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At first glance, small talk is sort of unquestionably terrible.

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At first glance, small talk is sort of unquestionably terrible.

She asked people to count their social interactions for six days and found that those who had more daily interaction with acquaintances were happier. She followed up with a study at Starbucks, asking people to either talk to their baristas or get their coffee with maximum efficiency.

Those who engaged in chit-chat were again happier. And people who broke the silence at the Tate Modern were in a better mood afterward and enjoyed the exhibit more.

Even college students who talked to more classmates than usual felt happier at the end of the day. Those who talked to strangers were happiest, even if they had been dreading the task.

Small talk anr even give you a cognitive boost. Researchers at the University Of Michigan found that friendly social interaction can boost our ability to solve problems.

And doctors who spend more time talking to their patients are less likely to be dhat. With all those benefits, why do so many of us dread small talk?

We do it in code. Your Brain May Disagree. In her workshops, people are most afraid of awkwardness or embarrassment.

The true secret to small talk, Fleming says, is empathy: Just be more interested in the other person than you are in yourself. Ask a question and throw the ball over to the other person.

This is about being friendly, not entertaining the person. I wish my dog were here.

Generalities can kill a conversation. In the example above, your conversation partner now has options: Should we talk about Tzlk York, your dog, the beach?

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Lisa Tolin.