgers type things is to find a third thing that both of you can be in a relation to and form a conversational triangle out of. So there's you, there's a stranger, there's some third thing that you both might see and comment on, like a piece of public art or somebody preaching in the street or somebody wearing funny clothes. So basically- >> Just make fun of somebody else. >> Yeah. >> Just throw all of the awkwardness on to that person. Be like, that person's an idiot! Am I right? Am I right? Am I right? >> Well, if there isn't a third person wearing funny clothes, make fun of their clothes. >> Yeah, that's good. >> And then they have to defend themselves. >> It does break the ice. It's not gonna be positive, but it does break the ice. >> Really. So look, I will say from my personal experience, although I generally am very much in the camp of when I'm outside and trying to do something. I'm not just let's go and see what happens about town and maybe I'll meet a nice chap. And maybe I'll have a latte and then things will happen. >> No, I'm here- >> That sounds like a great day. >> I need to get to there because there doesn't deliver on Amazon. That's the only reason I'm going there and then I'm going home. >> But maybe there's chaps there. >> There might be chaps, I might have to buy chaps. But when I have had small talk, it does tend to be from that third thing. And so the few conversations I had with celebrities at Current, like with Bill Nye and Mark Hamill, was always, I'm in this little foodie area. They're in the foodie area waiting. And then something happens, [CROSSTALK] >> How about dem bagels? >> No, not about the food but about something else that happens. And I'll bring it up, that way it's not like, hi, let's talk about your life. You don't know me, but you're gonna. No, it's just, hey, we're two people conversing about this. And you can do that whether it's a random person or a celebrity or someone you're trying to bang or whatever. >> Yes, this is true. I think for a lot of people, small talk, it's not like they're seeking it out, right. They don't leave the house to seek out small talk. Maybe there are people who do that. >> That's so weird. >> But a lot of the time that happens in elevators or if you're meeting somebody for the first time maybe at a work event or something like that. And so you do kind of have, find that commonality so it doesn't necessarily have to be a third thing that's in the room or something like that. But it could be a third thing where you feel like they might have something to comment on. Right now, it's very easy to bring up politics or something like that. You're not supposed to do that generally in small talk. >> [LAUGH] How about Trump? >> But it is, right now, I feel like all of the small talk conversations somehow lead to Trump. Do you know what I mean? And so- >> How about them Dodgers? Fucking Trump >> It does, it's scary though, you know what I mean? >> So people will comment on that. There's a lot of different things that you can talk about and find sort of that thing that you guys, that connects you to people or whatever. But it doesnt have to be so simple as the weather, or something like that. You [CROSSTALK] >> Because nobody actually cares about the weather >> Think about it. >> Nobody cares. >> Everybody has parents. Everybody has a hometown. Those are things that you can talk about. >> Tell me about where you live. And tell me about your parents. >> Where- >> I mean I generally I would prefer something that it's in the environment with you or something like that. >> I like to get personal >> But maybe that's not small talk. I consider it small talk. Like yesterday, I was- >> No, we're trying to get past the awkward part, not generate the awkward part. >> No, I always try to generate awkwardness. But yesterday I went to a luncheon or whatever. And the conversation went what do you do? Right, very small talk-y conversation. But then it branched off like how they got into it and how their parents did this and did that. And then it turned into this great thing so you both you do something. >> Yeah. >> That could be a center connector. >> See, I don't like that kind of conversation. >> You don't care? >> When people ask me what I do, I don't wanna talk, I don't know. I just don't want to talk about it. When I get in an Uber- >> But you don't care that other- >> My biggest fear is that they're gonna say, so what do you do? I don't want to talk about my job. >> Are you embarrassed about what you do? >> No, I'm just not- >> Is this not good enough for you? >> That's basically what I'm saying. That's basically what, I just don't want to talk about it. But you can find other things to talk about. And we've talked previously about how to meet people in college for instance. At a party or in a classroom, understand the context of how you feel, and then realize that it's likely that the other people around you probably feel something like it. And although you want to have good conversations but you're scared about initiating it, other people probably feel the same way. They're looking for interesting people to talk to them, So long as you're not a weirdo. Unfortunately if you are you won't know. >> I was at a dinner party last week where there was a, it was a buffet table, right? And somebody next to me I think was trying to small talk and they were like yeah the, salmon's big. [LAUGH] It's just like ,that's true. >> That's the third thing that's happening there. >> That's true, that is true, that is a true statement. And then we started talking. >> About salmon? >> It was awkward for a quick second but then we just started talking. I was like yeah it is big, it's kinda hard to cut. And then it branched. >> Kinda hard to cut? >> It was one of those fish, full fish. >> So this weekend you went to a luncheon in a place that had a massive fish. >> That wasn't this weekend, that was- >> Where people just dug out chunks of salmon. Hard to cut, that's why I used my paw. >> [LAUGH] >> Are you a bear? Are you a fancy, mimosa drinking bear? >> [LAUGH] >> Anyway- >> Yes. >> Talk about that when you go out.