1. Welcome to Aspies Central, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Small Talk

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by savi83, May 17, 2017 at 11:30 AM.

  1. savi83

    savi83 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Karma:
    +73
    Hi everybody,

    One of my main difficulties in social interaction is "small talk", it's something that feels so unnatural to me but it's a social convention that helps build connections with people, something which I also struggle with.

    When I come into work on a Monday morning I ask people if they had a good weekend, and try to develop it into a conversation. My colleagues don't seem to do much after work during the week apart from watch television. I don't watch much television or follow any sport, I've tried, I can't get my head around it. Especially the following sport, surely it would be more fun to play the sport yourself rather than watch strangers play.

    I've found that I refer to the weather quite a lot when I try and make small talk, which quickly kills conversation off.

    Does anyone have any tips on making small talk with people??
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  2. Questella

    Questella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Karma:
    +435
    I had to do extensive research and read many books on making stupid conversation with people for my work. It helps if you can remember things about them, like if they have kids, the kids age, kids activities, generally people like to talk about their kids a lot. Also hobbies of theirs, basically just let them ramble on while going, "yeah, uh-huh, oh so fascinating, tell me more." I can never remember tidbits about people unless I talk to them many times.

    Also I don't watch any sports (unless you count pole-championships because those are just cool) or tv really. I watch like Star Trek, stuff from the Disney channel mostly, Sherlock. But I don't have cable to any tv channels at all, ever since they changed the way TV works and you can't hook up a basic antenna to a old tv I just gave up, there's too many commercials anyways, which are cool the first time you watch them but after the 1000th time I want to kick the TV. Stay away from Politics, even if you're trying to be funny because it's all so stupid they just won't get it. It's weird but some people really, really, really like Trump, weird right?

    Oh another thing people like to talk about if they do it is traveling, you can get somebody to go on and on about traveling. My job actually requires a bit of small talk to get people to pay me for my time, if it wasn't for me getting paid I'd never do it. If you talk to somebody that really like sports even if you don't care you can get them to tell you all about them, they might really like trying to educate you about them, lol so I do that a lot. The other girls think I really should learn about them for real but I just can't care and people like to tell me about them from my standpoint of knowing nothing because them from their viewpoint everything they say is solid gold since I have no opinions that go against their favorites etc.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. Gritches

    Gritches Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Karma:
    +335
    The best way to understand how to small-talk is less about knowing and applying a rigid set of rules, which no matter how perfect can never be applied to a fluid situation perfectly. Much better is to understand how it works; with that, you can always know the right thing to say.

    I recommend this book all the time, with good reason: "Games People Play" by Eric Berne. It's a very short read and an inexpensive book, but it explains everything about how social interaction works in a way you'll never hear elsewhere but it makes perfect sense.
    Also useful is "What Do You Say After You Say Hello?" by the same author. A bit longer to read, but worth it.

    To crudely summarize the premise of "Games People Play", interaction is all about giving and receiving "strokes", as in "stroking each others' egos". The number of strokes exchanged must be roughly equal between the two parties. This part comes first with small talk. The reason weather-stuff kills conversation so quickly is that the topic strokes nobody.

    After exchanging a sufficient number of strokes, it moves to the second part: games. Games are literally like word games, in which one party will say something with both a face value and an ulterior motive. You must discern the ulterior motive and react to that; if you respond to the face value, the conversation will quickly end. This is an area we have trouble with, as we can't see through NT lies as intuitively as they do.

    The book does a way better job of explaining it, so don't think that two paragraph explanation is sufficient. But, because we like rigid rules, I have figured out a couple:

    -Feign interest in them. This facilitates the exchange of strokes.

    -Identify with them. Often, NTs are trying to get on the same page somehow. If you like their shoes or whatever and have the same pair, that's pure 24k gold right there; bring it up.

    -Compliments, compliments, compliments. Even if you don't care about their clothes/hair/tattoos/jewelry, paying a compliment on that is a good go-to if the conversation is floundering; it pretty much resets the board and allows the conversation to live on in a different direction.

    -You don't always have to say something smart or witty; there is no "perfect" response to a conversation prompt. Try to think about what they're trying to get you to say and go with that.

    There's probably more than what isn't coming to mind right now, but yeah, that book, it increased my social functioning a great deal. Good luck
     
    • Useful Useful x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Questella

    Questella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Karma:
    +435
    Yay more books! I'm always looking for more goodies to help me make money at work! I'll be putting these on hold at the library. I used to just get sales training books but when I realized I was ASD I realized there was a huge section of information I was missing that sales training doesn't cover because they assume you already know it all. I'm going to be out of work until fall, I'll be back just in time to make money for the kids for Christmas so hopefully I can pull a few grand in about 6 weeks. I need every little bit of help I can get, so much is so easy for all the other girls and I'm always just like wtf am I doing wrong? Learning about my ASD really opened up a lot for me in terms of basic conversations and whatnots. I'm sure I'll never be one of the girls to make a grand a night since I can't form and build those kind of relationships you need to make and maintain regulars but I've since come to terms with that. I'll be happy if I can consistently make over 200$ in a shift, I wish the club would be as happy for me as I am but they only care about who makes the most, ugh on them.

