0222: "Small Talk"

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Pau!
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Postby Pau! » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

Benevolent Lion wrote:
Then she asked me why I felt like a king. I responded with Pau!'s post of "Life is a beautiful tapestry of one wonderful event after another, don't you think?" (Pau! that is a really great response, I'll be using that quite often now if you don't mind)


Haha! The campaign of viral optimism has officially begun!
... The Viral Optimists would be a good band name.

Using x/x makes things even more amusing/confusing.
"On a scale of 1 to happy, I'm about a 35."
"*confused look*"

What is happy? Is it 10? Is it 100? Is it 35? The world may never know...


I'm stealing that, by the way. Maybe I'll make graphs!
Ooh, or even better, I can give them a quadratic equation, like..

"How are you?"
"x^2+2X+12, where x is how long I spend with you!"

Give them a bit to figure it out, and watch them break into a grin!
"Materialism and vanity are tools of youth and fear. We'll grow up. " Sarah Lyons

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Postby Verysillyman » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:50 pm UTC

aw that's cute!

I usually just say "better now you're here" if it's pretty, or "I was better" if they're not.

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Actually,

Postby hiffy » Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:28 pm UTC

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


Actually, it is a joke about the OO language, as far as I understand it.

In Smalltalk, methods are messages sent between objects. If a receiving object does not have any method with which to reply to the message, it will then travel upwards its inheritance hierachy until it finds a parent class that has the proper instance method (hence panel 2 and his confused answer in panel 3), and return that class' response.

I could be wrong, but at least I enjoyed this interpretation a good bit.

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Postby Daniel » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:08 pm UTC

Well, I have to admit, this comic IS dead on :p

I once made a resolution to stop saying "fine, you?" whenever faced with that question... It lasted less than a week, sadly. I should probably try harder.

Sometimes, I just say "how are you, okay, you are fine, me too, right, onto the conversation..." It really throws people off...

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Postby Yakk » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:17 pm UTC

I don't think 1 to happy defines a compact interval.

Damn open covers without finite sub covers. Damn them all!

One to Hamburger, on the other hand...

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Postby Aoeniac » Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:55 pm UTC

Verysillyman wrote:aw that's cute!

I usually just say "better now you're here" if it's pretty, or "I was better" if they're not.


That's classy. I'm stealing that.
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Postby Wikey » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:03 pm UTC

Toeofdoom wrote:
Wikey wrote:
Gordon wrote: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.


I am always upset when people have boring stories for why they have a cast/crutches.

In my Spanish III class sophomore year I repeatedly ordered a kid to tell everyone he hurt his arm in a bar fight instead of his lame "I tripped" story.


Dude... he wasnt at a bar... he was concoting illegal pressure cannons in his backyard and one fired at his arm. It also managed to kill the neighbors dog, which was bloody brilliant, as that dog had been keeping him up all night for the past month with its bloody yapping. Oh and the cast is made of marshmallows.


Nah, see, you're thinking of Carlos Rodriguez, I'm talking about Carlos Navarro. I feel kind of bad for the dog though, I was the one making him bark so that Carlos would be too tired to beat me at track practice. It's amazing how fast that kid can run with a marshmallow cast, aerodynamic like whoa...

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Postby Toeofdoom » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:02 am UTC

Ah i see, damn common names.
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Postby EOTistatron » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC

*Generic "this comic was good/funny/relevant to my interests/life" post*

The main supposition here, however, is that one does, in fact, engage in small-talk. I've noticed a bad tendency, of late, to simply mouth the words I intend to say aloud. This usually only happens when the other person is a fair distance away, or clearly passing by, but is nevertheless rather unfortunate. Even worse, I have no idea how they've reacted, due to the short duration of the encounter. In longer or more proximital situations I am usually too concerned with the stresses of such social contact to say anything other than basic responses. If I initiate the interaction (as must, I suppose, occur some times :( ) then I usually don't include a question: often just "hey".

