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Old 03-04-2013, 01:48 PM
 
281 posts, read 629,878 times
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I just got back a few hours ago from getting my haircut and had some interesting observations about interpersonal conversations.

The first thing that hit me was how crowded it was in the salon, for a Monday. But it was stone quiet. Ten customers and clients but the only sounds you heard were the sounds of clippers, and blow drying. No one was talking to each other. It made me uncomfortable!

So I asked the hair stylist if most customers visited with her and how about customers with the other barbers or stylists. She said MOST of the walk in customers rarely said a word after they told her what type of haircut they needed and many got angry if she tried to exchange conversation. I then asked about her regular customers. She said they talked "a little bit more" but most of them just wanted silence.

To me if someone is standing inches from me it seems strange to not talk to them at least part of the time.

This got me thinking about all the people we come in contact with on a regular basis who we don't talk to: The regular cashier at the grocery store we see week after week; the people who are standing at the bus stop at the same spot at the same time going to work; the person in the next cubical who does not work in the same department so they have no official reason to talk to you but are inches away day after day after day; etc, etc. So?
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:52 PM
 
16,025 posts, read 19,594,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I just got back a few hours ago from getting my haircut and had some interesting observations about interpersonal conversations.

The first thing that hit me was how crowded it was in the salon, for a Monday. But it was stone quiet. Ten customers and clients but the only sounds you heard were the sounds of clippers, and blow drying. No one was talking to each other. It made me uncomfortable!

So I asked the hair stylist if most customers visited with her and how about customers with the other barbers or stylists. She said MOST of the walk in customers rarely said a word after they told her what type of haircut they needed and many got angry if she tried to exchange conversation. I then asked about her regular customers. She said they talked "a little bit more" but most of them just wanted silence.

To me if someone is standing inches from me it seems strange to not talk to them at least part of the time.

This got me thinking about all the people we come in contact with on a regular basis who we don't talk to: The regular cashier at the grocery store we see week after week; the people who are standing at the bus stop at the same spot at the same time going to work; the person in the next cubical who does not work in the same department so they have no official reason to talk to you but are inches away day after day after day; etc, etc. So?
I almost always say something. If the other party is amiable, we chit chat. If not, I know when to shut up too. I personally don't mind the quiet either. I have to talk to a lot of people in the office, it is part of my job, so at times I get pretty peopled out by days end, and that's when I get on this forum
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:03 PM
 
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I like chit chat. It's an appreciation for others. Over the years, I've gotten to know the woman who cuts my hair. The woman is a pistol, and totally lacks a filter between her brain and mouth. She says exactly what she thinks without the least bit of editing. So you'll get gems such as, "You know what I need? A good screwing, that's what!" Then we move on to other aspects of her life.

I'll talk to strangers, too. Last year, I flew out to LA for a meeting. On the flight over, I was seated next to this 80-year-old woman who was nervous about flying. It would have been really easy to bury myself in a book and ignore her. Instead, it might have been one of the most interesting conversations of my life. She had grown up in Mississippi, and her father was a doctor in the forces that occupied Japan. So she spent the postwar years organizing relief for the bombed out Japanese cities. She had worked down the hall from General Macarthur and had lived all over the world. She knew all the cloud formations and what kind of weather they portended. And the list went on and on. That five-hour flight across the continent just ripped past. The next thing we knew, we were on the ground in Los Angeles.

To me, one doesn't always need to discuss Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. If one is more interested in listening than talking, those little, frivolous conversations can often be the most interesting.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,583 posts, read 33,317,596 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I just got back a few hours ago from getting my haircut and had some interesting observations about interpersonal conversations.

The first thing that hit me was how crowded it was in the salon, for a Monday. But it was stone quiet. Ten customers and clients but the only sounds you heard were the sounds of clippers, and blow drying. No one was talking to each other. It made me uncomfortable!

So I asked the hair stylist if most customers visited with her and how about customers with the other barbers or stylists. She said MOST of the walk in customers rarely said a word after they told her what type of haircut they needed and many got angry if she tried to exchange conversation. I then asked about her regular customers. She said they talked "a little bit more" but most of them just wanted silence.

To me if someone is standing inches from me it seems strange to not talk to them at least part of the time.

