Taking time to have small chats about nothing in particular with people we don’t know and are unlikely ever to meet again can – from some perspectives – seem like the height of absurdity.
But this is to miss the point – and the significant opportunities – presented by these minor social exchanges.
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“Taking time to have small chats about nothing in particular with people we don’t know and are unlikely ever to meet again can — from some perspectives — seem like the height of absurdity.
Maybe we’re in a coffee shop and someone is preparing us a drink. Perhaps we’ve crossed a neighbour in the hallway while getting our post. Or we’re on a train, waiting for the doors to open. Why would we bother to hold up our day for a few moments, given how many things we already need to do and how many good friends we have that we haven’t seen in far too long? We may also have a more high minded defence for our silence: we aspire to be profound people and there is no way that we can get anywhere meaningful with a near or complete stranger in a compressed amount of time. We shun the smaller chats because — in the back of our minds — we tell ourselves that we are already sufficiently deeply committed to the long and consequential ones…”
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