Small Talk, Big Problems

There’s this gorgeous looking lady at the gym I go to, like gorgeous. I’ve yet to see her smile but she looks like she has a million dollar smile. Did I mention she’s got glasses? I’m a sucker for women with glasses. In a perfect world I should be able to walk up to her and start flirting and yet I’m paralyzed with fear. I don’t even know where to start or how to get her attention in a way that I don’t seem like some random guy going to strike conversation with her when she’s trying to workout. There’s also this other gorgeous lady that takes the same bus and train I do. I can’t muster up the courage to talk to her either. In my life time the two women I’ve dated had made the first move so I’m not very good at initiating anything. I’m about as bad at initiating things as a someone too distracted by a movie to feel up their significant other when their practically putting up the Bat Symbol (For those wondering about the ever so lovely girl I dedicated a blog to a few months back, that shit is over like a game of Mario when the Nintendo breaks. I really don’t want to get into the details but the I’ve got a story of my tragic love life larger than all of the Game of Thrones books combined and it just got enough pages to make a replica of the tree that all of that paper came from). I sit awake some nights wondering why I suck so much with women and it all goes back to one of the biggest struggles someone on the spectrum can have.

If you’re an introvert, someone with social anxiety, someone who has difficulty in social situations or like me, or all of the above then you know the pain of small talk and how difficult carrying conversations can be or even joining conversations. If you don’t understand how it feels to understand what it means to have such difficulties then it means you’ve been blessed to be an extrovert and you should never take something like that for granted however, for however long it takes you to read this blog, I’m going to take you on another trip through the shoddy cable company wiring job that is my mind and by the time I’ve once again blown your mind harder than a bullet to the head you will have an understanding of how one can struggle with small talk and why to some, it’s the equivalent of bringing a stick to a knife fight or a knife to a gun fight. Sit back, grab some booze, some weed, maybe you like to be sober when you read mind blowing things, well however you like reading such material I suggest you get into the zone because this is going to be one hell of a ride.
Now the formal definition defines small talk as “an informal type of discourse that does not cover any functional topics of conversation or any transactions that need to be addressed”. To dumb it down, small talk is essentially a conversation for the sake of conversation, it serves no purpose and has no goal. It simply exists as a way for two people to talk. Sometimes there exists the goal to segway into something else depending on the context of the situation. Small talk is a skill that is extremely vital for a few things, making friends, networking, job interviews, and flirting. Now let’s be honest about something shall we? I suck at small talk, like I’m pretty awful at the art of small talk. Striking up and carrying conversations with random people I’m not entirely comfortable with is extremely nerve racking unless of course I’m intoxicated. Job interviews are tricky because I’m way too straight forward for my own good so I’m not good at turning what amounts to an interrogation into a conversation, a skill which is vital to getting your interviewers to like you. Women, don’t even get me started on trying to flirt with women. I don’t even know where to start when it comes to talking to women. I’ve passed up some great opportunities in my day because of my troubles with conversing with women and don’t even get me started mon some of the missed ones. When my brother and I were younger I used to watch him flirt with women and I was pretty unhappy because I myself failed horribly at it.
The post isn’t about the tragic love life whose page numbers rival that of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones books though. Conversations in general can be difficult, I’ll be in bars or get togethers seeing circles of people who I know having a conversation and yet I have trouble knowing how to join conversations. There are a few factors that go into it such as the conversation not being anything of interest to me or them being based on inside jokes I may not understand. When it is something I feel like I can jump into I have trouble trying to find the appropriate gaps in a conversation to jump into. One on one conversations pose their own demons. Unless I know the person really well, conversations can be extremely awkward. My conversations go something like this, they start with us introducing ourselves followed by asking about interests and basic things like work and school. Now if at any point in this conversation we either have something in common that can get us to be excited enough that we enjoy talking or I just feel comfortable with them from the get go which is rare then not only can I connect with someone quicker, I can feel comfortable enough with someone carry a conversation that has a natural flow to it. If we don’t have enough in common then all my attempts to carry the conversation for much longer can fall flatter than the Hindenburg on a bad day (too soo?).
To accurately describe this brain fart or awkward silence, imagine my brain is a central processing center where you have a guy responsible for typing on a typing on teleprompter so that another person reading can send a message to the person who processes my speech. The problem however is that the guy responsible for operating the teleprompter and the guy who processes my speech come to work drunk occasionally. Essentially the middle man has to play parent to the two drunk slackers. Now in real life imagine I see this great looking girl. Fine figure, great looking face, million dollar smile. The guy running the teleprompter didn’t study and cheated his way though the exam required to work the center so he’s struggling to find the correct words for this situation. Just as he’s about to type he pukes on the keyboard causing the whole unit to short circuit and explode. The middle guy who carries the messages to the speech guy is now in the fetal position out of fear for his well being. The poor speech guy is the paranoid drunk so now he kind of starts to panic and eventually blacks out. On another day the guy operating the teleprompter can be sober as well as the guy processing my speech but the guy who relays the messages comes to work baked and isn’t as speedy as he should be. This puts me in that scenario where I have something really awesome to say but it never comes until it’s too late. This screws me over greatly in arguments and debates and the other side always wins. It’s screwed me in job interviews as well. Both of these issues have had adverse affects on my ability to woo women so I’m not the guy who can easily say tell myself “there’s other fish in the sea” when a relationship ends or I get dumped. I cast and wait but no matter how long I wait I never get a bite. If I were as witty with my words as I am with my writing then it would be raining women.
I honesty don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m just genuinely bad at conversations or maybe I just psyche myself out, who knows. Maybe I should just man up and talk to that gorgeous lady at the gym instead of being insecure about myself. Some days I wish I could turn of the switch that controls my social anxiety, unscrew the plate and cut up all the wires so that I can talk to anyone I want without getting anxious about it. I’ve never understood the art of small talk and never will. Why do they call it small talk anyways? If it’s so small then why does it feel like I’m scaling Everest blindfolded without a map? Why call it small talk when for some it’s the hardest thing in the world? I think another huge part of it is that I run into the people who expect me to carry the weight of the conversation on my own. I’m interested in people but a lot of people aren’t interested enough in me to start a conversation with me. Maybe I’m just not interesting enough or maybe people are just as awkward as I am. There are way too many what ifs to this thing and none of them really get to the root of the problem.
I know it doesn’t seem like it on the surface but small talk is truly a struggle for me and unless I’m in my element I suck I carrying conversations. Many with intellectual disabilities struggle with this so never assume that someone knows what they’re doing when it comes to a conversation and never let one person carry the conversation because you could potentially let a good conversation die because they’ve exhausted everything they can contribute. It takes two to tango so if you’re not interested in talking to someone then at least make a clever excuse to leave instead of letting someone bore you to death and making themselves feel more uncomfortable than they already are. Stay Classy Folks
This blog was written to the tune of
Album: Genesis
Artist: Busta Rhymes
Year: 2001
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