Let me confess that as a highly sensitive introvert I am not a fan of small talk. I would much rather be having a conversation about something personal or abstract rather than blah blah blahing about the weather. However, since small talk greases the wheels of social interaction, I do have to engage in a bit of surface conversation from time to time. Here are 6 lifehacks for introverts to follow to make small talk easier and less socially awkward!

(1) Give your best – when someone asks you how you’re doing, reply with the most positive-feeling response you can muster. Don’t put a downer on your interaction by saying ‘not bad’ in a dreary tone of voice.

(2) Give them some meat – one of the reasons introverts don’t like small talk is because when talking to new people they may find it hard to open up and share details about their personal lives. They tend to give vague answers to standard questions such as ‘what did you get up to at the weekend?’ in order to keep their social distance. To be more socially open in conversation, decide to share one specific detail about your life and what you have been doing (it doesn’t need to be anything special).

(3) Matchy-matchy – keep in mind the balance of giving and receiving in your small talk encounters. If you find yourself talking to someone who is hard work in conversation, step back and stop putting in so much effort. Similarly, if someone is asking you lots of questions, you may wish to become more assertive and ask them some questions back.

(4) Allow ‘Basicness’ – small talk does not have to be anything spectacular. It’s absolutely fine to talk about regular topics of conversation that you’ve heard a million times before. Small talk is not original!

(5) Stay On The Surface – when you first meet people it’s generally a lot easier to talk about simple, regular topics of conversation. Most people you meet are not going to want to dive into deep and meaningfuls with you.

(6) Am I In Resonance? – When you’re in resonance with a person you find that conversation flows easily between you and you feel relaxed in each other’s company. However, you are likely to meet more people with whom you are not in resonance. Don’t be harsh on yourself when this happens – it’s probably just a matter of you not having anything in common.

By applying these 6 lifehacks to social interaction, I find interactions go more smoothly and I am able to navigate the new or uncomfortable social situation a lot more easily. Try these small talk lifehacks and see how they work for you too!