I should state from the start that I probably tolerate small talk better than a lot of introverts. I don’t specifically hate it although I’m not good at it. It is best when the time is specifically limited like chatting a bit with the cashiers while you are in line. It is those times when you are kind of stuck and the awkward silence becomes a thing. And I’ll admit I spend more time listening than actually speaking so if I get a “talker”, they take up all the space which is OK with me – let them do the heavy lifting in the small talk thing.
This past week I got a haircut and had a dentist appointment. Two activities that don’t rate high on my list of enjoyable things to do. In both cases, you are trapped in a chair while someone does things to you. The haircut is a little more awkward because there is no real excuse to be silent. At least in the dentist chair, you’ve usually got some instrument in your mouth which limits your ability to converse.
Plus, at the dentist, you see them twice a year and, after a few years, they pretty much know enough about you so you don’t have to deal with the usual conversation starters (like kids, job and the dreaded plans for the rest of the day). I suppose if you were loyal to a particular stylist, this would be similar but I’m a guy who basically gets up and does a quick brush and calls it a day so I’m not spending enough time on my hair to really care who cuts it.
In this case, the conversation was kept to a minimum and I was out of there without any severe awkwardness. Frees me up for several weeks. Hard to say because I don’t keep any sort of schedule. I just notice when it starts to look a little longer than I’d like and then it takes a couple of weeks after that before I actually make the effort to go get it cut. But then, given the cost, I might as well have enough hair to make them work a little.
The dentist appointment was uneventful and that’s always a good thing because you really don’t want them to find anything. The only awkward question was whether we had anything “exciting” planned. I know she probably meant like a vacation since so many of us like to go to warmer places this time of year. We currently have no plans to do anything just given how bad air travel is right now. And what I would consider “exciting” would likely seem boring to someone else so I hate that question.
But I did get through the two small talk minefields. Now my teeth are fine and my hair is cut I don’t have to worry about them for several weeks (or months in the case of the dentist).