    On the compliments part, does it teach you how to give them? I used to try to give them but they've always only been taken the wrong way and I just end up offending people. I've since given up and haven't tried in several years. Compliments are weird, I also can never take them either for the matter, if somebody says something about me I can never tell if they're being sarcastic and making fun of me or if they're being sincere, so I just say, "thank you," to basically everything that is said to me and try not to think to much into it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Questella

    Questella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Karma:
    +435
    I put those two on hold and another one with his name on it, "Beyond Games and Scripts, with Selections From his Major Writings." Lol Scripts is the entirety of how I talk to people there at all. I have notebooks of straight scripts I've pieced together from various sources. Imagine my surprise when I found out not everybody does that.
     
  6. Desiree W

    Desiree W Active Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Karma:
    +13
    I'm often fine when it comes to chit chat. It's just continuing a conversation when it gets too long-winded is what I have trouble with. Sometimes, I struggle with what to say next.
     
  7. orphan

    orphan Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Karma:
    +84
    Great topic.

    I golf at or under par when alone and focused. When in a group... that falls apart. Folks want to chit chat and socialize.
    Butttttttt I see underlying motivations in it. They want to feel better about themselves.
    In golf, some try to get under my skin just to win. Some have even admitted they think it fun. I started just telling them I have phone calls to make, or I'm just doing my own thing today. It can be a bit hard not to ball them up and toss them in the drink.

    At work I am good at sales. Eye contact, genuine attention, mimicry, get them saying yes. Don't ask questions that will result in negative responses.
    Socially? Uh.... I only hang with folks who are not thin skinned. Everyone else thinks I am rude or off balanced or worse... dangerous.

    A lady pushing a stroller dropped a baby blanket. I picked it up and shuffled to return it to her. The closer I got the faster she went. Finally I stopped and yelled "hey lady pushing the stroller!" Everyone on the street stopped and looked at me.
    "You dropped this". And then she realized what was happening.

    It can be hard to be kind. Others easily misunderstand my efforts. I still try. Enduring small talk is a small kindness I can practice and maybe get better at. I always ask how is your day, then wait for an answer and listen. Kind of like Southern Hospitality. Not just the old "good, how's yours?"
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  8. Gritches

    Gritches Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Karma:
    +335
    Yes, sort of. It more teaches the theory and mechanics behind such things so it can be applied in real time. It's hard to explain, it's a whole different perspective on communication the likes of which I've never seen elsewhere; it'll make more sense when you read it.

    As an aside, there's scuttlebutt that Eric Berne was autistic himself, so his books might be a sort of for-us-by-us type thing. In any respect, what he talks about makes total sense to my Aspie brain, to such a degree that he was clearly either the foremost expert on communication with AS 20 years before AS was recognized (his work was in the 70's), or he was autistic himself and calling it as he sees it. I tend to believe the latter; you won't be disappointed.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Karma:
    +735
    O lordy. I'm just reminded how far down the spectrum I am. OP, I got nuthin for ya.:(

    I find it really difficult to feign interest in people I have zero in common with, especially if they are hostile towards me. I have no interest in watching or discussing the latest episode of the bachelor. If I really like their clothing/ tatt/jewellery I will compliment them on it. But I can't lie. If I hate it I won't mention it. I've also heard some people say they are really offended if someone comments on their tatt, because although they have it inked into their skin and put it on display, it's somehow "private", like WTF???:confused:

    I have no trouble talking about hobbies, travel, and strangely, weather conditions can be a good source of conversation if you are hanging with outdoor sports people.

    This is what bugs me so much about NT social interaction. It's a lie. It's fake. No one says what they mean, then they get upset because you didn't realise they meant something else. So much of NT conversations are based on ulterior motives.

    I am familiar with "games people play". ( I think my undiagnosed aspie dad bought it - he liked the song better than the book )I may get it out and give it another go.
    I remember " what do you say after you say hello " with dread frankly. (probably another one of my dad's) My mother took glee in throwing that title in my face (figuratively) on many occasions. " Hey PAXXY - What do you say after you say HELLO!!!! HAAA HA HA HA!!! They wrote that book about YOU!!! AHAHAHAHAH!!!""