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

XFD! That's _ing brilliant!

Oh, and it's always annoying when you see an acquaintance ahead of you, make eye contact, and yet don't want to scream at them; you have to somehow find other things to look at until you're closer. That and sitting down next to someone who you don't really know well enough to have a conversation with, but still feeling obligated to acknowledge them. That, I imagine, goes back to the ritualistic aspects involved: you need to make sure that they realize that you're not being rude, despite them likely feeling the same way.

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Postby FiddleMath » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:35 am UTC

EOTistatron wrote:*Generic "this comic was good/funny/relevant to my interests/life" post*

That and sitting down next to someone who you don't really know well enough to have a conversation with, but still feeling obligated to acknowledge them. That, I imagine, goes back to the ritualistic aspects involved: you need to make sure that they realize that you're not being rude, despite them likely feeling the same way.


Of course, you could get to know them a little, and then have an actual conversation. Surely it's not more awkward than utterly failing to communicate. Plus, I think people maybe find out about other people that way.

Not that I actually do this, but it seems to make sense, and I think I'll start. Sitting awkwardly near someone, and being uncomfortable because you don't know them, is so easily fixed. I realize that being silently uncomfortable may be part of this culture's protocol, but it's a bad one. People are isolated enough as it is, because occupational specialization draws people into tiny little social niches and doesn't encourage them to mix.

Being too uncomfortable to speak to others is, now that I think about it, mildly insane. It creates extra isolation, and it gives you a chance to fear and fail in every social context. It, perhaps, leaves you dried up inside. It's spiritual desiccant.

So, if members of our culture as a whole doesn't know how to handle speaking to random strangers, then I'm going to start making the tiny changes in my day-to-day life so as to fix it locally. Once I've gotten good at this, a few people might catch on. Social hacking, while improving my own life and the lives of random strangers. Who's with me?
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I mean, uh, *spot on*.

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Postby DuSTman » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:39 am UTC

Well, whenever anyone asks me how I'm doing, I generally just answer "Adequate". In general, I have a tendency to rapidly squish attempts at conversation (at least, with people I don't already know very well) by answering in the simplest possible manner (usually yes or no responses where appropriate. Actually, I frequently just more of less grunt).

In the extemely rare occurrance that I know the person fairly well and am in the mood to talk a bit more, I'll say something along the lines of "Near the top of my interquartile range".

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Postby aldimond » Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:29 am UTC

I went to a Home Depot (gimungous hardware/home-improvement store) today to pick up some stuff to try to get my sink drain unstopped, and the cashier checking me out was extremely enthusiastic in talking to everyone. Her aisle was right next to the door, and she loudly greeted every customer that entered and exited the store, and talked to everyone that checked through. She even noticed that I was carrying a bike helmet and asked about how to best bag things so I could carry them on my bike.

I don't know how she possibly could have kept that kind of energy talking to so many people that she'd probably never see again all day. It was really something. I was impressed.

So... I guess... biggest small-talk evar!??!
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Postby smocc » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm UTC

Tractor wrote:Using x/x makes things even more amusing/confusing.
"On a scale of 1 to happy, I'm about a 35."
"*confused look*"

What is happy? Is it 10? Is it 100? Is it 35? The world may never know...

This can also be applied to just about anything else.
"How was the movie?"
"On a scale of 1 to good, I give it a 13"
You will never beat mine: "On a scale of 1 to 'Shut up' you're a 0!"
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Postby Tractor » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:31 pm UTC

aldimond wrote:I went to a Home Depot (gimungous hardware/home-improvement store) today to pick up some stuff to try to get my sink drain unstopped, and the cashier checking me out was extremely enthusiastic in talking to everyone. Her aisle was right next to the door, and she loudly greeted every customer that entered and exited the store, and talked to everyone that checked through. She even noticed that I was carrying a bike helmet and asked about how to best bag things so I could carry them on my bike.

