Years ago, I decided I was going to stop talking about the weather.
Not entirely stop. If there were a blizzard, for example, I might say something like “Stay warm!” to the person with whom I was standing at a bus stop. Or on a sunny day, I might casually say, “Get outside – it’s gorgeous !” to the pale guy at the checkout counter.
But other than that, no. I’d made a rule for myself that talking about the weather was a complete no-no, a banal crutch for people who had nothing intellectual to say.
But then, something happened to change my mind.
Or a series of things, I should say. It may have been the girl who shared my Lyft Line, who gave me a bland stare when I said to her, “Hi!” in my cheeriest “we’re going to be riding in a backseat together, might as well greet each other,” voice. She stared, said nothing, and then returned her attention back to her cell phone, where it was clearly more deserving.
Or maybe it was the couple I stood next to in the “International Cuisine” aisle of the grocery store. Politely, we circled each other while scanning the same few shelves, probably looking for equally exotic items, and yet we were silent. Mausoleum silent.
When it did become so taboo to talk to one another?
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes people just don’t want to talk, and I get that. Often, I’m one of them. But there are so many occasions in which I do want to talk to people, and -here’s the thing – I’m pretty sure they want to talk to me, too.
I’m referring, of course, to networking events, conferences, and coffee shops packed with freelancers and entrepreneurs. To functions held in large hotel banquet rooms where we may or may not have sticky name tags slapped on our shirts. All of us want to connect, but how do we start?
Maybe you have your own MO, but me? I’m cancelling my previous self-imposed rule and planning to start chatting about the cold, the heat, and isn’t it a shame that spring still hasn’t sprung?
Yes it’s banal, yes we are all so much more than barometric pressure and sinus season, but the fact is, a quick one-liner about the weather is a great way to gauge whether or not a person wants to talk.
If, like Cell Phone Girl, they don’t reply, or just give me a quick reply, then fine. But maybe this new-but-not-new lead-in will result in a new connection, a new relationship or better yet, a new friendship.
Today it’s sunny, but still a little chilly. Can’t wait for summer, how about you? ♥
What’s your conversation-starting strategy? Comment below! ↓↓