I’ve always been a deep conversationalist, with little patience for small talk.
Yet, as someone who prefers depth over surface-level chatter, I often find myself on the receiving end of bewildering looks or awkward silences. The scrutiny comes from casual acquaintances who seem to falter when the conversation veers away from the weather or the latest sports scores. It comes from friends and family who wonder why I can’t just engage in “normal” conversation. It comes from a society that seems to value chatter over meaningful dialogue.
And so, a few questions arise:
Why am I the one who has to defend my preference for deeper conversations?
Is it normal that our society favours small talk as an acceptable mode of communication?
Shouldn’t we evaluate our communication styles based on their richness and substance, rather than their ability to skim the surface?
I believe there’s an unwarranted bias against those of us who prefer to delve into profound conversations. This bias often results in people avoiding meaningful discourse out of fear of discomfort or perceived pretentiousness.
By the end of this article, I hope to have persuaded you that there is no shame in preferring meaningful dialogue over small talk. In fact, you might even realize that people like us tend not to say certain things that are staple in superficial conversations.
The crucial point is that our conversational preferences should be respected and valued rather than criticized or stigmatized. After all, isn’t communication about understanding and connecting with each other on a deeper level?
1) “Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?”
As someone who relishes in-depth discussions, I find no pleasure in talking about the weather unless it’s related to a broader topic like climate change or the impact of weather patterns on human behavior.
The weather is what it is and there’s little we can do to change it. It’s a topic that seems to surface only when there’s a lack of more substantive conversation material.
But let’s dig a little deeper.
The reliance on weather as a conversation opener has a lot to do with our discomfort around silence and our fear of diving into deeper topics. It’s seen as a safe bet, an easy way to fill the air without risking disagreement or emotional vulnerability.
But what if we challenged that norm? What if we replaced “Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?” with “What’s something you’ve learned recently?” or “What’s been on your mind these days?”
Imagine how much more connected we could feel if we allowed ourselves and others the space to share something meaningful right off the bat.
I’m not suggesting we banish small talk entirely – it has its place. But as someone who prefers depth over breadth, I’d rather use that initial exchange to set the stage for a more enriching conversation. After all, isn’t the purpose of communication to understand and connect with each other on a deeper level?
2) “I don’t care about politics.”
Now, this statement might seem strange coming from someone who values deep and meaningful conversations. After all, aren’t politics a fertile ground for such discussions? Absolutely. But let me clarify.
As someone who enjoys profound discussions, I’m not interested in the surface-level partisan bickering that often passes for political discourse. The tit-for-tat, party line towing, and mudslinging do nothing but incite division and discourage genuine dialogue.
What I care about are the underlying issues, the sociopolitical dynamics, the historical contexts, and the potential solutions to our collective problems. I care about understanding different perspectives, not just picking a side and sticking to it no matter what.
So when I say, “I don’t care about politics,” what I really mean is that I don’t care for the superficial, divisive nature of political discourse as we often experience it.
But if you want to discuss how educational policies can contribute to social equality or debate the moral implications of economic systems, count me in. These conversations may stem from politics, but they delve deeper into the core issues that drive our society.
By focusing on these deeper issues, we can engage in meaningful dialogues that go beyond party lines and encourage mutual understanding. Isn’t that what true conversation is all about?
3) “Did you catch the latest episode?”
As someone who gravitates towards deeper discussions, I seldom use popular television shows or the latest celebrity gossip as a conversation starter. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good series or keep up with pop culture, but it’s merely a personal preference not to use these topics as a conversation filler.
Why is this? Let me shed some light.
When we discuss the latest episode of a trendy TV show or the recent scandal of a famous celebrity, we’re engaging in a shared cultural experience, which can be pleasant and bonding. However, these conversations often lack the depth and personal connection that I seek in my interactions.
In other words, while we might both be fans of the same show, this shared interest doesn’t necessarily allow us to understand each other on a deeper level.
Instead of asking, “Did you catch the latest episode?” I might ask, “What’s a book or movie that has significantly impacted your life?” This question invites a deeper level of sharing and opens up space for us to learn more about each other’s values, experiences, and perspectives.
So while I may skip the small talk about trending shows or celebrity news, it doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in shared cultural experiences. I just prefer to delve deeper into what these experiences mean to us on an individual level.
4) “That’s not my problem.”
This statement is a bit of an anomaly in the lexicon of someone who prefers deep conversations, and here’s why.
For individuals like me who crave depth and substance in our dialogues, empathy is a key element. We not only want to understand our own experiences and perspectives but also those of others. We want to delve into the complexities of human emotions, motivations, and reactions.
When someone says, “That’s not my problem,” it suggests a lack of empathy, a disconnection from the collective human experience that we all share. It’s an attempt to distance oneself from the pain or struggle of another person.
But for me, the beauty of deep conversations lies in their ability to bring us closer together, to help us understand one another better, to break down barriers and build bridges.
So instead of dismissing someone’s problem as ‘not mine’, I would rather ask, “How can I better understand your situation?” or “What can I do to help or support you?”
Through such questions, I am aiming to engage in a deeper level of communication where empathy and understanding are paramount. It’s not about taking on another person’s problems as my own but acknowledging their experiences and offering support or understanding where I can.
After all, isn’t that what deep conversations are about – building connections and understanding each other on a more profound level?
5) “I don’t have time to read.”
This statement is one you’ll likely never hear coming from my mouth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As a lover of profound conversations and a seeker of knowledge, I always make time to read.
Let me share a personal example.
A few years ago, I found myself swamped with work and other responsibilities. I was juggling multiple projects, meeting numerous deadlines, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. During this time, my reading took a backseat. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months without me turning a single page of a book.
Then, during one of my rare moments of respite, I realized how much I missed reading. I missed the intellectual stimulation it provided, the variety of perspectives it offered, and the depth of understanding it fostered. I missed having thought-provoking ideas to share and discuss with others.
From that moment on, I decided to make reading a priority again. I started with just 15 minutes a day before gradually increasing the time. Not only did this practice reignite my love for books, but it also enriched my conversations.
Nowadays, when someone tells me they don’t have time to read, I share my experience and encourage them to start small. After all, even a few pages a day can open up a world of ideas worth discussing.
So while you’ll never hear me say “I don’t have time to read,” you’ll definitely hear me advocating for the importance of reading in fostering meaningful conversations and connections.
6) “So what do you do for a living?”
While this question is often a staple in small talk, individuals who prefer deep conversations, like myself, might steer clear of it. The reason is simple – our occupations don’t necessarily define us or capture the complexity of our identities.
Here’s an interesting fact:
A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people who base their self-worth on their financial success often feel lonely in everyday life. This suggests that focusing on what someone does for a living may not only limit the scope of our conversations but could also contribute to feelings of isolation.
Instead of asking about one’s occupation, those who enjoy deep conversations may dive into more personal or thought-provoking topics. Questions like, “What’s something you’re passionate about?” or “What values are important to you?” can open up avenues for more meaningful and enriching discussions.
This shift from a career-focused question to a more personal one can lead to a better understanding of one another’s motivations, passions, and life philosophies. It’s about recognizing and celebrating the multifaceted nature of our identities, rather than reducing them to our professional roles.
7) “Let’s not get too serious.”
Now, this might seem surprising. After all, aren’t deep conversations inherently serious? Not necessarily.
Those of us who enjoy profound discussions understand that depth doesn’t always equate to heaviness. We appreciate that some of the most insightful dialogues can emerge from light-hearted, even seemingly trivial topics.
When we say, “Let’s not get too serious,” we’re often discouraging depth and putting a limit on where the conversation can go. But a discussion about a favorite childhood memory can lead to insights about personal values and shaping experiences. A chat about a funny movie can evolve into a conversation about societal norms and humor’s role in our culture.
The beauty of deep conversations lies in their unpredictability, the way they can navigate twists and turns, moving seamlessly between the light and the dark, the profound and the mundane.
So while we might avoid insisting on seriousness, those of us who prefer deep conversations are always ready for depth, regardless of where it might come from. After all, isn’t every conversation an opportunity to learn, understand, and connect on a deeper level?
Bottom line: It’s about connection
The penchant for deep conversations over small talk is more than just a personal preference – it’s rooted in the human need for connection.
Psychologist Susan Pinker, in her book “The Village Effect,” highlights the importance of face-to-face contact in shaping our lives, minds, and even our genetic makeup. She points out that having deep, meaningful conversations with others can significantly increase our happiness and longevity.
For those of us who cherish profound dialogues, it’s not just about the complexity or intellectual stimulation of the topics at hand. It’s about creating bonds, understanding different perspectives, and exploring the depth of our collective human experience.
Whether it’s discussing a philosophical concept or dissecting a piece of literature, the underlying goal is to connect – to understand and be understood on a deeper level.
So the next time you find yourself in a conversation, remember that it’s not just about passing the time or exchanging pleasantries. It’s an opportunity to connect, to learn, and to explore the intricacies of our human experience.
After all, isn’t that what makes conversation such a profoundly human act?