Why introverts don’t like small talk
Have you ever gotten into an elevator, saw one of your quieter classmates or neighbours, and tried asking them how they were doing?
They probably answered, "Uh, good," or something that felt equally curt, completely forgetting to ask you about your day. Chances are also there that they didn't answer at all. For the rest of the time inside the elevator, you two just awkwardly stared into the void in silence until the elevator took you to your correct floors.
These sorts of interactions perhaps lead a large chunk of society to use words like antisocial and introverted interchangeably. It's a common misconception that introverts hate conversations, talking, and people in general. Like all humans, introverts crave connection as well. The way they approach conversations, however, is fundamentally different from extroverts.
To understand this difference better, let's use the social battery analogy.
An extrovert wakes up in the morning with 0 percent social battery. They recharge and draw energy by interacting with other people. Talking to their neighbour in the elevator may give them a 10 percent charge, meeting their friends raises their social battery percentage to 50 percent, and so on.
An introvert, on the other hand, wakes up with a 100 percent social battery. Talking to people drains them. To recharge, they need to spend time alone with their thoughts. That's why introverts generally avoid small talk even if they do love engaging in conversations.
So, what goes through an introvert's head when you ask them, "How are you doing?"
Firstly, introverts are more sensitive to how invested the other person is in the conversation. If an introvert feels that the other person is uninterested, or not fully immersed in the topic, they feel that the conversation is a waste of both person's finite social battery charge. They would rather save it for a conversation where both parties are fully invested.
Secondly, the expected answer to, "How are you doing?" is "Good". It doesn't matter whether they are truly fine or not, "good" is the standard answer they'll give most of the time. However, introverts often feel that they are being fake with this surface-level response. Thus, they prefer to be left out of small talk to avoid acting fake in the first place.
Now, do people not have to go through the small talk stage to transition into deeper topics? Most introverts would like it if you just dived right in. This behaviour might seem out of the ordinary in an extrovert-leaning world, but to introverts, the small talk gets in the way of deeper, more open conversations.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with small talk. Neither is there anything wrong with diving straight into a discussion with random strangers. We are all different, and we have our own preferences when it comes to connecting with others and that's okay. And for introverts, the preference, as it stands, is to avoid small talk and dive right into the actual conversation.
Zaheen equates watching productivity videos to actually getting work done. Send help at instagram.com/tasfiazuhair