I like the sample exchanges, Ron. Very nice. You’d be a good writer of a “beginner’s guide to small talk” manual. (And I’m not being sarcastic.)
I know a lot of people who are pros at small talk, or maybe they just have the gift of gab in general. Good salespeople, for example, and someone else mentioned politicians (same thing?). And most of time I can roll right along without thinking too much about it. I almost always respond with “Good, and you?” and sometimes a conversation follows, sometimes not. For the record, I’m probably not as awkward to other people as I feel on in the inside. At least I hope not.
What spurred this small talk rant (which was more of a tongue-in-cheek rant than an actual rant) was answering this question with “Good!” when so many times I’ve felt like I was barely keeping myself together, and maybe this connection is what prompted quite a few people to “recommend” and respond.
I would never dump all my emotional crap on a stranger or acquaintance, nor would I particularly want anyone else to do that to me. However, if someone — whether I actually knew them well or not — felt compelled to tell me how they really were feeling, I’d like to think I would listen with sympathy and without judgement.
There are many people walking around looking and acting perfectly normal when they are going through an emotionally tramautic event, such as the recent loss of a loved one, divorce, etc. And after replying “Good!” for the millionth time in their life, who could blame them for suddenly replying instead with, “I’m dying inside. How are you?” No one.