Today I Shall Be Fabulous!

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When I was ensconced in the wonderful world of online dating, a friend of mine suggested I google a chap called Matthew Hussey. He’s a dating guru, young and full of vitality and dare I say it, happiness. I found myself slightly addicted to his YouTube videos so when I’d watched them all, I bought his audio book and played it again and again and yes, again.

He speaks sense. He understands the psychology of both men and women, of how we interact and sometimes how we fail to interact and also understand each other. He explains how what we say and what we do can be misinterpreted, and how our very basic caveman instincts are still absolutely paramount in terms of our current behaviour.

But one thing that he talks of, is practising talking and engaging with people. People in the queue at the coffee shop, people in the supermarket, people anywhere. Just a simple smile and a happy brief chat can not only make your day, but also someone else’s.

Now of course living in London, it is deemed as a little odd to smile at a stranger, and frankly unhinged should one make conversation … and yet, why should the most natural thing in the world be given a few raised eyebrows?

The other day on the tube, my fellow passengers and I became united as a small dog raced past us on the platform and on reaching the end, threw itself onto the tracks and bolted off towards the tunnel. What ensued, along with all trains on the Central Line coming to an almighty halt, was that we bonded. We chatted, laughed, made suggestions as to how to entice said dog back and enjoyed even more hilarity as the Platform Manager in her fluorescent jacket took to shouting abuse at our canine friend. What became of the dog, I know not, as it clearly was unimpressed by being roared at, and subsequently turned its back on her, cocked its leg on the tunnel wall and promptly trotted off into the darkness.

My purpose of this post is this; whether we are dating or not, Matthew Hussey has a point. Some of us are good at ‘small talk’, some not so. But as with everything that we want to improve or even excel at, we should take heed of his advice, and practise.

Engaging with people and the world whether that be sharing a smile or a little chat with a person is good for the soul and the spirit. Not just yours, but theirs also. Sometimes, your kind words can lift someone’s day from being somewhat shabby, to positively fabulous. Go on! Be fabulous today!

Katie xx

Are you good at small talk? Or do your inhibitions prevent you?

49 thoughts on “Today I Shall Be Fabulous!”

  1. There are lots of PUAs- pick up artists. There are many elements to the psychology of interacting with a stranger to convincing them to doing what you want. All very similar to sales theory. Hussey is just one. And though he may advise how to work the system and conventional psychology of people as they are, I can’t say I’ve seen anything of his that really sought to dig deep and move society on from its simpler baser instincts to a more evolved way of interacting

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    1. You’re right, I don’t think he’s necessarily moving society onwards and upwards, but I do think that he has helped many to understand why we do certain things and the response that then causes. For me it was so many little things, but it gave me the courage to stand up for what I wanted which somewhere along the line I’d rather lost. You’re right, there are probably others who delve deeper, but for a simple lass like myself it worked an absolute treat. 😀

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  2. I think I’m quite good with the smile thing but what stops me from striking up a conversation (or even small talk) is ….I’m not sure what. Being shy perhaps? Or how I hate drawing attention to myself maybe. Don’t know!

    There was this kiwi guy on the tube once, who, before he took the seat next to me, asked if I’d mind him sitting there. He was on his way out to Heathrow to return to New Zealand after some time in London and just chatted away, told me a bit about his time here and asked about me! It wasn’t a flirty thing or anything like that, just friendly and engaging. I thought it was quite lovely but perhaps I’ve become Londonised as I did find it a little unusual and felt a bit self conscious. I did come away feeling a bit extra happy though because it was just so NICE.

    We do need more of that, and as you say it might really make a difference to someone! And us too.

    xx

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    1. I must say that it’s unusual in London … maybe because he was a Kiwi he had fewer inhibitions! Certainly in Scotland it’s completely different, indeed the further north one goes the chattier people seem to be. In Glasgow a trip to the post office would take half an hour as everyone is very curious particularly as to why a middle class woman would be wandering around the dodgier parts of the city! But I loved that. I’m glad that you enjoyed it though, it really does leave one with a happy feeling. 😀😀😀 xx

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  3. Strangely whilst I’m quite comfortable with speaking to a group of people – whether two or three work colleagues, or a larger room of 40 or 50. I used to teach dance to large groups so just had to learn how to project and appear confident for that.

    But small talk, ugh, I hate it!

    I know how to do it, and I think the basic premise is be curious about other people, and genuinely interested in them. I understand that it is the fundamental oil in the wheels of a communicative, social society. But I would still rather not do it, I just like to keep myself to myself!

