Small Talk

Small talk. I dislike it. It can be argued that it is part of the lubrication that keeps social wheels moving smoothly, but I'm not talking about cordialities ("Hi," "How are the kids doing?" etc.). I'm talking about extended conversations that are either (i) merely killing time, or (ii) taking up valuable time. The former (killing time), I find merely find awkward; I have no serious aversion to it. The latter (taking up valuable time), I find irritating, frustrating, stress-inducing, and a rude imposition.

St. Theresa of Avila criticizes small talk in her autobiography. She criticizes it on spiritual grounds, but I can't remember at this writing what they were. I assume it basically revolves around the fact that every act of speaking is an assertion of self, small talk takes up time that could be spent more profitably, and talking is always a potential occasion of sin (when you think about it, it's hard to speak 100% truthfully during any extended discussion; reality simply contains too many elements to convey accurately once your talk goes beyond a very limited scope).

I think I'll hit this topic in an upcoming podcast. If you haven't made your way over to The Weekly Eudemon, here's the link.

Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske