Monday, April 30, 2012

Stressful Small Talk

Typically, I'm a very private person (so what the heck am I doing here??). I don't talk about my personal stuff with anyone. I was just watching the show "Undercover Boss" and I am amazed at how much people will share about themselves with strangers. OK, they were being filmed so maybe they were going the extra mile for the glittery lights of Hollywood but I hear people all the time on line at the supermarket or in the lobby of The Girl's school, just sharing away...about their husbands/kids/sister-in-law's neighbor's dog's previous owner's fiance...blah, blah, blah..

Me? Here's a typical "small talk" conversation I will have with an acquaintance:
Them: Hi! How are you? How are the kids?
Me:    Oh, we're great. All doing good. You?
Them: Not too bad...I had such a migraine last night and my husband is so tired of me complaining about it, but I keep telling him, if he would just....
You get the picture. 

It is just so awkward to decide how much to talk about without sounding like I’m either a Debbie-downer or just a frigid b**. 
Them: Oh, you have a 15 y.o. too? That must be great, having a built-in babysitter at home!
Me:    Well, not really. My daughter is actually disabled so she really can’t do that. (way to bring the mood down, rockstar)
Them: (with a look of pity on their face) Ohh, I’m sorry to hear that. 

Then the awkward silence begins and I have to try to recover the conversation so they don’t feel bad about what I just shared with Them.

Or it could go this way:
Them: Oh, you have a 14 y.o. too? That must be great, having a built-in babysitter at home!
Me:     I smile and nod my head and look away (frigid b**) to try to think of how to change the topic before They ask too many questions and I have to either actually tell them how it really is or spin an elaborate lie about how she handles her little brother so carefully and Even Knows How To Feed Him By Spoon!...all with a great big kool-aid grin on my face while crumbling inside over the never-to-be fantasy. I have lots of those. Here's one.

I know people will say, "You don't have to say anything. It's none of their business if you don’t want it to be and if they have a problem with it, too bad.” Yeah, that is a fact. But I wish I didn't have to think so hard about how to respond to something so unimportant.

Am I making things more complicated than they need to be?


  1. There is nothing wrong with being real.... Be Genuine!

  2. Love this...and glad to have found another 'real' mommy out there. :D

  3. Most people are quite uninterested in our reality, but it does do the soul good to try and share that reality with them...although quite the exception, some will "get it" without necessarily having to experience it...those are the good people out there. Don't stop telling the story ... some do get it!

  4. If I like them, I tell them. If I don't care about the relationship, I just nod. People just want to talk. They don't really want to hear your story or listen. In fact, they will like you better if you just not and act interested in their lives. No need to stress...

  5. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to "teach", you know? I almost feel responsible for educating people on disability awareness but there are times where I don't feel strong enough to get into that conversation without either breaking down or hitting someone!
    I agree, David, that some people just want to talk and don't really care to hear your story, short or long version.
    Thanks for commenting Phil & David!