0222: "Small Talk"

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miles01110
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0222: "Small Talk"

Postby miles01110 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:06 am UTC

http://www.xkcd.com/c222.html

Usually I don't even make it to returning the greeting...I re-bury my nose into my physics [life] problems!

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Postby ly_yng » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:14 am UTC

I got bored with constantly answering "fine" so I've started using "still here." Throws people off a little the first time they hear it.

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Postby Benevolent Lion » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:25 am UTC

I used to say "Just living life."

It would piss off a lot of my friends, because I couldn't be normal like everyone else.
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kakos
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Postby kakos » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:39 am UTC

I was totally expecting a comic about the OO programming language. I was sorely disappointed.

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Postby kaiden11 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:43 am UTC

I got good at the standard-issue small talk (after many such situations as described by the comic). It's when people start off with "So how are your things?" that catch me off guard. The best defense is a good offense.

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Postby ohki » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:45 am UTC

I usually just say "fine, you?" but sometimes I'm feeling honest. Nothing get's a checkout clerk to freeze when they go "how are you today" and you go "I've certainly been better", "*siiiiigh*", or my favorite "I'd rather not talk about it right now."

I've always wondered what would happen if you just jumped into "life is a torrent of sorrows, swirling all our souls through the eternal hell of ignorance," type speech on them.

In before smalltalk-80 jokes :P
Edit: beaten to the punch again
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Postby Lethal Interjection » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:47 am UTC

It definitely throws people off when you answer negatively.
Everyone's stock response is just "fine", so when they get something different it throws them off.
And when its negative people tend to feel the need to probe further, since they asked the question, except generally they don't care or don't want to know.
Which is why I usually answer something more negative than "fine" when I get the chance. I mean, very rarely are things "fine" or better. But maybe I'm just pessimistic (though I tend to call myself a realist, its the optimists who would label me pessimistic).

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Postby DigitalMeatball » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:56 am UTC

I agree with this comic's alt text. I always feel so unoriginal if I just say what's expected. Usually I just say what's on my mind and try to refrain from 1 or 2 word responses if at all necessary.

I don't expect anything less from others, either. If someone says, "I'm doing fine," I'll usually ask, "Oh yeah? How's that working out for you?" or something to keep the conversation going. It's fun being different.

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Postby thefiddler » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:56 am UTC

Lethal Interjection wrote:Which is why I usually answer something more negative than "fine" when I get the chance. I mean, very rarely are things "fine" or better. But maybe I'm just pessimistic (though I tend to call myself a realist, its the optimists who would label me pessimistic).

Christ. I say the same thing. "I'm not pessimistic, I'm realistic; there's a difference, learn it." It makes them upset. :)

But, yeah. I guess I'm a fairly negative person, in response to asking "how are you?" Mostly 'cause I'm truthful. :(

Maybe I should remedy that and always answer "FINE!!!!!!!!!! Wooo! How about YOU????????" and throw them off (if you've ever talked to me, you'd know that is entirely not my style at all).

That thought is delightfully evil. I might have to start doing that. :D

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Postby Rat » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:57 am UTC

whenever i ask someone how theyre doing i want them to tell me their life story...

i like stories...

i wish more people would... "fine" is such a boring answer...

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Postby Gordon » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:00 am UTC

Usually it goes something like this:

Me: "hey whats new"

Them: "some generic answer"

Me: "That's not very exciting, next time just lie to me and tell me a story about that dragon you killed on the weekend or something"

Then I give them bonus points if the next time I ask them whats new if they remember to tell me some fantastical story.
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Postby katytron » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:06 am UTC

And the magic of RSS brings delight in the form of xkcd. As a former checkout chick, I have to say that "Hi! How are you?!" is one of my least favourite greetings. I appreciate witty answers, but much prefer a witty question to begin with.
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Postby SNAFU » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:13 am UTC

The typical exchange when you pass someone you know for me is as follows:

Me: "Hey what's up?"
Them: "What's up?"
(We continue walking our seperate ways) Then I think to myself, "That son of a bitch didn't answer my question!"

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Postby no-genius » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:59 am UTC

SNAFU wrote:The typical exchange when you pass someone you know for me is as follows:

Me: "Hey what's up?"
Them: "What's up?"
(We continue walking our seperate ways) Then I think to myself, "That son of a bitch didn't answer my question!"


Haha. If someone says that to me, I like to go "the unit vector in the positive z-direction". *

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Postby yy2bggggs » Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:07 am UTC

Come on. Nobody does this?

Them: "Hello"
Me: "How's it going?"
Them: "Just fine. Yourself?"
Me: "Oh, alright. And you?"
Them: "Just fine."

