4 Ways to Master Small Talk as an Introvert.

Keyshawn Shaahid

1. Exterminating Guilt.

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Introverts often feel like they’re bothering someone by starting up a conversation. You hesitate to introduce yourself because you’re worried about annoying or boring them. And you might even feel like you’re holding them hostage.

This can easily cripple your confidence. The guilt of wasting their time can consume your thoughts. The conversation suffers because you are convinced, they’d rather be elsewhere. Often, this kind of guilt is entirely imaginary.

Introverts assume they’re the only nervous, awkward, or inexperienced people in the room. To you, that person in the corner may seem confident and intimidating, but you put yourself in their shoes for just a second. If you were standing alone in the corner, would you feel confident? No. You’d feel worried or restless.

You might be hoping someone would try to come by and talk to you. By starting up a conversation, you can be that person for them. Chances are they’re here to meet new people, just like you are. So please don’t feel like you’re forcing them into anything. So, if you see someone standing alone, a conversation could be the answer to both your problems.

2. Trivial Talk.

Trivial small talk is more than just useless chatter. You might be rolling your eyes if you’re an introvert, but it’s true. Small talk seems pointless to you because that isn’t how introverts like to communicate. It isn’t deep or meaningful.

You don’t learn that much about a person in these small circumstances. Most of the time, you forget what you even talked about. But that doesn’t mean it’s pointless. It helps to think about any social relationship like a fire. The goal is to build a tall and warm fire, but you can’t just light up a random chunk of wood.

In the same way, you can’t just start a conversation by jumping straight into heavy stuff before laying on the logs. It would help if you had something smaller to get your fire going. Those vague, forgettable questions are the little sticks or scraps of paper you use to turn your spark into a flame. It would help if you had that simple foundation to build the first bits of camaraderie and trust.

So come on, don’t treat small talk like a shallow excuse for a conversation. It isn’t meant to replace deeper connections, just like those little sticks can’t replace a log. Each plays an essential role in your social life. To master small talk, just set your complaints aside and find the value in triviality.

3. Sharpening your Objectives.

Before starting a conversation, figure out why it matters to you. Decide what you’d like to get out of it? Do you want to make a good first impression? Are you trying to learn more people’s names? Or you want to work up the courage to say hello.

It doesn’t matter what objective you choose if it gives you a reason to be there. Objectives give introverts a much-needed sense of structure. When you know what you’re working toward, you can plan exactly how you’ll get there. Let’s think of it like any other item on your to-do list. The goal is to cross it off.

This strategy mitigates one of the introverts’ biggest fears about small talk. After you’ve said, hi, how are you? Well, then what happens next? Is there just awkward silence? How do you keep the conversation going?

And how do you know when it stops? Typically, it’s difficult to tell, but objectives give you clear-cut boundaries. You know that when you complete your purpose, your job is done. You can feel accomplished and proud because you did exactly what you wanted.

4. Guiding your Anxiety.

It’s common for introverts to get anxious whenever small talk is on the table. Do you worry about messing up? You’re hyper-aware of every potentially stupid thing you’ll do or say. You’re confident that everyone can immediately tell how much you hate being there. So how can you keep your slight talk anxiety under control?

Well, the key is to learn where to direct those negative feelings. We often make the mistake of attributing our nerves to our environment. When feeling quiet and jittery, it’s tempting to blame the situation. You make the excuse that formal settings make you anxious. Or you blame the people.

So, let’s imagine you’re at an office party. You might fly solo because you think everyone’s more outgoing or exciting than you. They aren’t real but setting aside those anxious thoughts is challenging. You might go into every interaction thinking you’re the least exciting person in the room. Luckily, with some practice, you can learn to separate your nerves from your environment reliably.

Thanks For Reading!

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I'm a Freelance Writer, blogger, 2x Top NBA writer on Medium. Writer on Substack, Medium, Tumblr. Twitter: @keyshawnshaahid

Pittsburgh, PA
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