Loose Ends: Making small talk

Whenever there are community get-togethers, there is a lot of small talk. Groups of people with something in common, even if it is just living in the same community, spend time catching up with each other’s lives. Look closely at the people in sitting and standing together on the courthouse lawn during the Range Call, free summer concert series or the county fair.
While they are enjoying the activities, everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to chit-chat during the event. Although there are always some complaints from one or two folks, who don’t want to hear the buzz of voices as background noise, yet the number of people palavering seems high. A congenial spirit is generated, so that disagreements fade away for a little while.
Why does sharing with others have such a beneficial effect on everyone? There hasn’t been a research study for a long while detailing the health benefits (both physical and mental), yet a few years ago while studying aging, a number of studies determined that friendships not only extended life, the quality of that life became richer. The close relationship between friends, people who have “big” talk regularly has been studied closely, detailing the benefit of a longer life and the disadvantage of linking obesity.
Making small talk is considered good manners. It makes people comfortable and encourages a verbal exchange to continue. Living in times where keeping communications with our friends and family are dependent upon technology, one-on-one conversations happen less often. They are important for building trust, so community residents have to visit regularly to keep the lines of communication open.
Watching townspeople interact every so often at community get-together offers a closer look of the importance of small talk. People cant seem to get enough of it. As in most relationships, one can’t address the big things, without hammering out the small, everyday details of life. Sometimes small talk is downplayed and community meetings about the serious issues count on people speaking their minds openly don’t go very well. Not only are they not well-attended, residents do not feel comfortable speaking out. Real communication has stopped. Making more of small talk, being sincerely interested in the lives of other community members is the first step back to open communication.