Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beyond Small Talk

Tuesday is science news in the NYTimes. Much of the psychology news relates "discoveries" that would be common sense if anyone sat down and truly thought about it. The item I'm thinking of says that people are happier if they engage now and then in deeper conversations than the usual small talk that makes up social life for most people. I.e., forget the old prohibition against talking about politics or religion or personal feelings, and sometimes - definitely not ALL the time and not with everyone -- talk about deeper matters.

Now really -- isn't that just good sense? If you only talk about the weather, the dinner you just ate, the rate the kids, or the grass, or the price of milk is growing, you are dealing with the surface of life. Sometimes you need to look at the whys -- why did the country just have such an acrimonious fight about health care and will it continue? Why are we still at war in the Middle East? Why is the American public getting fatter and fatter, having more and more cancer, autism, school shootings? So many questions that could be delved into instead of the "isn't it terrible?" Will talking about such things make you depressed? That's a possibility but more likely you'll feel better for having thought about it and maybe begun to understand, maybe feel an urge to read a book or go to a lecture and learn something more. Occasional serious talks about serious matters with your spouse or close relatives may reveal differences but, if you love and respect one another, it will probably deepen the bonds between you -- so the article suggests, so I believe.

1 comment:

Kass said...

I read that article too. Sometimes, all I want is superficial pleasantries from people. It all depends. Some people's deep thoughts drive me crazy.