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Yosuf Ali
2 min read

We have this unfortunate habit called small talk.

When you're with your friends, or at a social gathering, you tend to have a laugh, and talk about a bunch of stuff. Usually though, if you're asked only a few days later what you spoke about, you most likely wouldn't remember. That's because your conversation had no significance. It's content matter had no intrinsic value. The other participant(s) did not leave you with anything thought provoking. You did not touch on anything relatively deep.

I've touched upon this before, but we all have interests and passions. When we have conversations though, these are barely articulated. When we don't know the other other person well enough, we default to the lowest common denominator, the weather. Or what course the other person is studying, or where we live. I mean, do you really care? Really? Do we really even know anyone we think we know?

There are far too many people having far too many shallow conversations, and it's unfortunate because of our intellectual capacity. Ideas won't be exchanged and you will not grow if you don't have real conversations. Phatic communication needs to die.

The topic matter almost doesn't matter. Mathematics, cosmology, theology, art, theoretical physics, world war 2, ancient Egypt, cooking. The point is, that it be something you're passionate about. And hopefully informative.

Or maybe that's the problem. Maybe the average person doesn't know what they're passionate about. Do we read enough? Do we read at all? (Personally, i don't think its possible to ever read enough. So many books, such little time. Meh.) Maybe we should spend sometime alone, figuring out what we genuinely care about.

Also, you don't have to talk if you don't have anything to say. Why do so many people feel the need to fill the room with noise? Like chill bruh, silence is okay you know.

The next time you meet someone new though, try and not ask what their name is first. "Soo, what do you do" is another one you should avoid at the beginning of a conversation. Our professions do not define us. I mean, if your meeting has context, say at a tech conference, then sure, you might be wondering what that person does within that context. But if it's a random encounter, try something authentic, that doesn't make the conversation feel scripted.

"If you approached each conversation with the innate curiosity that you normally demonstrate as an infant, how much could you learn if you embraced the unknown, knowing that each person out there can help you become a better version tomorrow, of who you are today."

- Omid Scheybani

We all have stories to share. Be authentically interested in the people you converse with. Not with regards to their shallow attributes, but with regards to what they have to say.