    Yeah not going near that one. (Did I mention she was not the most supportive person on the planet?) OK I just hijacked another thread. As you were.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Questella

    Questella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Karma:
    +435
    wtf, how is this even a thing? I always figured people get tattoos more or less as conversation pieces, they're like the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you, even if you go to jail they can't make you remove it. Unlike piercings, clothing, hair color/cut, or anything else you can possibly have on you.

    They're of course very personal, but private? If you want it to be private private get it in a discreet area? In my experience people love to talk about their tattoo's and ask you if you have any... ugh they're too expensive, I have many in mind I want but I need a few hundred dollars for a couple I want and I'm sure over a grand for the sleeve I want to start. I know people with really nice, fully done sleeves spend up to and over like 10 grand on them. Where are these private tattoos they don't want to talk about? Were you looking down a girls shirt? J/K but seriously that seems weird. o_O'
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Karma:
    +735
    It was a post and series of comments on social media. I was like you - what the F?? how is this a thing? and got howled down for it.o_O I know - social media - but Geeees......
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  12. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Karma:
    +242
    I have a memo section on my phone labelled 'conversations' which is literally sentences I think of to say. I also stay awake at nights 'scripting' their possible responses too... good grief that sounds crazy even writing that down...
    I also just requested these books from the library. I read the reply and thought "YES! GOLD" a cheat sheet on how to interact with people! I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but until I read them, a girl can dream...
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Karma:
    +242
    T
    THANK YOU for posting these books.
    I soooooo need guidance on the chit chat thing. ANY ideas are good ideas at this point. These bloody mind games are KILLING me.
    BIG BIG hug from me to you!
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  14. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Karma:
    +242
    Ugh .. I feel exactly the same.
    I can't understand the mind games either.
    If someone has a pet I'm usually ok as I'm interested in animals, but kids? Nup. Sport? Nup. When I was in an office environment it was mandatory to participate in "Footy Tipping" each week. I failed. As I didn't follow a team or care one way or the other and couldn't stand having to select a team each week, I made a yearly selection in the first round - thus not considering the ladder, player injuries as the year wore on, etc. Apparently that is not how it is 'done' and I failed the social aspect of it all beautifully. The idea was not just to 'tip' but to chat about the games and associated jargon. Bor-ing.

    I agree with other replies here to find something vaguely interesting about the other person if nothing actually interesting crops up.
    Pets, hobbies, books, movies... raise something you have just enjoyed. Ask if they have ever seen/done something similar... that sort of thing.
    Always put the conversation back on them. I have found that most people like to talk about themselves and their opinions and don't really give two hoots what you have to say or think. It's all about them. Play on that.
     
  15. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Karma:
    +242
    I agree that the "fakeness" also adds to the confusion.
    You have to know when to be fake - also called white lies - and how to pull it off without offending anyone. It's in the tone of your voice too, the expression on your face, whether you can genuinely smile or not...
    I find it hard to give a compliment if I do not believe it. If I think your shoes are ugly I will not tell you I like them.
    I prefer to stick to; "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything" .
    Leaves conversations short on occasion though :D
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Danny 74

    Danny 74 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Karma:
    +122
    Small talks awful, im not ignorant and do try hard to be polite to people. Trouble is once i have spoken to a stranger then its another person i know and i honestly dont want to know any more strangers if that makes sense. Thats why i love winter. I can use the cover of darkness and cold to go out and do things as theres not many people about to bump into....
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  17. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Karma:
    +242
    Yeah...when you start speaking to a new person you are then obligated to speak to them every time you see them even if you have nothing in common or like them. Sucks. What's the trick to not letting it get to us? Smile, nod, move on....
     
  18. Danny 74

    Danny 74 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Karma:
    +122
    Half the time im not even listening to what the persons saying and i try to end a conversation quickly... Why is talking such an issue. I have neighbors who are professional with conversation. Oh how i try to avoid them haha
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  19. Eromevol

    Eromevol New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2017
    Karma:
    +11
    I don't like it when people say "Hi how are you?" when they don't care how I am and don't want to know. I've given up in the main on small talk because it's a big factor in making social activity uncomfortable for me. To connect I try to think of something I really do wish to know about a person or talk about whatever has occurred to me at the time. Social interaction in public usually doesn't go very well for me, I notice people looking/sounding uncomfortable and moving away, but now I feel a lot better about it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Sashi

    Sashi Member

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    Karma:
    +66
    Small talk is on my list of UNlikeables. I don't mind a conversation with someone if the topic is something I have knowledge and interest about. If the chatting revolves around something I can't relate to or could care less about, I retreat if I can do so without making a social error worthy of a headline among my peers. If I don't have a socially acceptable exit, I may venture off to daydream land or if I have my fidget cube, I'll work that cube to death until the small talk chat is over.