The question here is was it pulled off well? I've had people (usually waiters/waitresses) try this kind of thing, but it is obvious that they are trying WAY too hard to be enthused/happy/interested in you. It comes off as just annoying.

EOTistatron wrote:Oh, and it's always annoying when you see an acquaintance ahead of you, make eye contact, and yet don't want to scream at them; you have to somehow find other things to look at until you're closer.

And of course, once you get close enough, you will always start talking at the exact same time :?
This is also complicated when interacting with someone with hearing difficulties.

smocc wrote:You will never beat mine: "On a scale of 1 to 'Shut up' you're a 0!"

How about this:
"On a scale of 1 to suck, you are off the charts"
9 x 6 = 42

Note: Randall kicks ass.

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Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:15 pm UTC

Did you Know: Extroverts enjoy talking to people, and don't find it tiring!

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Postby Belial » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:26 pm UTC

Extroverts also tend to find being by themselves to be intolerable, and tend to be completely allergic to introspection.

Being extroverted is not a positive quality any more than being introverted is a negative one.
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Postby Lani » Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:13 pm UTC

I can often find a reason to be in a good mood - pretty day, drinking tasty coffee, something. I used to be pretty negative when I was in high school, but realized than it's really not that much fun being unhappy.

Also, as a social dance teacher, part of my job is help my students relax, gain confidence, and enjoy themselves while they learn a new skill. I'm good enough at small talk and being cheery to cover the fact that I'm very introverted and shy by nature when I'm in teacher mode, to the point where people are surprised to find out that I am rather shy.

I think part of that also came from working at the world's largest yo-yo museum for a couple years, and working with children all day. It's hard to maintain introversion when you're surrounded by a bunch of excited 10 year olds who really want to show you the new trick they've just figured out. :)
- Lani

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Postby Daniel » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:28 pm UTC

Pau! wrote:"How are you?"
"x^2+2X+12, where x is how long I spend with you!"


Surely that equation also means that if you spend a negative amount of time with someone, then your happiness also rises. I propose instead the graph of y=x^2+2x+12, as that provides a far more accurate graph, in my opinion...

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Postby Belial » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:38 pm UTC

I used to be pretty negative when I was in high school, but realized than it's really not that much fun being unhappy.


Agreed. But it's totally something you have to learn for yourself, because people told me that *forever* (or at least since I was 13), and I always dismissed it as overly "inspirational" adult-spewed bullshit because they didn't want to deal with a teenager who was justifiably depressed because the world was a miserable place and his life sucked.

And then one day I looked up and realized they were totally right. I *could* just choose to be positive about things, and it wasn't a lot of fun to be negative.

Just one more piece of evidence that no matter how much you *think* you're grown up, you probably aren't.
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Postby aldimond » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:45 pm UTC

Tractor wrote:The question here is was it pulled off well? I've had people (usually waiters/waitresses) try this kind of thing, but it is obvious that they are trying WAY too hard to be enthused/happy/interested in you. It comes off as just annoying.


It seemed over-the-top at first, but it was pretty clear that she actually cared about everyone and wanted to help people.

I dunno, Silicon Valley is by far the most extremely introverted place I've ever been, and it's bad for me, it reinforces my own tendency towards extreme introversion (which is just one of the reasons I am going to move). A person like her seemed completely out-of-place, in a good way. Got me to look up from my shoes a bit.
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Postby Benevolent Lion » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:26 am UTC

aldimond wrote:A person like her seemed completely out-of-place, in a good way. Got me to look up from my shoes a bit.


There needs to be more people like her in the world. It'll just make the love spread around.

Those people who are just overly positive makes my day, and I think we really do need them her. They make us realize the world is okay, and happy. Even though we know there's too much boulderdash going on.

So I say to you all. Be positive, even if your a realist. It's like a little candle in a pitch black room. If you use it right, and hold onto it, you will find th light switch.
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Postby Piarew » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:27 am UTC

Benevolent Lion wrote:Pau!'s post of "Life is a beautiful tapestry of one wonderful event after another, don't you think?" (Pau! that is a really great response, I'll be using that quite often now if you don't mind)

What makes me sad though is that she said, "I guess."

