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Learn How To Make Small Talk Again

It's been awhile—here’s how to get back up to speed.

Two speech bubbles

Illustration, iStock photo

After running away screaming from other people on the sidewalk for more than a year, our witty repartee muscles are weak. These handy tips can help.

Hello, my name is . . .

So, this is weird: You may have to actually introduce yourself to the person you’re speaking to? Because they might be someone other than the monster who has been chewing their food increasingly loudly across the table while you both sit in depressed silence? Be sure you remember your name, and practise saying it out loud to avoid pronunciation mishaps.

Go for the nod and smize

The pandemic has probably killed handshakes and their horrifying cousin, the double-cheek kiss, forever, but you’ll still want to acknowledge the person you’re being introduced to in some physical way that isn’t throwing your arms around them and sobbing with relief. We suggest a chic little nod or a jaunty little finger wave.

Start small

The key thing about small talk is that it is small. Don’t open with “So, how was your never-ending dark night of the soul? I’d give mine a five out of 10!” Instead, find shared, non-controversial points of interest, which basically means you may only talk about TV. If you’re fancy and still have an attention span longer than a tweet, you can also talk about books. But whatever you do, do not discuss sourdough—that’s so “2020 Zoom party” and nobody wants to be that girl ever again.

To see more ways to get the best out of your summer, check out our Summer Fun Guide hub.

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