We had a quick chat for the first time after living here for 3 months. One of my neighbour.
It used to be normal to live with 5 different people in the house without knowing their names or talked to them. But it’s something one will do here upon seeing someone. A quick, “Hi, how is it going”, or shorter “Hey mate” will do. But sometimes unexpected need for a conversation put me in a very awkward situation. It was nice, he asked a few questions, how was your day, and the sorts. But having not used to small talks, I was left with short answers to the point of “he seems kind of rude”, or unfriendly.
So here are 3 reasons why Introverts are not meant to be talking to random stranger.
It is Spontaneous
It’s just not a strength of an introvert to think spontaneously especially when it involves more than himself. I can talk to you given enough time to prepare. But bumping into you somewhere unexpected and being asked questions will end up with short uncertain answers, especially when I don’t know you that well. And to quickly think of questions to ask back is another huge tasks.
Should I ask if he has kids, will it be rude, how about the weather, it’s middle of the night for fuck sake, ok just stay cool and wait for his next question.
We process things slower and in more details, looking for patterns, meaningful pieces of information to be delivered, which bring me to the next point.
Lack of meaning
It has to be meaningful else it won’t be done. Even when the meaning is fake, it’s good enough.
I understand the reasons for small talks. The search for compatibilities, a simple rule that glued our society together. But it changes with every individuals. Introverts see individuals as unique as themselves, avoiding generalizations. So every new people have to register some level of meaning for the chat.
Fine, it’s totally expected to bump into your neighbour, which happen almost everyday. But I’ve registered that we’ve passed the need for a chat, but a simple thumbs up or “howdy” is good enough. So again, walking passed him and being asked questions bring me back to that zone of thinking “what do I want out of this conversation?”
Lack of commitments
Well, he said that we should have a beer someday. I agreed even though that felt like an empty invite. Where is the when, where and why parts?
Introverts, back to our complicated thought process, make little commitments. But once we’ve made one, we’ll make sure it’s delivered.
When it comes to small talks with a random stranger, it boiled down to the question of “where will this conversation lead into?”. Will he become my next best friend, or else, I won’t be investing too much thinking about what to talk to him.
We make few friends, but stronger ones. We don’t know many people, but all the people we know are close friends. And given that it’s very expensive and difficult to be just an acquaintance, it’s almost not worth doing at all.
Having said all that, I apologise that I didn’t give a very good first impression to many of the people I’ve met. And to my neighbour, I’ll prepare enough courage and enough meaning and commitments points so that I have a good enough reason to invite you to my kitchen for a beer or two.