Woe to our pessimistic youth.


I tried this one out as well, but the response I got was a little different. I still got an "I guess" but it was followed by a really cute giggle and a "you seem really happy today! *smile*". The exchange brightened both of our days :D .

I did a social experiment in my high school on tuesday and noticed a lot of pessimism and a lot of social sheep. Most common answers were "fine" "okay" and "I'm not ready for the physics test today." I was actually most surprised about how few people turned the question back on me. Out of 10 subjects (they didnt know they were being analyzed) only 3 actually asked how I was doing (lucky one of them was cutie :P).
Oh, and agreed about that being an absolutely amazing response.
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Postby muteKi » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:57 am UTC

Aye, these the troubles of small talk be.

When engaging in small talk these days I usually just wave and give a thumbs-up for the "hello how are you" kind of thing.

When asking the same questions and getting "fine" and "nothing much" to the small talk questions, I usually respond with a "How boring! Geez, nobody here has any excitement!" or something to that effect and actually give a serious answer. (I dislike social norms, and prefer my conversation to be informative. Otherwise, I'm just wasting time.)

Normally I ask more specific questions about people that aren't overly probing.

However, I will probably start trying out some of these ideas in the near future.
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Postby Tractor » Thu Feb 15, 2007 2:10 pm UTC

lani wrote:I used to be pretty negative when I was in high school, but realized than it's really not that much fun being unhappy.

Funny the opposite happend to me. Up until sometime late in high school, I was a pretty happy person most of the time. Then life hit. I realized that people are stupid, society sucks, and we're all just going to die anyway. I agree that it is no fun being unhappy, but now that that has set in as my default life view, my default mood has gone down with it. I try my best to keep things happy, but it doesn't keep the stress headaches away...
9 x 6 = 42



Note: Randall kicks ass.

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Postby Lani » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:31 pm UTC

Tractor wrote:
lani wrote:I used to be pretty negative when I was in high school, but realized than it's really not that much fun being unhappy.

Funny the opposite happend to me. Up until sometime late in high school, I was a pretty happy person most of the time. Then life hit. I realized that people are stupid, society sucks, and we're all just going to die anyway. I agree that it is no fun being unhappy, but now that that has set in as my default life view, my default mood has gone down with it. I try my best to keep things happy, but it doesn't keep the stress headaches away...


Well, that's actually what happened to me too. I was a cheerful kid, and then the suckage of high school hit. I totally agree, that world sucks ass to a pretty amazing degree. I had some genuine reasons to be unhappy, and I used to tell people that I was happy until the weight of the world crushed my soul.

It was when I got older than I got past this. I think it's pretty crappy to go through life feeling miserable. But horrible things can happen to people, and they can still find contentment out of life.

[psych nerd]
I remember doing a bit of research when I was in college on the psychological notion of 'hardiness'. Basically, research was done on the attitudes of people who went through horrible life events but didn't let it all bring them down. One of the ideas is accepting the external locus of control - or that there are a lot of things that you have absolutely no control over. A funny (but sad) thing is that many people people credit their successes to an external factor (the professor liked me, these other people helped me, etc) and their failures to be internal (I'm not good enough, smart enough, articulate enough, etc.) People who were found to be 'hardy' had the more realistic view that while good and bad things happen because of external and internal factors, sometimes life just craps on you. Once you accept that, you can move on.
[/psych nerd]

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Postby Pau! » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:22 pm UTC

Daniel wrote:
Pau! wrote:"How are you?"
"x^2+2X+12, where x is how long I spend with you!"


Surely that equation also means that if you spend a negative amount of time with someone, then your happiness also rises. I propose instead the graph of y=x^2+2x+12, as that provides a far more accurate graph, in my opinion...



