Small Talk, Small Ideas – How to Keep Good Company

When you want to move on from dull small talk to stimulating deep conversation you might experience a common problem – not everyone will want to dive with you. There will always be those beach bathers and Clownfish have a vibrant personality, but prefer to retreat into the safety of their little patch of conversational coral or sand dune, rather than learn about the world outside.

There is a sadness to be found in learning some of your friends, colleagues or conversational partners lack the desire to swim beyond the shoals of small talk. Yet, it is their life to live and you are likely unable to change them.

In some instances, these people can often be the ones who are holding you back. Sticking around someone who keeps your mind small can even be ruinous to your potential. To examine if your friends, family or colleagues are holding you back ask yourself:

·        Do the people around you degrade or inspire you?

·        Does talking with them offer insight into how the world works?

·        Do they have dreams and goals they share with you and then go on to achieve?

·        Is conversation with them one-sided where you expend all the effort?

·        Or do they just talk about themselves non-stop?

·        Do you enjoy spending time with them?

·        Or are you merely with them due to an old friendship or work routine?

If you find by answering these questions you have minnows who follow the crowd, Clownfish who fool around or the occasional shark who lashes out at your desire to change, then well done, you know your friends better and you’ve got a handful of aquatic metaphors to know them by! This knowledge should show you what to do next.

But on a more serious note, critics of these questions may say that I am being cruel and suggesting you cut off contact with all your friends, that you become a clandestine monk who lives in the mountains free from all socialisation. This could not be farther from the truth. You don’t need to do that.

Instead, it is better to remember that you are the sum total of your ideas and the people you surround yourself with. If you stick to the shallows, you’ll only have a shallow mind to fill. If you wish to dive into the depths of a deep conversation, you need to socialise with the conversational whales, divers and submariners rather than perpetual paddlers on the beach and this can only be done by finding new minds to speak with.

This has been a sample of my new book ‘Small Talk, Small Ideas’, available now!

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