Oddly, many don't notice the broken protocol.

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Postby Your.Master » Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:19 am UTC

People call me optimist, but I claim to be a realist.

But I suppose the difference manifests itself in that I usually use a word much stronger than fine to represent my current mood, and I cycle said words regularly. Something my grandfather used to do. Or else I make up a word composed of a polysyllabic genial response combined with what I'm actually doing, eg. Examtastic.

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Postby buge » Mon Feb 12, 2007 7:28 am UTC

kakos wrote:I was totally expecting a comic about the OO programming language. I was sorely disappointed.

Code: Select all

self beDisappointedAbout: (xkcd comics detect: [ :each | each title = 'Small Talk' ])


me too :)

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Postby Arilakon » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:28 am UTC

I usually just stick with "I'm alright." Sometimes it'll be "fine" or "good", but unless I'm actually having fun (if I'm doing grocery shopping or at work, I am not having fun), you'll usually just get "Alright." out of me.

Not much to say really, since last time you saw me was yesterday at work when I was doing the same thing as right now!

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Wasssup

Postby mitkouwcad » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:42 am UTC

I have to say this one was quite a cultural shock to me. Of course, small talk is everywhere, but in the US it has really been developed into an art. And I found myself very frequently being in the "Budweiser" situation of answering with a long-winded philosophical story to a "wassup", even as a form of protest sometimes. Unless drunk, people usually don't shut me up with "I wasn't really asking" because they'd feel uncomfortable. I think there's nothing wrong with being uncomfortable every now and then if it opens some more doors in the end.

Nevertheless, I try to keep the protocol's requirements, especially about the answer being positive. You can always find something positive to talk about, if you look hard enough, without having to resort to bullshit.

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Postby Toeofdoom » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:48 am UTC

I generally say "not bad"
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Postby Benevolent Lion » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:41 am UTC

I enjoy continuing the how are you greeting until the participant
realizes we're going in a circle (I've only practiced it in IM).

Me: How are you this fine day?

Them: oh fine, you?

Me: Just dandy! you?

Them: Not bad, you?

Me: Fantastic, you?

Them: Alright. Wait, aren't we going in a circle?

Me: Yup.
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Postby mikekearn » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:44 am UTC

My favorite way to respond to any sort of "Hi, how are you?" or "What's up?" greeting is to say something extremely negative, but in a perfectly cheery manner. For example, if a coworker walks by and says, "Hey, Mike, what's up?" I will respond, with a friendly smile, "Oh, I hate life and wish I was dead, plus I'm being audited, my dog died, and there is a warrant out for my arrest. How are you?" :)


The look on most people's faces the first time I hit them with something like that is absolutely priceless. It makes life wonderful.
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Postby phlip » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:00 am UTC

The closest I get to any of this fun-sounding stuff is to say "good morning" to people regardless of the actual time... often around 8-9pm or so...

I get varied responses, ranging from a generic "hey" or some other non-time-specific response, to someone correcting me with "good evening", to the occasional (but gratifying) "good morning... wait, what?"

I should try some of these others you guys mention too, they sound fun...

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

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Postby hyperion » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:03 am UTC

yy2bggggs wrote:Come on. Nobody does this?

Them: "Hello"
Me: "How's it going?"
Them: "Just fine. Yourself?"
Me: "Oh, alright. And you?"
Them: "Just fine."

Oddly, many don't notice the broken protocol.
rofl. i'm using that one, if you don't mind.
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Postby ivnja » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:36 am UTC

this comic <---> story. of. my. life.

:|
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Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:15 am UTC

A good response is, “Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena-offal?â€
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Postby bippy » Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:15 am UTC

haha I can definitely relate to this. One thing that I find telling when I meet someone is how genuine his answers to small talk are.

[quote="skeptical scientist"]A good response is, “Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena-offal?â€

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Postby dr7 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:14 pm UTC

This happens to me all the time. I always want to answer how I'm actually doing, not pretend I'm fine because of some script we should follow.

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Postby Rat » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:06 pm UTC

SNAFU wrote:The typical exchange when you pass someone you know for me is as follows:

Me: "Hey what's up?"
Them: "What's up?"
(We continue walking our seperate ways) Then I think to myself, "That son of a bitch didn't answer my question!"


that happens to me all the time in the hallways here in the dorm... maybe the next time someone says it ill stop right there, turn around, and pour myself out to their back as they walk away

that or they'll turn around and pretend to be interested..