... I don't understand. Didn't you just write the same thing?
I'm so confused.
But pleasantly so! I believe in was in Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett, where the monks make a good argument that the only logical emotional state to be in is one of pleasant surprise. I agree!

I tried this one out as well, but the response I got was a little different. I still got an "I guess" but it was followed by a really cute giggle and a "you seem really happy today! *smile*". The exchange brightened both of our days.


Success! Realizing you can choose to be happy is such an awesome thing...but yeah, you've gotta figure it out on your own, and not be told. It just doesn't work that way, unfortunately.
"Materialism and vanity are tools of youth and fear. We'll grow up. " Sarah Lyons

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Postby Tractor » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

lani wrote:[psych nerd]
I remember doing a bit of research when I was in college on the psychological notion of 'hardiness'. Basically, research was done on the attitudes of people who went through horrible life events but didn't let it all bring them down. One of the ideas is accepting the external locus of control - or that there are a lot of things that you have absolutely no control over. A funny (but sad) thing is that many people people credit their successes to an external factor (the professor liked me, these other people helped me, etc) and their failures to be internal (I'm not good enough, smart enough, articulate enough, etc.) People who were found to be 'hardy' had the more realistic view that while good and bad things happen because of external and internal factors, sometimes life just craps on you. Once you accept that, you can move on.
[/psych nerd]

Interesting. There are times when I knew more about psych stuff - this is one of those times.
I have accepted that good and bad stuff happens, and that there is relatively little control over it all. My current situation in life isn't all that bad, I've gotten through crap that's been thrown at me, and I can still have a good time. I have established a 'roll with the punches' philosophy. Really I am just unhappy/angry at how the world is. Not that there is anything I can do about that.
9 x 6 = 42



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Postby Daniel » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:00 pm UTC

Pau! wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Pau! wrote:"How are you?"
"x^2+2X+12, where x is how long I spend with you!"


Surely that equation also means that if you spend a negative amount of time with someone, then your happiness also rises. I propose instead the graph of y=x^2+2x+12, as that provides a far more accurate graph, in my opinion...



... I don't understand. Didn't you just write the same thing?
I'm so confused.
But pleasantly so! I believe in was in Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett, where the monks make a good argument that the only logical emotional state to be in is one of pleasant surprise. I agree!


Sorry, my mistake, that was a typo, the actual graph was meant to be y=x^3+2x+12, sorry for the confusion. :p Although I do agree with both you and Pratchett on this one. Of course.

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Postby damaless » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:06 am UTC

So over dinner with my boyfriend's parents we came up with some new awkward responses.

"How are you?"
"It's very kind of you to ask, considering.."

And if they pry about what's the matter, you can say "I shouldn't talk about it.. don't you think?"

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Postby failed assertion » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:31 am UTC

Yakk wrote:"I still rub blue mud in my bellybutton. I am still alive and speaking."


The next time someone asks how I'm doing, I know what to say.

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Postby tendays » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm UTC

Now that someone revived this thread...

HEY HOW'S everybody ?? :-)

I see such how-are-you-fine-and-you small talk as a opportunity we give to other people to say if something is wrong.

Sometimes I'm sick or sad or very happy or whatever, and feel like telling other people about it. Somehow it would feel rude to just go to someone else and say that. "Yeah, whatever, I didn't ask you." So when I'm in an unusual mood (good or bad) I wait for my friends to ask me how I'm doing. And that's where I notice that some of my friends never ask me how I am.Or, when I ask how they're doing, they don't include the "and you" I was expecting in the reply. So then we just move on to talk about the weather.

Of course, most of the time when I say I how are you I don't expect the other person to say anything other than "fine" or "okay" or "good" etc. So as a consequence I'm sure I sound very uninterested when I say that. However I try to make sure I don't ask people that if I'm not prepared to listen to an answer.

I wish more people did that.

Pau! wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Pau! wrote:"How are you?"
"x^2+2X+12, where x is how long I spend with you!"


