Silence Fillers

By Thomas Cornish

This past month has been filled with idle silence fillers from me i.e. small talk. Integrating into a new workplace can be like that. I’ve even found myself asking the question “should I start watching Love Island” just to be able to function in these new social encounters. You see, everyone watches Love Island, which makes it a treasure trove for conversation content.

I honestly loathe the feeling of necessity to fill the air with some formation of words that neither me nor the person I’m talking to care about. It is uninteresting and all surface. When I converse, I like to get immediately to the big stuff. If I converse with you, I want to begin to form a picture of your tendencies, habits, and overall character – not how your day has only been “good, thanks;” which is just a meaningless shell of a reply.

Yet I do it. I engage in this social small talk game of seeming polite without having to actually consider a real reply or even care about what the other person has said. Small talk is an easy social signaller: the words mean nothing, it’s just an easy way to seem as though you care and can be part of the group. Small talk also demonstrates your ability to not rock any boats with quirky thought-provoking conversation. Basically, I’m categorising myself as worthy of being labelled “normal” and “quite a nice guy.”

I long for a question I don’t have to answer with the phrase “good, thank you.”

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