Conversation; or I can’t do small talk

No, really I can’t. I find it boring and shallow. Unless the conversation is going to quickly move on to something deeper, I’d rather not talk at all. From my reading around the subject of my provisional ASC diagnosis last year, it would seem that it’s normal for me, but possibly not for most people.

I don’t mean to be insulting, because I don’t mean what I’m saying as an insult. You’re lucky; ten years ago I’d have just said most people are shallow without making the effort to break down what I meant. I had a Fiona for that, until we finished secondary school, anyway.

When I say I find small talk boring and shallow, I mean it literally. I have nothing to say on the subject of TV soaps or popularity contests, because I don’t have any interest in them. I can’t fake it either. I can’t pretend enthusiasm or interest in something I’m not interested in. I get that it’s considered rude not to make the effort, or to stare off into space when people are trying to have a conversation with me, but I really don’t know how to act otherwise. I try, but it’s exhausting.

I don’t think the person I’m talking to is shallow; I generally work on the hypothesis that most people are sensible, and intelligent, until proven otherwise, who are capable of deep thought and conversation. They just choose not.

Why? Isn’t that boring? I don’t understand why people are happy to have the nice, clean proximal answer to their questions, rather than the messy, complicated reality. Why don’t people keep asking ‘why?’, why don’t they keep digging, digging to the core of an issue, rather than stopping at the first answer? I find this really frustrating when I’m talking to people.

My other response to small talk situations is to chatter constantly and ramble about nothing, from anxiety. Because I’m being forced to talk! Or at least, I feel like I’m being forced to make conversation, but I don’t know what to say, what’s appropriate for casual conversation. So, I say the wrong thing, over share private information, try to move the conversation deeper, then get disappointed when it doesn’t work.

I want to talk about everything, everything that I’m interested in, at least. I’m interested in quite a lot of subjects, have dozens of areas of interest. It just depends on what I’m thinking about at the time. Or, if you bring up a subject I’ll quite happily discuss it with you; you might know something I don’t and I can learn something from you.

Or people could just accept that they might have to sit in silence with me for hours at a time. I can do that, in fact some of the people I’m most comfortable with don’t mind our socialising time being quite antisocial.

That’s it, sensible conversation or none at all. Can people manage that?

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R Cawkwell

Hi I'm Rosemarie and I like to write. I write short stories and longer fiction, poetry and occasionally articles. I'm working on quite a few things at the minute and wouldn't mind one day actually getting published in print.


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