the words of tim walker

adventures in small talk: episode 2

FB_Newsfeedif you’ve seen my previous post, you already know that i’m socially awkward when it comes to small talk. i lack an athletic gene, and i’m also missing a small talk gene.

and while Facebook allows us to become more connected in an easy way, unfortunately it has contributed to my inability for small talk in a greater way.

i check FB too much. at least two or three times a day. (that’s probably conservative, but i’m not willing to be completely honest with you on this one.) while i can justify it somewhat for my job, if i’m perfectly honest i don’t really need to know what’s going on with everyone that much. but there’s the little voice within me that says, “you might miss something.”

most of the time what i’m missing is stuff i probably could have missed. but there’s that off chance that there will be one bit of news that i needed to know.

so as someone who checks the newsfeed often, i know a lot of information about the people who are my FB friends. and some of the people who are my FB friends, well, we’re really not that close in real life.

but now that FB is a part of my daily info intake, there are things that i know about them that i never would have known, simply because we don’t interact in real life at that level.

and i’m not talking about deeply personal, or even embarrassing stuff. just info like when someone has a frustrating day, or they are hanging out at the park or making some new recipe for dinner.

people who are more acquaintances than friends don’t talk with me that way, and i don’t talk with them that way either. so when i see these people in passing, it just makes small talk even more awkward.

for example, let’s say i’m standing in the lobby at church—the haven for small talk, and really a dangerous place for someone with my inabilities.

i see alex and jenna walk up. i know alex and jenna’s names, i know how many kids they have, but that’s about it. alex and i may have gone on a retreat together and in a post-retreat, feel-good, kumbaya state i sent out a FB friend request and he accepted.

“how’s it going, alex?” i always start out so strong.

“okay, how you are doing? how’s the family?” alex responds.

“good. how about yours? how was your trip to disney?”

“it was great. we just got back last night.” alex responds and then realizes something, “how did you know we went to disney?”

“oh, you were tagged in some photos on FB.”

“oh, yeah.”

“how was that new marinade you tried on the grill a couple of weeks ago?”

“uh, it was good.” alex is a little freaked out, and i’m picking up on it, suddenly realizing that i’ve gone from casual acquaintance to almost stalker. danger, danger.

i decide to quit asking questions. “remember that time when you went to the lake and jumped off that big ramp and posted the picture of you in the air on a wakeboard?”

alex responds, “yes?”

“that was cool.”

“or that time you went skydiving on your 40th.”

“uh, huh.”

“yeah, that was cool too.”

oh, my gosh, i think, i’ve turned into Chris Farley on SNL.

suddenly the doors open and everyone starts making their way into the sanctuary while the worship band blasts one of those pogo praise songs. (you know the kind that make you want to hop? guess you have to be there.)

“i better go get a seat” and i quickly plow over two elderly women and a middle schooler to make my way into the door.

i sit down, pull out my phone, and unfriend alex so i will never have to relive that moment. after i do that, i casually glance at my newsfeed.

“oh, look. the smiths are going to the lake today.”

stupid small talk gene. stupid FB.


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