One of the things I’ve noticed while being sick most of this year is how little people are interested in me. And yes, that sounds like a strange and self absorbed thing to say. But it’s more about how small talk seems to focus itself.
Is Small Talk All About Being Busy?
My weekends this year have involved resting so that I feel well enough to go to work. To regather strength. To try and stop my health from getting worse.
All other types of possible weekend activities have gone. They are far gone. I haven’t been to markets I like in ages. I missed going to buy my fresh Kingaroy nuts in a giant bag for $6 from a vendor at a little market in a suburban showground.
None of these things have been important to me this year. I’ve missed them, but they were not important enough for me to spend energy on them.
What that means is that when people ask how my weekend was, or what I’ve been up to lately, my answer is literally nothing and/or bed. I say I’ve been resting. Most of the people who ask me this know I’ve been battling illnesses all year. It stops conversations.
I get it, there’s not much to reply to when you haven’t done much. You can’t ask how that market was or say “wasn’t that festival great?” or other things to prolong a conversation.
But why does small talk have to be about all the doing? Why can’t we acknowledge that downtime is a necessary part of a balanced life? Sure, I wish I could do stuff. Yes, my year has been kinda boring.
But here’s the thing: it’s OK to do nothing.
Even if you’re not sick. It’s not “Oh I just sat around at home”. It’s “I enjoyed my house today”. Why do we work for commodities such as houses we like and decorated how we liked if we aren’t “allowed” to enjoy them?
I’ll fully admit here that I’m an introvert. I’m not shy, nor am I afraid of speaking to crowds, or other “classic” introvert things that may spring to mind. I am an introvert insofar as I need time away from people. I am people’d out by the end of a working day or week. I need quiet downtime. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like noise. I don’t even like bright lighting (as you may see on Instagram when my food is kinda dark, it’s cos I use candles or sit in the dark because I like it). I don’t know if “busy” is a dirtier word to introverts than extroverts. (I also don’t really subscribe to defining people, but I do find these definitions somewhat useful when describing how I recharge.)
I guess I wish we could move a little past the checklist style weekend activities and more onto appreciating that we all like to do/not-do varying things. Maybe I wish conversations were more about “Did you enjoy your weekend?” rather than “What did you do?”. I’m not sure I have the answer here, but I feel like a change in the small talk, away from the busy, would be nice.
How do you feel about small talk? Do you get the sense it’s all about being busy?