Surely that equation also means that if you spend a negative amount of time with someone, then your happiness also rises. I propose instead the graph of y=x^2+2x+12, as that provides a far more accurate graph, in my opinion...



... I don't understand. Didn't you just write the same thing?
I'm so confused.


No no no. You used the undefined variable X. 2X being a constant parameter, x^2+2X+12 rises immediately when x gets smaller than zero. Replacing X by x improves the situation.

But I'd recommend something like x^(1/3) instead. Spending a year and a second with someone I love is not very different from spending a year with her. But spending a second with her is very different from spending zero seconds with her. Works in the negatives too.

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Postby andreffranca » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:33 am UTC

tendays wrote:
But I'd recommend something like x^(1/3) instead. Spending a year and a second with someone I love is not very different from spending a year with her. But spending a second with her is very different from spending zero seconds with her. Works in the negatives too.


The variation of "fineness" blows to infinity around zero, that would explain the sensation of butterflies-in-the-belly on the first moments of contact...

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Postby Kaiox » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:12 am UTC

I never understand what to say.

Me: Hey
Other Guy: Hey mnan, how's it going?
Me: Good you?
Other Guy: Yeah, I'm doing alright.
Me: Good to hear.

After that, normally I think "now what?" and there is an awkward silence. I never know what to say after the other guy says he is fine too.

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German Sausage
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Postby German Sausage » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:30 pm UTC

keep things going. either ask what they've been doing lately, or set up a loop.
<bakemaster> Only German Sausage can prevent forest fires
<felstaff> Hype is like a giant disappointment ray aimed squarely at the finished article.
<watson> Treat me like a criminal, Holmes!
TMT4L

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Andrew
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Postby Andrew » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:33 pm UTC

Alright then, genius, explain how you can spend negative amounts of time with someone.

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German Sausage
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Postby German Sausage » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

ok. first you need 6 liters of tar, and four big pillows worth of feathers...
its easier to just not talk to them anymore, and put the wasted time down to a learning experience. if you dont like them, talk to someone else, walk a different way, or, if all else fails, turn 180 degrees and be silent. and maybe expect a punch in the back of the head, depending on the person.
<bakemaster> Only German Sausage can prevent forest fires
<felstaff> Hype is like a giant disappointment ray aimed squarely at the finished article.
<watson> Treat me like a criminal, Holmes!
TMT4L

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Akira
The Enemy's Gate Is Down. Sugoi desu ne!
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Postby Akira » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:35 am UTC

Kaiox wrote:I never understand what to say.

Me: Hey
Other Guy: Hey mnan, how's it going?
Me: Good you?
Other Guy: Yeah, I'm doing alright.
Me: Good to hear.

After that, normally I think "now what?" and there is an awkward silence. I never know what to say after the other guy says he is fine too.


My default response to fill the post-greeting-pause is usually something along the lines of "So."

Of course... Most of the people I talk to are in the circle that would understand that joke (Involving a long awkward silence during filming of a knowledge bowl meet), so we both laugh, and start talking about (what else) the weather.

parkaboy

Postby parkaboy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:44 am UTC

i have problems with this as well, as i'm never sure if the question is banter or genuine concern.

Recently, for the greeting "Whats up?" i've toyed with the idea of saying "THE JIG!" and running away.

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Akira
The Enemy's Gate Is Down. Sugoi desu ne!
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Postby Akira » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:02 am UTC

I rather enjoy the occasioanl classic: "the ceiling, the sky, the gas prices..."

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aldimond
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Postby aldimond » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:15 am UTC

Andrew wrote:Alright then, genius, explain how you can spend negative amounts of time with someone.


You could say that positive time is the time you've spent with someone and negative time you've spent without them. Maybe contrived to fit the equation, but this *is* all silliness anyway.
One of these days my desk is going to collapse in the middle and all its weight will come down on my knee and tear my new fake ACL. It could be tomorrow. This is my concern.


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