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Medium sized talk

Kyoshiro Ogari

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Um, how can you get past small talk at the workplace without making it look like you're too interested?


"Good morning."


"Hey, good morning."


"How's it going?"


"Fine, how you doin?"






"Ok, see ya."


I get stuck at the There is someone I've grown fond of at my office, we work in two different departments, but on the same floor. It's almost two different companies really. I see her about three times a day and never get past the "Fine." Not sure what to say.

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One of the usuals is to ask what people did at the weekend or if they had any plans for the weekend. That can take things a bit further. A good way of getting people to open up is to talk about context topics and gradually people who are like you, or who like you, will start to open up more with you. Like when you're at college, you talk about classes, and as people relax... they start talking more about other things. I also agree with debaser wolf that if you give a reply beyond 'fine', that opens up the conversation a little more, but as she said, nothing heavy!

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Share a bit, and ask people questions - remember what they say as well. So ask someone what they're doing at the weekend; say they're going to a cinema, or a meal, then on Monday follow it up and ask them what it was like, would they recommend it etc. It's about being interested in what they are saying, and kind of showing that you were listening.


I always find that smiling and being nice is the way to go at work - no one would ever say 'oh that biatch, she asked me how that restaurant was, can you believe it?!'

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Cases of extreme weather are always good conversation starters. If there happens to be a storm outside talk about the weather. If you're a forward type of person compliment them on something they are wearing or piece of jewelery. Start talking about work and lead to a conversation about holidays. You guys busy now? Lots of overtime? Taking a holiday soon? Going anywhere special? If they answer don't just say fine but try to continue getting the conversation flowing. As an example, if they say: "oh yes, I think I'm due for a holiday soon, might go to cuba", continue the convo yourself, say something like: "cuba! I'd love to go there, my last holiday I went to xxxxxx" Try to keep the convo going regardless of what you're talking about and once you initiate the convo don't answer with things that are not open to discussion or response. If you keep engaging them and they are interested in you, after exchanging a few sentences together about something other than what you mentioned in your post above, they will try to keep the conversation going themselves. Good luck!

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I disagree with the movie talk. They never went past the hi, how are you stage so slapping movie talk right away is a bit off. Think about it:


"Hey how's going?"

"Good, how are you doing?"



"So see any good movies lately?" (Ok sorry but that sounds a bit off to me)


As an alternative I would say:


"So are you taking any holidays soon? Planning on going away anywhere?"

The above I think is a more comfortable way to start a convo because its still work related but getting on the personal side. It's a safe question without sounding too much like a pick up line.

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Well if you run into her again, try giving her a compliment (ie You look really nice today), it doesn't exactly start a conversation, but a nice compliment from someone always engrains that person into my mind for part of the day. The next time she sees you after that, she'll remember how complimentary you were and will be happy to run into you.


Also, try asking her questions that don't involve Yes or No answers. Even work-talk my work... "So what are you working on today?" If you show an interest in what she does, she'll be more apt to talk.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think this is meant to be. Today there was an impromptu office party for the boss' birthday, perfect opportunity to chit chat. But she took the day off. Yesterday, I was able to be around her area all day as I was in training. Where was she? On the other side of the office in emergency meetings for the whole day. I ran into her briefly yesterday, but we were both scrambling to our areas. I am not sure how to approach this, so I won't approach at all and just do what I normally do, which is talk to her when the opportunity arises, which seems to be never.

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