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How's the Weather Today? Seen any good movies lately?

Posted by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 1:13 AM
  • 7 Replies

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March 5, 2010

Unhappy? Maybe it’s too much small talk

Posted: 11:27 AM ET

By Elizabeth Landau
CNNHealth.com Writer-Producer

Small talk is part of everyday life, but it’s the substantial, meaningful conversations that may make you happy. That’s one possibility suggested in a new study examining how conversation connects to happiness.

Researchers, led by Matthias Mehl at the University of Arizona, looked at the different types of conversation that happy and unhappy people participate in. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, was somewhat small, involving 79 undergraduates, but meshes well with established ideas that happiness and social life are intertwined.

Experts found that the happiest people in the study engaged in only one-third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants. Happy people tended to have twice as many substantive conversations, and spent 25 percent less time alone, than the unhappiest participants.

These insights fit with what psychologists have seen previously: that loneliness predicts depression, and that feelings of social connectedness are important for happiness, said Susan Turk Charles, psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study.

Substantive conversations create a feeling of belonging that leads to happiness, she said. Conversely, people who suffer from depression tend to withdraw from others.

The method that the researchers used was creative, Charles said. Instead of bringing people into a lab, as traditionally done in these sorts of studies, they had participants wear a recording device for four days, picking up conversations that they had.

The Electronically Activated Recorder sampled 30 seconds of sound every 12.5 minutes, giving researchers a broad range of conversations to examine in terms of “small talk” vs. “deep conversation.”

The bottom line is that maintaining friendships can help with emotional well-being. Friends buffer negative events and provide support, Charles said. Don’t be too busy to have a meaningful conversation, she said.

“It really is important in your life. It should be something that you prioritize just as much as you prioritize, maybe, working on your career or getting that project finished,” she said.
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What do you think of this? Are you a small talker? If so, do you feel better or worse after small talkin'? Or does it seem to have no immediate effect?

 

 

by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 1:13 AM
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Replies (1-7):
Radarma
by Ruby Member on Mar. 6, 2010 at 1:52 PM

whistling

Buehler? Buehler? Anyone, anyone....

Joqui
by Joqui on Mar. 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM

What do you think of this? ehh not sure really, I like small talk.. when I do get small talk.. I do crave to talk "more" after small talk though... I always thought it was just normal, since I am a stay at home mom it's hard for me to have "conversations" with people that don't involve the kids.. and with my husband, it's hard to have conversations about things I read because, well he doesn't read them and he has no idea what I'm talking about...

Are you a small talker? Yes, I small talk with my yoga instructor and people I meet at my son's activities...

If so, do you feel better or worse after small talkin'? I feel better.. coming from NO talk to at least some small talk is a lot better imo... I feel "connected" to another human when we at least take the time to comment on the weather or on movies or whatever the small talk may be

Or does it seem to have no immediate effect? The effect isn't long lasting but it does excite me to "talk" to people (it's not the same as typing what I feel) Twitter is the virtual small talk IMO and I get NOTHING from that.. but actually facing someone, smiling, talking saying SOMETHING makes me feel better... agh! I'm a lonely person LOL

RunninRagged64
by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I hate small talk.  If I want to talk to someone, I want the conversation to at least be somewhat meaningful.  Not earth-shattering, necessarily, but I have found that so many people WANT to talk to about their lives, the country, politics, religion,  (oh no...) 

 

izzybear0217
by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM

I am a very shy person. When I first meet someone I small talk but after a few times i tend to open up. The best convo I have are w/ my dh. I think thats probably one of the biggest reasons I fell in love w/ him. We can stay up all night talking about a lot of things. But other then my husband and my mom really don't talk to anyone.

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Mar. 6, 2010 at 10:31 PM

 

Quoting izzybear0217:

I am a very shy person. When I first meet someone I small talk but after a few times i tend to open up. The best convo I have are w/ my dh. I think thats probably one of the biggest reasons I fell in love w/ him. We can stay up all night talking about a lot of things. But other then my husband and my mom really don't talk to anyone.


Same here. We are lucky, you and I.

 ETA: Same here meaning about our spouses being our favorite conversation partners, lol. NOT about the "shy" part; I wish I could pull off "shy". lol

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Mar. 6, 2010 at 10:36 PM


Quoting RunninRagged64:

I hate small talk.  If I want to talk to someone, I want the conversation to at least be somewhat meaningful.  Not earth-shattering, necessarily, but I have found that so many people WANT to talk to about their lives, the country, politics, religion,  (oh no...) 

 


Yea, this is why this article struck me, I really do not fancy the small talk and I always feel "cheated" afterwards. Like we didn't "get anywhere", lol.

And unfortunately for me, there is a lot of small talk going on between all the kids' friends/parents...my in laws (omg those people can chat lightly for HOURS).

And the opposite is also true, when a discussion is deeper than the weather, it "feels" good afterwards.

And I find that when I engage in small talk gainfully, it can go on and on...lol. "Ending small talk" is another task.

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Mar. 6, 2010 at 10:38 PM


Quoting Joqui:

What do you think of this? ehh not sure really, I like small talk.. when I do get small talk.. I do crave to talk "more" after small talk though... I always thought it was just normal, since I am a stay at home mom it's hard for me to have "conversations" with people that don't involve the kids.. and with my husband, it's hard to have conversations about things I read because, well he doesn't read them and he has no idea what I'm talking about...

Are you a small talker? Yes, I small talk with my yoga instructor and people I meet at my son's activities...

If so, do you feel better or worse after small talkin'? I feel better.. coming from NO talk to at least some small talk is a lot better imo... I feel "connected" to another human when we at least take the time to comment on the weather or on movies or whatever the small talk may be

Or does it seem to have no immediate effect? The effect isn't long lasting but it does excite me to "talk" to people (it's not the same as typing what I feel) Twitter is the virtual small talk IMO and I get NOTHING from that.. but actually facing someone, smiling, talking saying SOMETHING makes me feel better... agh! I'm a lonely person LOL

LOL I SO agree about that Twitter stuff. What a bore. Either that, or I just don't use it correctly. 


 

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