You just made it onto the elevator because the gentleman inside held the door for you. You find that the button for your floor, the 23rd, is already lit up. You nod “thank you” to the guy and face the door. The elevator, notoriously slow, begins to rise. And then. Oh, no. “What about this rain, huh?” Oh, no, no, no. It is first thing in the morning, you are on a very slow-moving elevator and you are trapped with a small talker. There is no escape.

As humans, we are generally forced into small talk every day. Most instances are quick: May I have $20 on pump 3? – waiting for receipt to print – how’s your day going? You’ve acknowledged the person in front of you, shown yourself to be polite and now you can go on your way. However, there is some small talk that seems to go on for pointless eons. Why do we do it to ourselves?

According to Englishclub.com, the first reason we commit small talk is “to break an uncomfortable silence.” Yup, nothing like breaking an uncomfortable silence with an even more uncomfortable conversation. Englishclub.com also says that we make small talk “simply to fill time.” Not all time needs to be filled, fellas.

For example, I was in a waiting room, reading a book. The woman next to me asked my opinion about the Family Feud episode on the TV. I smiled, said that I hadn’t been watching and went back to my book. I thought I was politely avoiding a long conversation about the antics of Steve Harvey, but I was mistaken. No amount of noncommittal “uh huhs” deterred her. I was overly excited when my gynecologist came to collect me.

If you Googlehow to avoid small talk,” don’t expect tutorials teaching how one may dodge useless conversations with strangers. Instead, the articles advise how to make small talk more substantial and interesting. Fairygodboss.com suggests asking “open-ended questions that prompt stories instead of answers.” In addition, if the person is talking about something that bores you, you’re meant to redirect their attention to something in the room. I’m not kidding. Point at a painting and say “Pretty!” to stimulate deep and meaningful conversation.

Wikihow.com offers advice to avoid talking to people, period, but it reads like a serial killer’s manifesto. For example, one tip is to “avoid interaction altogether.” Wikihow.com recommends that “ignoring others and remaining distant is a sure way to avoid conversation.” Well, they’re not wrong.

There should be a middle ground for small talk: 5 minutes or less of pleasant fluff-filled sentences that are so innocuous that you can’t recall them after. But, at the 5-minute mark, both conversationalists are free to shake hands and walk away. If we did it this way, there would be no more subtle slide towards the door when one participant is desperate to flee.

Bourke Accounting specialists are professional, so they know how to engage in small talk. However, Bourke Accounting specialists are also very interesting, so it won’t feel like small talk. By the time your appointment with a Bourke Accounting accountant or bookkeeper is completed, you’ll find yourself entertained, well taken care of and infinitely more financially informed than you were before. And hey, we have paintings!

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H