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      1. A connected tip I read, I think from when I was training to be a coach, is that most people’s favourite word in the world is their own name. Remembering and using someone’s name in conversation is very good for rapport. But don’t overdo it and using it in every line!

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    1. I read a book on good communication once that said the key to being thought of as an interesting person is to always be interested in the other person and ask questions about them. So on that basis I think you’re doing very well.

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      1. Yes, I think that being genuinely interested in someone is a real help. My problem is that sometimes I meet someone that I ‘click’ with and rather over-excitedly want to know everything … probably my lack of moderation, but I just love meeting interesting people.

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      2. I think my problem is more the other way around, quite often I’m just not interested! Too self absorbed at times, and just trying to keep my own thoughts and feelings in some kind or order!

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      3. Coincidentally I’m just listening to REM World Leader Pretend, which is all about this, how we kind of sabotage ourselves so we feel we’re in control. “This is my mistake, let me make it good…”

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    1. There was once an article in Country Life which I pinched from my in-laws about the naughtiest dog in Britain. Now I can’t remember it’s name but it had managed to get into an Amazon delivery van and had ripped open each and every package! It still makes me laugh!

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  4. It depends, honestly. If I’m in a decent mood, and there’s a conversational seed planted (something we can talk about), then I’m OK at it. Some days, though, my introverted nature teams up with my depression and my anxiety and I can’t bear the thought of opening myself up to be judged by a stranger (which is how random small talk conversations can feel some days).

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  5. I feel the problem with small talk is often you use it on the wrong people. Small talk is, to me anyway, is pointless chatting to fill up the empty air between us and strangers. But when it’s all we use for those we love, it is a waste of opportunity—the chance to really connect and say something that matters.

    It is also entirely possible I shouldn’t be writing comments this early in the morning before I’ve had my tea. I’m very, very grumpy before the sun comes up, and only marginally better after it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grumpy or not, I think these are great points. My feeling for years has been if you have nothing interesting or useful or kind to say, don’t say anything at all. Which includes the “pointless chatting to fill up the empty air between us and strangers” you mention.

      For me it’s in the same kind of realm as when you phone up some customer helpline and there’s someone on the other end of the line who you’ve never spoken to before and never will again, and they start with “Good morning, and how’s your day going?” as if they care. So fake, and annoying.

      Excellent second point too that if we’re only ever using small talk when we communicate with our nearest and dearest it’s a waste of breath, and missed opportunities to deepen the relationship. I love a comfortable silence myself! Then when you do talk, make it something worthwhile, useful, kind, or genuinely curious.

      I’ve been up about six hours, does this outlook make me really grumpy?? ; )

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  6. A lovely post. Chatting with strangers is frowned upon in the UK? Maybe here now too, as people are afraid especially wo men, not without cause, but perhaps too much. Most people aren’t wackos so the odds or meeting one are low. But the decline in social.skills, interaction and connections are most people do to the prevalence of social media cell phones in the lake, is feeling a crisis of loneliness, I believe. That can lead to stupid, horribly mean and illegal things like people shooting up night clubs, or throwing acid on somebody or blowing up I don’t know the answer except talking with a stranger seems like a good way to start tearing down walls and Building Bridges instead. Thank you for your post, Betty.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s not frowned upon, it’s just that in London in particular it’s seen as a little odd. People tend to keep themselves to themselves. Further up north much less so; in fact there is quite a divide. You’re right about the decline in social skills, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there … and it does take practice and plenty of it. Katie x

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  7. An interesting post because I was having this conversation with my sister the other day as she mentioned that she thinks my 17yo son lacks small talk skills. He’s great one on one, is extremely smart and loves deep conversation but put him in a group and he clams up. Yes, practice is good and necessary but to a degree, we are who we are.
    As for me I’m very good at small talk. Smiles are free and a simple hello can brighten a day. Loved your story about the dog, isn’t it amazing how a simple incident can bring people together. Mathew Hussey is a wise (and very cute) guy. Great post Katie xx 🙂

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    1. Yes, he’s certainly easy on the eye! I think it really is hard for the young to engage with a group, it can be quite intimidating especially if it’s with a different age group for example. One of my sons is like that too. The other, completely different. Their personalities are so different and I think practicing helps, but in groups particularly of men it can be hard on them as there’s always an alpha male about wanting to take control of the conversation and plenty of ‘banter’ which can be hard for them. As a child we never had banter and teasing so it’s taken me a long time to learn how to take it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and I’m sure that both our sons will find it easier with time. Katie xx

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      1. I’m sure they will too Katie. Both of my kids are completely different too. My daughter is the extrovert and outdoorsy type whereas my son is s bit of a computer guru although he’s great at public speaking. He’s a complex one that’s for sure. xx

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