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Postby Rat » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:12 pm UTC

speaking of all that, i think it's a good point to bring up...

you know shows like cky and the like... when they go up to random people and act peculiar.. the people always try to adapt to their behavior.. and pretend its normal.. you can tell theyre freaking out on the inside...

i suppose if anyone ever does THAT to me ill assume im being filmed and just act crazier than them... just hope theyre not actually retarded or anything...

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Postby rockintom99 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:36 pm UTC

Smalltalk always throws me for a loop. Hooray for being socially awkward!
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Postby Iluvatar » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:34 pm UTC

I should just write a script to post here and say "That comic is dead on" every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
"Don't you see?!"

"Get out of my bed, Randall, I'm trying to sleep!"

Your results may vary.

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Postby Rat » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:24 pm UTC

Iluvatar wrote:I should just write a script to post here and say "That comic is dead on" every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


bot!

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Postby Tractor » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

phlip wrote:The closest I get to any of this fun-sounding stuff is to say "good morning" to people regardless of the actual time... often around 8-9pm or so...

I get varied responses, ranging from a generic "hey" or some other non-time-specific response, to someone correcting me with "good evening", to the occasional (but gratifying) "good morning... wait, what?"


Yeah, I do the displaced time greeting as well. Good times.

SNAFU wrote:The typical exchange when you pass someone you know for me is as follows:

Me: "Hey what's up?"
Them: "What's up?"
(We continue walking our seperate ways) Then I think to myself, "That son of a bitch didn't answer my question!"


I HATE that.
As far as answers go though, I try to twist the response. 'What's up' can yield a glance upwards, 'a preposition', clouds/the sky/second floor. 'What's new' can yield 'past tense of snow'. Other examples currently escape me.

As for asking how I'm doing, I have lately been using 'I'm not dead yet' for a response. Which yields interesting results.
9 x 6 = 42

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Postby Ronfar » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:10 pm UTC

I generally resort to something like "Same as usual" to the "How are you" question.
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Postby smocc » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:31 pm UTC

Alright, I finally had to register to post this: http://www.bitterfilms.com/anesthetics-billwalk.html

I hate receiving "What's up?" because I can never think of an appropriate answer? What do you say? "Not much" is boring. Usually I just respond with another "What's up" People don't tend to notice.

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Postby Hix » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:37 pm UTC

I'm no fan of small talk in any situation, and absolutely loathe it from those I don't know very well (especially from someone to whom I have not even been introduced). I get the impression that they believe that saying nothing would be impolite, but the fact is that I find their choice of small talk questions to be impolite. So, my answer to "How are you?" tends to be a rebuff along the lines of "That's none of your business", "Judge for yourself", or "I'm sorry; do I know you?"

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Postby Pau! » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

I'm a disgustingly positive person, so I find you can get really nice reactions, and even make someone's day, by being unexpectedly enthusiastic about small talk.

"How are you?"
"Life is a beautiful tapestry of one wonderful event after another, don't you think?" (By this point they're usually grinning.)
And at this point, it's a yes or no question, from which you can branch off into a philosophical discussion of happiness.

Works for me :)

Also, sometimes I just scream. That's fun too.
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Postby riley » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:54 pm UTC

mikekearn wrote:My favorite way to respond to any sort of "Hi, how are you?" or "What's up?" greeting is to say something extremely negative, but in a perfectly cheery manner. For example, if a coworker walks by and says, "Hey, Mike, what's up?" I will respond, with a friendly smile, "Oh, I hate life and wish I was dead, plus I'm being audited, my dog died, and there is a warrant out for my arrest. How are you?" :)


The look on most people's faces the first time I hit them with something like that is absolutely priceless. It makes life wonderful.


Every so often I run into someone that does something like that. I really effing hate it. To find such glee in others' discomfort is completely foreign to me, and it makes it impossible to even start to be friends with the speaker.

I think a cynical view on small talk is common amongst the nerd crowd, which is a real shame. It's the reason my CS class projects sucked and my Anthropology class projects were really fun and ended up in dinner parties. Small talk serves an important purpose in human relations, and I think a lot of people think that it's sort of beneath them or a waste of time or unnecessary in some other way.


Finding a witty response to a common piece of small talk is funny. If it perpetuates the small talk, though, it's still small talk... and that's fine (great!). If it ends the small talk and leaves a pause in which the other person is wishing they had never started talking to you, then my advice is to cut that particular witticism out of your set.

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Postby tylerni7 » Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:09 pm UTC

Every time I ask this kid Brian at my school how it's going or some other generic small talk question, he just says "Well, I haven't killed myself yet." I have to say, it certainly throw everyone off guard...

But yea, I can never understand why people say "'sup" or "what's up" and then reply with the same thing.

The only time small talk is at all interesting is when people say funny/different things and catch people totally off guard.


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