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Making Small Talk Matter

I am driving around with my friend Garrett one day when I get a "Hey" text from a girl I'd had a crush on for months. My heart nearly skips a beat and I ask Garrett, "What should I say?"

With all the confidence in the world he says, "Don't be normal. Normal is boring."

I nod and begin typing. "Nothing much, just being super not normal with my friend Garrett. Like SUPER weird. You?"

I show Garrett my reply and he nearly crashes the car laughing. Apparently that is not what he meant. Garrett had learned a lesson in conversating early on that I carry into almost every conversation I have with people.

If you want to connect with people, don't be boring.

First, let's talk about what Garrett really meant by boring. He knew that the words "How are you" in a conversation are the three most meaningless words we can say. Most often we ask out of formality without truly expecting a response and the person being asked provides an answer that offers no insight into how they truly are.

If we want to make our interactions meaningful we have to offer greetings we actually intend for the other person to reply to. "Anything fun happen today? Give me a high and a low for the day. Are you looking forward to anything this week?"

We'd be remiss to mention that in these interactions there are two people responsible for creating meaningful interactions. We can't control how others greet us, but we can still strive to "not be boring" when replying to a "how are you?"

If, nay when, someone offers the obligatory "How are you?" I challenge you to reply in a meaningful way. We don't have to offer our entire life story, but we don't have to miss a chance at making the interaction meaningful either.

Most of us have hundreds of opportunities a day to make meaning in our lives and the lives of those we interact with. Take Garrett's advice the next opportunity you get: don't be boring.


Answer truthfully the next time someone asks, "How are you?"


What's your favorite non-boring greeting?


"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company." - Jane Austen

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