Sunday, August 28, 2011

Helpful Phrases For Small Talk Scenarios

Chit chat. Small talk. It serves a purpose, but there's a reason it makes us yawn and roll our eyes when we think about it. All you're doing is saying the same thing each time, and wasting the precious brain cells you still have by uttering inane comments.

Here is my gift to you: a series of responses that you can memorize and use, allowing your brain to focus on quantum physics or the last episode of Dance Moms. Also, if you get the delivery right, you won't have to worry about making small talk much longer.

Please note: while these are conversations I often have, your experience may vary -- so please feel free to adapt them.

"How are you doing today?"
"[fill in long explanation with unnecessary details and tears]"

"What are your plans for this afternoon?"
See above.

"Your hair is amazing!"
"That's what I said to the last owner."

"You're kind of conceited."

"What great weather we're having!"
"It's a trap -- they want you lulled into a false sense of security before they unleash the zombies."

"Would you like the ravioli packaged to go?"
"No, I plan to grill it immediately -- I hear it tastes best that way."

"So what do you do for a living?"
"I've found eating food and sleeping regularly to be highly successful for me."

"Is that debit or credit?"
"Klout, actually."

"Hi, my name is [name]. It's so great to meet you!"
"It's great to meet you, too. Good thing I won't remember your name, so we can do this again."

Okay, so my idea of "small talk" extends to nearly "all talk." But I find the above responses infinitely helpful in sparing my brain the pain of ordinary responses. Tell me in the comments -- what do you (or have you) said in a common chit chat scenario?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rejection: For Fun And Profit

When I was on a work trip a few weeks back, my co-workers and I were chatting over dinner, and somehow got to to talking about the Rejection Line. Never heard of it? One of them hadn't either, so I called it and put it on speakerphone for group entertainment.

(Call it right now if you never have -- 212-479-7990).

Someone suggested that Seattle needed a local Rejection Line, since the New York area code kind of made the whole thing fishy for us west coasters. Last weekend, I discovered there IS a Seattle rejection number.

It's mine.

"Hey :-)" came the text message from an unknown number.

"I'm sorry, but I don't recognize your number. Who is this?" While my gut reaction was to respond with a little more attitude, I have my cell listed on my business cards and toned it down a bit.

"It's Don. We met on the bus this evening. The guy with the Bud Light sign."

I don't use public transportation. This was clearly a mistake. I let him know, he apologized, and I thought how strange it was that this had happened the previous weekend, too.

Minute later, a new number texted me:

"Hey :-) It's Daren. Nice to meet you today. That was fun on the bus. You work tomorrow?"

All of these people mentioned the bus... and it clicked. Some crazy itchy bee was giving out my number as her own to men on public transportation.

"Someone has been giving out my number as her own, but I'm afraid it isn't me. I don't ride the bus. I'm sorry."

"Oh wow. So sorry. I had no idea. That is really messed up," came the response. Then: "Well, I guess it's never too late to make a new friend! How was your weekend?"


"Thank you but no. I don't really want to talk. I'm sorry someone was rude to you but you can throw away this number now."

He apologized and left me alone... for two days.

"Hey, I know you weren't really in the mood to talk before. But I couldn't help but to ask how you are doing? How is your week going?"

So. Anyone want to sponsor this impromptu career I'm starting? I will happily mention your company in my rejections.

"I'm sorry, but I'd rather be eating ____while watching _____, my favorite ____, than text or talk to you. But for comfort during this terrible time of rejection, may I suggest trying _____?"

Get in touch, sponsors. I'm open to your offers.