Do you know an extrovert who hates smalltalk?

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Can an extrovert hate smalltalk? Of course they can! Like most profiling methods the definition of introverts and extroverts doesn’t guarantee all people fit. Introverts typically dislike smalltalk, most extroverts are much happier with 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

An extrovert who hates smalltalk?

Extroverts gain energy when around other people and tend to process their thoughts externally (that is they talk to think). That’s not the same as saying that they all enjoy small talk. My survey (you have taken part haven’t you- if not please click here) shows that some extroverts who don’t like open networking or small talk.

Further questioning shows it’s because they view smalltalk as pointless, despite being extroverted and enjoying being with other people.

The extrovert hates this smalltalk discussion

What is smalltalk anyway?

Smalltalk can be defined as polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters. As it’s all about unimportant matters, what’s the point to it?

Depending on your view small talk lubricates the discussion so you can get to know them better, or it’s a barrier to getting to know somebody.

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:

  1. If it doesn’t go anywhere, I lose interest
  2. 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? I ask because if you want to get better at benefiting from of it, it helps to know why you don’t like it.

You may like to read “Small talk hell and how to survive it” for tips on surviving and even thriving on it.

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