This got me thinking about all the people we come in contact with on a regular basis who we don't talk to: The regular cashier at the grocery store we see week after week; the people who are standing at the bus stop at the same spot at the same time going to work; the person in the next cubical who does not work in the same department so they have no official reason to talk to you but are inches away day after day after day; etc, etc. So?
I don't do small talk unless I'm out with friends, the convo is of interest to me (usually this happens at my barbershop) or meeting folks for happy hour. I'm pretty anti-social. I don't have a lot of time and I see most small talk as a waste of time.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn,NY
10,596 posts, read 13,096,846 times
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I frequently do. Chit-chat about sports, Current events, weather etc. Nice to socialize a bit and i agree a room full of people in silence is a bit strange to experience. That would remind me of the detainment camps (Public schools) I spent time in. Not good memories. i am used to talking to people especially in the hotel and travel business so it's second nature to me.

My hairstylist is a great guy who is very talkitive, though his very thick accent makes it a bit more challenging it's still good.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:44 PM
 
3,311 posts, read 3,006,619 times
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Yep, I talk to people for the most part. I'm fairly outgoing, so I will talk to co-workers and today, I chatted a bit about the weather with a man getting out of his car while I was getting in mine. But where I live now feels friendlier than where I lived before.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:50 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,313,014 times
Reputation: 10248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I just got back a few hours ago from getting my haircut and had some interesting observations about interpersonal conversations.

The first thing that hit me was how crowded it was in the salon, for a Monday. But it was stone quiet. Ten customers and clients but the only sounds you heard were the sounds of clippers, and blow drying. No one was talking to each other. It made me uncomfortable!

So I asked the hair stylist if most customers visited with her and how about customers with the other barbers or stylists. She said MOST of the walk in customers rarely said a word after they told her what type of haircut they needed and many got angry if she tried to exchange conversation. I then asked about her regular customers. She said they talked "a little bit more" but most of them just wanted silence.

To me if someone is standing inches from me it seems strange to not talk to them at least part of the time.

This got me thinking about all the people we come in contact with on a regular basis who we don't talk to: The regular cashier at the grocery store we see week after week; the people who are standing at the bus stop at the same spot at the same time going to work; the person in the next cubical who does not work in the same department so they have no official reason to talk to you but are inches away day after day after day; etc, etc. So?
I am extremely adept at "chit chat" and because I am often genuinely interested in the what, why and how of how other people live, it is a no-brainer to strike up or maintain a conversation.
I have noticed that less socially proficient people do not understand how to ask people questions about themselves in order to keep conversation moving.

I do not know whether it is shyness and self-absorption, or a sincere lack of interest in other people, or something else, that makes shy people come off like they do not care.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Planet Woof
3,139 posts, read 3,490,711 times
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If it's a room full of twenty somethings they don't know HOW to hold a conversation, much less small talk.

I went 2 quarters to a community college a year ago and was amazed-kids did not chat in the halls, during breaks, AT ALL! They were too busy texting. Halls were like a morgue.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,683 posts, read 4,773,407 times
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I can usually talk to just about anyone from almost any walk of life. I can usually find something about the person or the situation we are in to ask about. Once they reply with more than a grunt, or a word or two, we are on our way. If I get the grunt or the short answer and the turn away, then I give up. On the other hand, some people's idea of small talk can become intrusive. I've had total strangers on a bus come up and start asking about where I work and where I live, and since I was a single woman living alone, I tell them that I'd rather not talk or give the short answer and pull out a book.
All my hairstylists I've ever been to were great small talkers and loved to ask me all kinds of questions.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:18 AM
 
281 posts, read 629,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelinLow View Post
If it's a room full of twenty somethings they don't know HOW to hold a conversation, much less small talk.

I went 2 quarters to a community college a year ago and was amazed-kids did not chat in the halls, during breaks, AT ALL! They were too busy texting. Halls were like a morgue.
You are right, I see so many 20somethings all sitting together at a restaurant but they are all texting or playing with their Smart Phones checking the Internet/email, etc. How sad. If they can't find anything to say to their friends who are sitting right in front of them, then how are they going to make conversation with a hairdresser or grocery check out person?
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