Can an extrovert hate smalltalk? Of course they can! A like, or dislike, of smalltalk is not a defining point for introversion. Introverts typically dislike smalltalk and most extroverts enjoy smalltalk. but I know extroverts who hate smalltalk. Do you?
Does that mean it’s pointless to label people?
Certainly not, and definitely yes! It depends on why you are trying to categorise / label yourself or others. If your intent is to find a shortcut to understanding possible traits somebody possesses, so you can go on to understand them more quickly then it makes a lot of sense.
If your intent in labeling somebody is to quickly assume that this is how they are, and not accept other information about them then there’s no point as no such labels are likely to be useful.
Making it even more personal, if you accept a label (introvert, extrovert, or any other) and then believe that you are limited by that that label it’s not only pointless it’s dangerous.
A label is not your destiny
Do extroverts like small talk?
The general answer is yes, extroverts like small talk. They enjoy conversation which others might regard as pointless, as they find it a useful exercise in getting to know somebody before moving the conversation moves on to more specific subjects. That’s not to say that some extroverts don’t like small talk and others enjoy it for its own sake.
That might also answer “why do extroverts talk so much”, as they are energised with people and process their thoughts externally (talk to think). I wouldn’t go on to say extroverts talk too much, although I do know some people who do!
Why do extroverts like small talk?
Extroverts are energised around other people and tend to process their thoughts externally (that is they talk to think). They also tend to not like gaps in conversations where introverts seem happier with gaps. You could almost say they’re designed to enjoy small talk. Where smalltalk is conversation that bounces quickly around, has no gaps and doesn’t have a need to think deeply as it’s phatic.
An extrovert who hates small talk?
However not all extroverts like small talk. My survey (you have taken part haven’t you- if not please click here) shows 23% of extroverts extroverts don’t like small talk and many don’t like open networking (compared to 75% of introverts who don’t like smalltalk).
Further questioning shows it’s because they view smalltalk as pointless, despite being extroverted and enjoying being with other people.
How is small talk a barrier?
The other day I was part of a “zoom” conversation that started small (weather led to covid and quickly moved back to last night’s TV) and despite the efforts of myself and one other it remained ‘small” We both tried to lead covid into a discussion about business and it bounced back to the weather (apparently it’s been good during lockdown). This happened a couple more times. In other words the small talk was a barrier to getting into a deeper conversation. That may, of course, be because some people in the group were unwilling to open up, didn’t like me, or because they just liked small talk.
Psychologist Laurie Helgoe says introverts hate smalltalk because it creates a barrier between people. By staying at a superficial, polite level it prevents any openness, so people don’t learn about each other.
If you hate smalltalk.
The ability to chat to people you don’t know can be a useful skill and small talk can provide initial openings into conversations. For me there are two issues with small talk:
- If it doesn’t go anywhere, I lose interest
- It normally occurs when I’m in a group of people and I’m losing some of my precious “people energy“.
Why do you hate smalltalk? If you want to get better at benefiting from smalltalk
, it helps to know why you don’t like it.
You may like to read “How to be better at small talk.” for tips on surviving and even thriving on it.
- How can I get beyond small talk
- Why introverts don't like small talk and how to be better at it
- Should you arrive early to networking events?
A discussion with Chelsey Brooke Cole who helps forward-thinking introverts build self-trust & self-confidence.