HSP Problem #237: Small Talk

I’m currently thankful to have the WordPress app on my phone, so I can sneak in an entry while waiting for my butter biscuit at Chick-Fil-A. This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for over a week, but just now am getting time.

Recently, I got involved in a discussion in the comment section of a fellow-HSP’s blog. She mentioned that she went to an HSP event, and people started talking and sharing at the outset. Then, they moved on to the “small talk” of their conversations. She talked about the HSP tendency to over share in conversation. Small talk is uncomfortable. Let’s cut to the meat of the conversation.

At that point, the caged tiger that is the HSP’s mind is unleashed. Once that door is opened, the mental tiger goes on a rampage. And it is very, I repeat: VERY, difficult to coax it back into the cage.

Truthfully, the tiger realizes at some point that the public can only handle a certain amount of exposure to this wild animal. It wants to return to the cage, but it’s got too much pent-up energy.

For clarification, this is a kind-hearted tiger, who doesn’t want to actually maim anyone. This is a playful tiger, who wants to be friends, but goes about it in all the wrong ways. This scares the public off.

Translation: non-HSPs can be easily put off by this tendency to over-share. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who has ever talked to me about…anything.

I’ve been told that this makes it seem as if I don’t want to hear about the other person’s life. Unfortunately, this is far from true!!! (Or maybe, that’s fortunate?) Actually, that exactly what I want: for people to also open up and share.

There’s a vicious cycle that occurs here. HSP starts sharing. HSP over-shares. Non-HSP feels put off and decides not that HSP is not interested in non-HSP’s life. Non-HSP declines to share. HSP fills the sharing void with more information. Non-HSP feels more put off…and on and on it goes.

It makes me so sad to say that this tendency of mine, and other HSPs, I’d imagine – which I’m only recently grasping – has led to the weakening and/or demise of many a friendship.

(“Go, go Gadget: Tears!” Yes, I’m still in Chick-Fil-A.)

Now that I see the sharing thing in this light, I realize that, no, I can’t stand small talk. I go completely awkward, until the point where the conversation might turn to some actual heart-informational exchange.

Usually, that heart-informational exchange isn’t going to happen in a passing conversation. So, I try to avoid the whole mess. Many times have I ducked past someone whom I only know very casually while out grocery shopping, or whatever. I guess it’s in order to escape the dread of the pint-sized, kiddie pool-depth
conversation that would inevitably occur.

In cases where avoidance is impossible, I do end up looking and feeling like an idiot.  I guess the problem is that I don’t want to say all of the small talk things, so I just don’t know what to say.  And I feel like I should have something profound to say.  It seems that the other person is expecting that.

I’m starting to realize that, in all likelihood, they aren’t waiting for me to ask them about their deepest-felt emotions.  Nor are they waiting for me to share mine.  But because that’s the kind of talk I want to have, I’m supposing that everyone else is wanting the same.  At a loss for words, my face betrays me.  My facial expression becomes one of bewilderment and discomfort.

I do have in mind a couple of ways to combat this issue.  I will share those with you soon!

Friends, can any of you relate to what I’m talking about here?  I hope this isn’t just me!